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Old-time religion in new museum

July 31, 2007|By HANNAH TUSSING

HEBRON, Ky. - Where would you go to find animatronic dinosaurs, indoor waterfalls and the Loch Ness monster? Try the Creation Museum in Hebron, about 20 minutes south of the Cincinnati area.

I recently got a chance to visit this museum with my family. It was awesome! At the time of our visit, my family and I were some of about 50,000 people to tour the museum since it opened in late May, according to John Bartlett, book and gift store manager.

There's a path that visitors follow through the museum. When we first walked into the museum, we entered the Special Effects Theater. It really put us in the scene, complete with vibrating seats, water that sprays you and three huge screens.

The purpose of this theater is to explain how creation scientists reach their conclusions. They believe the Earth is only about 4,000 years old. They point to the saltiness of the ocean and suggest that, since the oceans increase in salinity each year, the oceans would now be almost solid salt if the Earth were billions of years old.

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After this, we toured a simulated dinosaur dig site, which shows how evolutionists and creationists start with the same bones but reach different conclusions.

For example, both might agree that they have a leg bone of a tyrannosaurus and that it has been preserved by mineral deposits. The evolutionist would say the bone is millions of years old and the minerals were deposited slowly over time. The creationist would say the bone is thousands of years old and buried in a worldwide flood.

Next is the Prophet Room, which has mannequins of different biblical prophets - such as Moses, Joshua and Jeremiah - and displays of biblical prophecies.

Next on our tour through the museum we entered the Graffiti Room, a presentation about sin, defined as anything that offends God or disobeys the commands of God. Christians believe that, at the least, sinners are cut off from God's benevolence. At worst, sinners are punished.

The Graffiti Room shows effects of sin on our world. It looks like an abandoned alley that had been vandalized. Newspaper headlines and spray paint cover the walls. These headlines include reports of theft, murder, war and the Holocaust of World War II.

From The Graffiti Room, we stepped into the Time Tunnel. From the Time Tunnel, we emerged in a Garden of Eden, filled with realistic models of dinosaurs, animals, plants and Adam and Eve.

There were sound effects of various animals and a cool breeze blowing. Museum-goers saw Adam name the animals.

The rest of the museum shows different events from the Bible, such as Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent, the rivalry of Cain and Abel, and Noah building the Ark. All of these exhibits are full of detailed mannequins and animatronic figures and some of the figures talk.

My favorite room is the one that made me feel like I was inside the Ark. A video showed the world being flooded. Various displays showed scale models of the Ark and what the inside might have looked like.

When we ventured outside to the grounds, we found a walking trail with swinging bridges, floating bridges, gazebos and waterfalls. There are also bushes sculpted to resemble dinosaurs and even the Loch Ness monster in a pond.

Overall, the museum does an excellent job of comparing evolution and creation and re-creating parts of the Bible.

Bartlett said the vision for the museum began 20 years ago with Ken Ham, who has a ministry called Answers in Genesis. The actual construction of the museum began five years ago. When asked where the major funding for the project came from, Bartlett replied, "Most of the $27 million needed to build the museum came from gifts from Christian families around the world. The average donation was around $100."

If you find yourself in the greater Cincinnati area, a trip to the Creation Museum is a worthwhile experience.

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