I went to Kentucky for my birthday because there was shit that needed to be seen. The Answers in Genesis Creation Museum was one of these things.
I'm trying to walk a fairly inoffensive line here, but let me reiterate that the Answers in Genesis people are NOT your standard Christians. Many visitors seem to be a little confused about that one, and they think they're coming to see the sort of family-friendly Biblical wonderland that Ned Flanders might come up with if he had a billion dollars and some real estate in Kentucky. Then they see the dinosaur stuff and heads get scratched.
This is the sign on the front door. The complex is big and the Answers in Genesis people aren't messing around- there are armed guards. We were watched coming in and there is always the threat of purses and packs being confiscated and searched. All of the faces are deadly-serious in a creepily welcoming evangelical manner.
One of the things you see again and again at the Creation Museum is the phrase, "What are all dinosaur fossils missing? Tags, telling how old they are!"
Slick and expensive-looking animatronic scientists explain that dinosaur fossils could not possibly
be millions of years old, because the Bible (their interpretation) tells us that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. Therefore, it's perfectly reasonable to expect that there were dinosaurs aplenty in Biblical times. They don't get around to explaining why these dinosaurs are not around today. There was a vague chart about the diversity of dogs but they stopped short of making an actual declaration.
So, yeah, there were lots of dinosaurs in the Bible. They just got dropped from the text due to some unexplained bias of the authors. They took the idea of dinos cavorting with Biblical folk and turned it into the Major Theme of the museum, that and how ludicrous it was to imagine that canyons were carved in rock by the flow of river over thousands of years. Just look at Mount St. Helens! Never mind "what ABOUT Mount St. Helens"...just look at it!
There's a lot of space devoted to very elaborate depictions of the Garden of Eden. Some may not be quite what you'd expect.
Adam and Eve get a lot of face time. Adam always has something covering his bits and Eve always has her hair strategically draped. They meet in a lush forest, they bathe in a lily-filled waterfall lagoon that looks like something straight out of a Sybaris.
Eve's transgression, they maintained, caused all woes in the world. All dinosaurs had been herbivores up to this point, but when God got pissed off they just started tearing into everyone and everything. Eve is also somehow responsible for the existence of weeds.
After that, a lot got glossed over until they got to Noah, and that's when the dinosaur thing had a chance to really shine. Because, according to the Answers in Genesis people, there were absolutely dinosaurs on the Ark. Probably two to seven of each type, even. Not to worry, they were easy to transport because all dinosaurs at that time were about the size of ponies, for serious.
Feast your eyes on the dinosaurs being led up the gangplank as two triceratops wait their turn.
The museum is currently accepting donations for their life-sized ark project, but until then there is a slightly smaller scale version you can walk through. Animatronic workmen hammer and saw and express skepticism. You can also see a smaller scale version that shows berths set aside for dinosaurs. I just don't know of any stronger proof than that.
I was doing really well in the general respect department up to this point, but I about lost it when I was standing behind these Brethren ladies listening to Robot Noah.
He was "answering questions" about the Ark, when a voice called from offstage, "Hey, Dad, did you make room for the t-rexes?" Noah chuckled...what a scamp, right?...and said, "I'll be with you in just a minute, Japeth! I just want to answer a few more of these nice people's questions!" I had to leave.
Viewpoint on Darwin: not so keen on Darwin.
Viewpoint on Atheists: not so keen on atheists.
(I'm not entirely sure about the God is Dead tombstone. It's like a double negative.)
Yeah, that's for sure.
The place is slick, immaculate and just dripping money. Every time you stop in front of a display, a voice booms, "The Lord God...(blahblah explanation of what you're seeing)." It always starts "The Lord God...", and as other people stop in front of other displays you hear a whole chorus of it, like Charlton Heston doing his Bible on Tape reading in some sort of audio hall of mirrors. But there's also an outdoor component- a vast sprawl of dinosaur topiaries, weird bridges, gardens and petting zoo exhibits to be explored. So you pass the triceratops photo op (the sign reads, "This is what an actual triceratops saddle may have looked like!"), not stopping because there are five million churchgroup kids there, and out the door.
I'm not 100% on where zen gardens fit in with the whole Creationist belief system, but there is one.
I'm not sure where the various hybrids in the petting zoo, like this "zonkey" (zebra-donkey), fit in either.
All I know was that there were monitors all over the place and the head honcho Answers in Genesis guy, Ken Ham, was delivering regular sermons to museum visitors. He kind of looked like Richard Branson, if Richard Branson were a slightly darker and more twisted Die Hard villain sort of guy. The paperback of his autobiography was on sale in one of the giftshops for $99, and people were buying 3 or 4 at a time.
You can see him, and the Duggars, in the museum here:
So...yeah, there was that. Then we stopped in nearby Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, famous for electing animals as mayors (the current mayor of Rabbit Hash is a border collie named Lulu). Lulu wasn't in evidence, but here's a shot of the general store, which is more famous than I thought. It was more souvenir and boutique-y stuff, which was a disappointment. It was also more biker-ish than Green Acres, which was another disappointment.
So that was my birthday.