Dinosaur in the Creation Museum lobby.

Biggest Creation Museum Opens

The new Answers In Genesis Creation Museum is the biggest of its breed, and the most lavish in the world. Its cost -- $27 million -- dwarfs all earlier, comparatively modest attempts to refute evolution via a tourist attraction.

The Museum stands just off of Interstate 275 near Petersburg, Kentucky, and opened on Memorial Day weekend, 2007. Four months earlier the Museum announced that it was adding 10,000 square feet to its already-50,000-square-foot exhibit space -- because so many people were expected to visit. Two months after that the Museum's director, Ken Ham, asked Kentucky's governor to grant special police powers to the Museum's security force -- again, in response to the anticipated horde of eager visitors. Mark Looy, co-founder of the Museum, told us that the Museum expects to draw a quarter-million people in 2007, and that for the first few weeks the staff would park off-site and be shuttled in, to free up all of the spaces for visitors.

Creation Museum logo.

There is much here to amaze the masses: a replica of the Grand Canyon's wall, animatronic human dummies, grunting life-size dinosaurs, a planetarium, a 40-foot-high section of Noah's Ark (which a sign explains is only 1/100th actual size), dioramas of catastrophes and sin, and a 200-seat special effects theater that sprays water in your face when The Flood arrives. The Creation is merely the starting point at the Creation Museum. It presents "a sweeping view of Earth history," as Looy put it, beginning at the dawn of time, leading through the "cursed, fallen world" of today, and ending in the Rapture, which arrives on a video.

Because of the press that this place has received -- interviews on Good Morning America, features in The New York Times -- and the predictions of biblical-proportion-attendance, we called a couple of nearby attractions that we thought might be in the path of the mob descending on northern Kentucky.

Creation Museum building.

Bertie Lucas, the manager of Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, didn't have much to report. "I had a gentleman here yesterday that wanted to talk to us about the Creation Museum," she told us, "and one family from Georgia that said they were going there and planned on camping here because it is one of the top 100 campgrounds for families and children." But beyond that, she hadn't met anyone or heard anything. (The gift shop manager assured us that all Big Bone Lick souvenirs are "G-rated.")

Robby, the front desk manager at Wildwood Inn Tropical Dome and Theme Suites in nearby Florence, was even further out of the Creation Museum loop. "I honestly didn't even know about the place until a lady called me about two weeks ago and yelled at me because I didn't know anything about it," he told us. "She was nasty! I said, 'You need to calm down 'cause I don't know what you're talking about!'"

Robby told us that a handful of people who worked at the Museum checked in last week. We asked if they might have been examining the Wildwood Inn decor, such as the Aztec Jungle or Pirate Ship suites, for possible future Creation Museum exhibits. "No, I think they stayed in regular rooms," Robby said.

Mark Looy told us that the Creation Museum needs at least 200,000 visitors a year to pay for operating costs, a number that he fully expects to reach. We asked if he thought that the $27 million spent thus far might have been better spent elsewhere, such as in helping the sick or the poor. "We think that if people come here and get a biblical view of the world, they'll do more to improve society, including work to possibly outlaw abortion," he said, although outlawing abortion "is not one of our mandates."

Looy also added that an amusement park consultant from Indiana told him that "if a secular company did this, this project would have cost $80-100 million."

[05/27/2007]
Address:
2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd, Petersburg, KY
Directions:
On the northernmost bump of Kentucky, due west of Cincinnati, Ohio. I-275 west exit 11. Hwy 8 south, then a quick left onto Bullittsburg Church Rd. On the left.
Hours:
M-Sa 10 am - 6 pm, Su noon - 6 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
888-582-4253
Admission:
Adults $30.00
RA Rates:
Major Fun
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