Planet of the Apes: Louis Fowler Goes to Kentucky’s Creation Museum

In the beginning, there was…Ken Ham.

Known to many believers as a fierce Aussie fundamentalist with a strong creationist streak, Ham is also the founder of Answers in Genesis, the organization that operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. But of all the questions I went into the museum with, the one that I desperately wanted answered was “Why isn’t the Creation Museum in Oklahoma?”

As someone who has recently left a personally destructive cult, I have been a bit burnt out on Okie religion and all the devout hatred that seems to go along with it. Still, roadside attractions—especially with a strong fundie bent—have always called out to me from high in the heavens and this multi-million dollar museum was screaming the loudest.

A veritable Disneyland for disciples, the Creation Museum was absolutely packed with believers of every color the Friday we went. Greeted by the first of many dinosaur replicas, I waited in line for my press passes as people paid upwards of $35 for the Creation Museum, with an additional $48 if you were also inclined to tour the Ark Encounter up the road in Williamstown.

Passes eventually secured, we moved down the paved road to our first exhibit, the outdoor petting zoo. Hand-raised chickens came up to majestically greet us as camels, goats and other Biblical animals watched in cud-chewing boredom as a string of families were snapping one selfie after another in front of them.

A short trudge by the lake will take you past the Arial Challenge Park, complete with a “Zip Line Adventure.” How, exactly, a zip-line ties into the Book of Genesis is beyond me, but many souls that were far braver than I let their fearful voices reach God as they flew across the park at dizzying heights.

Meanwhile, I momentarily contemplated buying a sack of popped corn from the Amaizing Grace (get it?) Kettle Corn stand outside the museum proper.

A top-tier affair that is filled with most of the glorifying beauty of Heaven itself—including a 4-D movie theater, natch—the most surprising thing that I encountered while here was the constant stream of not only dinosaurs but also dragons, seemingly to get both children and nerds involved in Creation ministry and, looking around, it seemed to be working.

According to the walkthrough of Biblically-related history, the Earth itself is not only roughly 6,000 years old, but we evidently coexisted with dinosaurs and other giant beasts. Well, to be fair, it’s as good a theory as any.

With a mixture of lifelike animatronics acting out the first book of the Bible—including an aquatically erotic Adam and Eve love scene—and plenty of exhibits with mostly small print and so many words, much like a spiritual Louvre, the Creation Museum is impossible to see in just one day; my skimming skills were truly being tested.

The most troubling aspect of the Creation Museum, however, isn’t what they believe as much as it is what they don’t believe; in one exhibit that depicted how Satan is responsible for inhumanities such as the slavery of Africans, the Holocaust of the Jews and, of course, torrential weather, what was knowingly missing was even the bare mention of the genocide of Indigenous people at the hand of Christ-fearing settlers.

It’s something that Christians—especially in places like Kentucky or Oklahoma—should deal with but, abhorrently, probably never will.

Our final stop at the Creation Museum was their 4-D movie experience, a 15-minute film entitled Six Days about, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the first six days of life on Earth. With three-dimensions on-screen and a fourth dimension that included flickering lights and bursts of mist right in your face, I’ve got to say that it was a far better film than Avatar.

Tour mercifully concluded, I felt a gnawing hunger in my belly, one that necessitated a light lunch at Noah’s Café, a large high school cafeteria-type setting that is filled with, surprisingly off-theme, hamburgers and chili and other concession-style foods.

The closest-to-God eats that I could find was the damnable Garden of Eden wrap ($5.99), paired with a bag of sour cream and onion chips ($1.49) and a cranberry juice ($2.49). I skipped the dessert though, not wanting to touch anything with the moniker of Uncle Leroy’s Fudge—it reminded me a bit too much of my time in the Catholic Church, but that’s another story.

_

 Photos courtesy of K.Y. // Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.