The new AIG Creation Museum - a preview
On Tuesday, May 22nd, I was able to visit the soon-to-be-opening Creation Museum -- located just over the river in Kentucky but still very much in the greater Cincinnati area --which is the product of years of planning and effort by Answers in Genesis .
Having visited and toured the museum 4 or 5 times during its development, to be honest I thought that I knew pretty much what to expect... but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, maybe "shocked" is a better word.
My wife and two-year-old and I showed up at around 6:00 p.m. (they were open for a pastors-only preview from 3 to 9) and we stayed until they closed... and we still didn't see everything or linger like we would have liked to. If you get to go, plan to stay and enjoy the entire museum and manicured grounds for at least 4 or 5 hours; you could easily spend the better part of a day there and still not have exhausted all of its pleasures. But here is what we did get to enjoy:
First, when we walked into the grand entrance to the museum we were struck by the grandeur, quality, and artfulness of the visual feast that met our eyes. From the life-sized sauropod animatron, to the ornate bookstore, to the inviting cafeteria -- everything looks positively and fascinatingly explorable.
We chose to go first through the entire museum-walk in order to experience the main attraction, the museum itself. The museum is well designed as a mostly self-guided tour (a "walk through history") so that you could speed through in a couple of hours like we did or linger over each artifact and peruse each exhibit at your own leisure. Along the route of the tour are--besides the traditional plaques with information--murals with realistic scenery, computer-generated visual effects, over 50 exotic animals, life-sized people and dinosaur animatronics, planetarium presentations, and a special-effects theater complete with misty sea breezes and rumbling seats. We found the museum to be so engaging and interesting that even our two-year-old found plenty of things to attract his attention throughout.
After the walk through the museum, we had to choose (because of the late hour) between the special effects theater and the planetarium presentation (which I believe is normally in addition to the cost of admission). Although the planetarium received rave reviews from all of the staff and patrons with which we spoke, we decided on the special effects theater instead. The presentation was about 22 minutes long and adopts a more light-hearted, humorous approach than the information-imparting museum proper. Although I think it is designed to be the first thing you attend (before going through the museum) we still enjoyed the show and my son's attention was riveted by all the sights, sounds, and interactive special-effects.
As we left the theater, we ran into some friends (something one is likely to do on pastor's day at the Creation museum!) and decided to exit and explore the outside together. Since the museum itself was by then closing, we took advantage of the remaining daylight to walk a few of the beautiful nature trails that expand out from the front of the museum. The gurgling waterfalls, the arching Japanese bridge, the numerous picnicking and thinking spots were all delightful.
We said goodbye to our friends, loaded up into the car, and headed for home -- happily only about 25 minutes away! As we drove, my wife and I both reviewed our favorite points and parts of the experience and both concluded that we had been mentally, emotionally, and sensorally engaged by this museum in a compelling and yet alluring way. As their tag-line expresses, it is an experience that we expect will help people "prepare to believe."
The museum opens for public consumption on Memorial Day, May 28th. It is self-described as being a "state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot museum" that "brings the pages of the Bible to life." We found this to be an apt description. Hope you and your family can make it soon!