Our tour through the new AIG Creation Museum
My family and I went to the new Answers In Genesis (AIG) Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky on the Friday evening before the Memorial Day public opening. I became a charter member at the last minute and so we got a free sneak peek, before the paint was dry. In an ironic twist, several of the incomplete displays had signs saying "This space is still evolving."
The Creation Museum has been a constant source of contention, even before the first stone was laid. The original site chosen for the museum was a smaller piece of land and AIG planned only a modest structure. However, a group of people prevented them from building there. So AIG acquired a larger piece of land which allowed them to create a much more impressive setting.
We arrived at the Creation Museum, just west of the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport on I-275, early Friday evening. These were the final hours of the sneak peek week for charter members. We were in luck - no lines. The following Monday the line to get in was five blocks long with people arriving from 31 states and Canada. There was even a group of anti-creation protesters outside the gates.
We walked into the lobby with a large stone wall on one side and a two-story glass front on the other. At the end was a membership registration desk. The smell of fresh paint assailed our nostrils; something later visitors would not get to experience.
We stepped up to the ticket booth and I presented my letter from AIG as proof of my charter membership. It was a good thing that I had it with me because I was not as yet in the system and the cost of admission would have been over $100 for all of us without it. Regular admission for adults is $20, seniors $15 and children 5-12 years old $10. Tickets to the planetarium are $5 extra. Charter members and their families and guests get in free. The brochure that we were handed showed the layout of the museum on the inside, and on the cover was the message, "Prepare to believe."
As we walked into the main hall, which is on the upper level, we could see Noah's Café to our right and the planetarium and bookstore to our left. Straight ahead was a large display with animatronic children and dinosaurs together on the banks of a small pond. This is one of the most controversial displays in the entire museum since those who accept evolution over millions of years do not believe that dinosaurs and humans ever lived together. There is also a wall display in this area with an illustration of the seven C's: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross and Consummation.
Our first stop was in the Special Effects Theater for a viewing of "Men in White," a slightly corny video presentation of what the secular world teaches about life and a creationist response. The theme park atmosphere of the museum shows up best here, where the seats add a little something to the presentation. I won't spoil it for anyone but we noticed some drops of water on our seats as we were coming in.
We then moved on to the first exhibit area, a dinosaur dig site, which was through a canyon and past a ranger station. Children may enter through a low cave. On the wall there was a replica of the bones of "Lucy" our supposed evolutionary ancestor. The message here seems to be that we all observe the same evidence, but creationists and evolutionists interpret it in different ways. Just beyond this section there stood an impressive model of a velociraptor dinosaur with an explanation of fossil formation.
The next area showed the different starting points used for interpretation of evidence. Creationists start with God's Word. Evolutionists start with human reason. Various wall charts contrast how each views the natural world.
The following exhibits were related to Biblical authority and relevance. They illustrated how the Bible is historically accurate and relevant to moral issues. Included were a depiction of Scopes "Monkey" Trial and something that Catholics may find offensive - a portrayal of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral. This should not be terribly surprising since Luther is a hero of the Protestant president of AIG, Ken Ham. Moving on through Graffiti Alley and Culture in Crisis, it is shown how the rejection of God's Word has negatively affected society.
Passing through the "star lit" Time Tunnel led us to the Six Days of Creation Theater. A short presentation demonstrated how God may have created the heavens and the Earth in six days. For me this was the most interesting video presentation in the museum. It presented a credible scenario of the first chapter of Genesis.
Up next was the Wonders of Creation video display room. On various monitors 15 videos play in sequence while static displays show the beauty of the natural world. It is an impressive production.
Wandering down a gently sloping curving ramp to the lower level, we saw various scenes from the book of Genesis portrayed with high-quality models of people, animals and plants. These included the following: Creation of Adam, Adam Naming the Animals, Tree of Life, Adam and Eve, Cave of Sorrows, Corruption Valley, First Murder, Methuselah's Tent, Noah's Ark and Rainbow Covenant. The Noah's Ark display incorporates a full-scale section of the ark and various depictions of the construction and use of the ark. An area called the Cave Experiment was not complete at the time.
After this came the Flood Geology room which shows how the Flood explains many geologic features that we see on Earth today. After having covered Creation, Corruption and Catastrophe, we moved on to Confusion. These exhibits concern the Tower of Babel and how it explains the various languages and nations of the world.
Finally we got to the 3 C's Room: Christ, Cross and Consummation. In the adjoining Last Adam Theater there was a witness video on how accepting Jesus Christ can change your life. Although we did not enter, nearby was a meditation chapel.
Exiting the display areas brought us to the Palm Plaza and Café where you can quench your thirst with a cold, frosty one; root beer, that is. There were also wall displays exhibiting assorted minerals and fossils. The Dinosaur Den with various full-scale models was not complete at the time. We did not view it but the Dragon Theater shows a video presenting biblical evidence for dinosaurs.
Just outside of the Palm Plaza were the Morris / Whitcomb Room, which seems to be an area for future conferences, and a play area for kids. In the Answers Hall just before going back upstairs, you may purchase photos of your trip taken in front of the green screen in the lobby. We exited through the Dragon Hall Bookstore where we were tempted to buy various creationist books, videos, T-shirts, mugs, etc.
Back in the Main Hall we entered the Stargazers Planetarium with our time-stamped tickets. The show was extraordinary, especially the demonstration of sizes of stars and distances between them.
After three hours of going through the museum we were now ready to visit Noah's Café. The night of our visit we just got ice cream but full meals are available. There was a covered patio and deck just outside with a nice view of the pond, waterfall, bridges, gazebo, gardens and picnic shelters beyond - almost 50 acres in all.
On a subsequent visit we saw a full parking lot with out-of-state busses, and hundreds if not thousands of people (not millions) roaming around the museum and grounds. The early numbers suggest that more than 500,000 visitors may pass through in the first year of operation.
Overall, I was very impressed by the professionalism of the AIG Creation Museum. It was also a relief for me to be able to visit a museum without having to be assaulted by evolutionist views. Not everyone believes in millions and billions of years. Notwithstanding the Martin Luther display, I would say that the Creation Museum deserves the support of all Christians. I am glad to be able to say that I am a charter member.
June 12, 2007
by Eric Bermingham