Biblewalk and Living Bible Museum
"Ohio's only life-size wax museum" is the impressive centerpiece of this earnest attraction. It has over 300 wax figures in 70 religious scenes, and it was all built by the congregates of the adjacent nondenominational Diamond Hill Cathedral. People from the Ministry created the backgrounds, made the props and sewed the costumes, and a hairdresser from Columbus shaped the figures' hairstyles.
It's like walking through a wax Bible.
There are actually four wax museums here. The Old and New Testament each take an hour to tour, while the Museum of Christian Martyrs and Heart of the Reformation each take a half-hour. These times are fixed because each scene has its own narration, mood music, and occasional character dialog, and the next scene doesn't turn on until the current one turns off. This controls the flow of traffic and ensures that everyone gets the full message, whether they want to race ahead to only the "good" parts or not.
We recommend the Old and New Testament tours. Some of the display have quick animations at dramatic moments: the stone rolls away from Jesus' tomb, Lot's wife spins around to reveal that she's a pillar of salt, etc. Job is covered in boils resembling parasitic popcorn.
The LBM concentrates on the cinematic, highly visual parts of the Bible, not exactly in chronological order, but "spiritually sequenced." You've seen some of it via DeMille and Victor Mature, but not exactly this way, and perhaps not with such sincerity.
The voices are provided by members of the congregation, and the narration -- we were told -- is by an ex-pro-baseball-player/jazz drummer who used to be an atheist but converted to Christianity when God healed his bum knee.
The 300+ dummies were purchased cheap from a defunct wax museum, and it's fun to pick out the repurposed celebrities in the crowd scenes.
We recognized Clark Gable and Margot Kidder (which probably dates the dummies from the early 1980s) and Elizabeth Taylor was prominent in the tableau of Solomon's temple. A wet-looking Jonah strutting onto the beach might have been Burt Lancaster in another life (and the whale has a soft, plush toy look...).
In contrast, the Museum of Christian Martyrs sounded promising, but its displays only depicted each martyr's moment of decision, not martyrdom, and so lacked the money-shot appeal of the Old Testament.
Our tour guide informed us that a group from Niniva, one of the islands in the Tonga archipelago, once came through the Biblewalk. They were so excited to see that scene with Jonah (described in the Bible as running away from Niniva when he was swallowed by the whale) that the King of Niniva proclaimed that very day to be a day of fasting. And that day is now celebrated in Niniva every year!
We've been through a lot of wax museums, but never one with a story like that.