My husband and I went the the Creation Museum in Kentucky last year, and while they have added several new things to see/do at the museum since we went, I still feel that this review will help others get an idea of what to expect if you decide to go. I want to say, right off the bat, that I’m not a “dogmatic” Young Earth Creationist; but at this point I lean toward the Young Earth Creationist position based upon the interpretation of evidence including historical, scientific, archaeological, scriptural, etc… This museum is affiliated with Answers in Genesis.
First of all, yes, it’s worth going! We drove about 4 1/2 hours to go, and stayed the night at a hotel, going to the museum in the morning. That brings me to tip number one; there are lists of hotels on the Museum’s website: http://www.creationmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/hotels if you plan to stay at a hotel, make sure you ask if they have a special Creation Museum rate. The one we chose, Hyatt Place, was half price ($89) for Creation Museum goers, as opposed to something around $170.
Next tip; note the hours: Hours of Operation, and plan accordingly. From our other tourist activities we believed the museum would open a lot sooner, so we modified out plans a bit. When we arrived, we had to wait outside for a bit (maybe 5 – 10 min) because a large church group had gotten there right at open. We stood in line, when entering for about 5 min, waiting for tickets. I loved it here, because hardly anyone was complaining and most people were having a ball standing in line because that meant there was a lot of people visiting the museum, not only that, they were openly commenting on that fact with smiling faces!
There’s also a lot to look at while you wait, The Museum itself is gorgeous. The detail is really neat on the outside and inside, and there are some great fossils/models toward the front of the museum as well as sculptures right outside the door. We were also given a map of the museum to look at while in line, so we could plan our day. Here’s the next tip: definitely get the ticket with the stargazer’s planetarium on it! It costs seven dollars more if you get a ticket to the whole museum, including the planetarium (the prices are listed on the “hours” page). There are scheduled shows in the planetarium, so you need to have an idea of when you would like to go, and tell them when you buy your ticket. The Men in white show ran on a loop, every thirty minutes, so you don’t have to schedule it right off the bat, but be sure to check to make sure the scheduling hasn’t changed.
Also, if you had a really early breakfast, I would suggest eating lunch early; my husband and I had Noah’s cafe almost all to ourselves. (Another tip: there is another food stand, with different offerings, inside the cafe around the corner, what you first see is the “main” station.) We got our food and went outside to the beautiful covered patio, which overlooks the pond and botanical gardens. By the way, there are big covered shelters outside, past the botanical gardens for those people wishing to bring a picnic lunch. One of the new additions that we didn’t get to see is a new food stand; The Lakeside Grill, which is located outside below the patio (you should be able to access it either from the grounds outside the museum, or by going into Noah’s cafe and down the outside steps.)
So, in the main hall, there is a lobby, which most people will recognize from all the interviews with Ken Ham about the museum, it is where there are two children in the company of dinosaurs. There are live fish in the water, and the kids were loving it. There are also fossils in display cases along the wall (esp. leading to the restrooms, and “Men in white” theatre) that were really interesting, as well as live finches, and dart frogs. The kids caught on quicker that they were “really” real and not animatronic…which I found quite amusing!
There is also The Bookstore entrance here, in the lobby. When we got there, there was maybe three other people in the bookstore, this means if you want to go shopping, you may wish to do it when first arriving. There are a ton of books, DVD’s, and also toys, t-shirts, and other knick-knacks. As of our trip, you could buy things and take them back out to your car without worrying about getting back in (thus avoiding the huge, wall-to-wall crowds in the store we witnessed before leaving). Which brings me to another interesting point: When we went, you could actually park, come into the lobby, go to the bookstore, go to Noah’s cafe, and tour all the botanical gardens without paying admission, and are free to walk around. So, you are basically paying for: the museum tour (which is the main part of the museum), the men in white show, the dinosaur den, and the planetarium (and now the new petting zoo).
The museum tour is really the heart of the museum, it’s a self-guided tour and you can go at your own pace. If you want to pass people up, you’re free to do so, as some people will look at everything much longer than others. The only problem with this was when rooms were really really crowded. Overall, though it is a good setup. There are several movies along the way; my favorite was “The Last Adam.” I will say, to all my fellow Christian women especially, you may wish to pack a kleenex. One of the things in the tour that (ironically) made secular evolutionists a bit hot, was the fact that both views are presented side by side and people are allowed to see both angles, as opposed to secular museums.
After the main museum tour, you’re spit out in a lobby where there is a dino den, a small coffee shop, more awesome fossils, a dino/dragon movie, and a small chapel. We also walked all the botanical gardens, outside, which I loved, I believe they have even added onto the walking path that was there originally, and of course the petting zoo is outside as well. They have a floating bridge, and a suspension bridge, and a huge pond, many flowers and paths, and a small creek, and statues too. If the museum gets too packed, it’s neat to be able to go out and walk around for a bit.
Plan to be there, oh, three to four hours at least, if not more (now I’d definitely say “more”). The only thing that was there at the time that we did not see was the Men in White show, we simply ran out of time and energy, but I heartily recommend it, I’ve heard good reviews, and it also, from what I’ve read, tends to annoy the secular evolutionists. Yes, we are planning on returning sometime soon. The only “downside” (that wasn’t really a downside, really) was the amount of people there. It was still in the summer, so it was packed, most of the time you didn’t notice, but if there were fossils you wished to look at, or to be able to walk right into the Men in white theater you couldn’t do that sometimes because of the crowds — again, most people agreed, including us, that the museum being packed was a good thing.
If you study all of AIG’s materials, there won’t be anything earthshatteringly new you learn here (however, the planetarium is quite enlightening, and only after a presentation in the museum did I realize that Methuselah was alive when Adam was, AND when Noah was). I feel that one should go to be able to recommend it to others, both believers and non-believers, and I do heartily recommend it to anyone. Everyone is welcome there, and I know that respectful questions from non-believers are also welcome. I do believe that people of different faiths can get a lot out of the museum, and old earth Creationists, and theistic evolutionists would enjoy it. As for secular evolutionists, many would probably want to go to get a clear view of what Young Earth Creationists believe, and also, their interpretations of evidence are presented alongside the Creationist ones, so there seems to be something for everyone.
Some misc. notes; the atmosphere was lovely, everyone who worked there was extremely friendly and helpful. Also, we didn’t run into anyone (other guests) who seemed to be mocking the museum, but I’m sure there are some around in the tours and shows. There were people there from all over and from different denominations, included many Mennonites. Homeschoolers were very well represented. Also, there was, what I assumed to be, a young man’s choir group touring (could have been homeschooled brothers?) and the four boys actually stopped in the lobby and started singing gospel out of the blue, it was great! Also, now it is very important to check the museum homepage for any events and/or speakers that will be making presentations during your visit (I would really love to go around Christmas!).
I’m quite happy to attempt to answer any specific questions about the museum and hope this is a help to someone.