Typically, I don’t travel much. I normally stick to my little area in Northern Indiana. When I was younger I was more of an introvert and didn’t have much desire to travel. Things have changed since then and I’ve grown older, lost some hair on my head, and become less of an introvert. Now, I have places I’d like to visit. I had the opportunity to visit one such location at the end of March.
Several families from the church I attend, Cornerstone Community Fellowship in LaPaz, traveled south to Williamstown, Kentucky. On Friday, we went and toured the Creation Museum. On Saturday, we toured the Ark Encounter. On Sunday, we worshiped God before returning home to our normal lives in Indiana.
To be completely honest with you all: I’m not that great at sharing my faith. I could talk all day about writing and my interest in film and other pop culture, but faith is something I’ve struggled with when it comes to sharing. I’ve put off writing this travel blog because whenever I try to write it, I’m at a loss for words. Even though I’m a published author and write for a living, I’m not sure that I could accurately document what I experienced that weekend. A good friend of mine recently gave me the compliment that I write my best when I share my heart. I will do my best to share with you my experiences.
The night before we toured the Creation Museum, a portion of us went to Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend the Christian concert, Winter Jam 2019, at the Allen county War Memorial Coliseum. I’m not really one for concerts. Most of them are loud, crowded, and if I’m going to be blunt the seats are too small. I’m a fairly tall individual and overweight so, for me, most concert seats are just too tiny. The coliseum seats were comfortable, but the music was too loud for my preference. I’m thirty-three years old, but I have an elderly man’s taste for volume. It was so loud that I couldn’t understand some of the song’s lyrics. Of course, if I knew the lyrics (which was about half the time) I could better comprehend the music despite the overwhelming volume. It was still a great experience.
What wasn’t such a great experience was what happened next. I wrote about it in my Mastering the Craft column if you’re interested, but the summary was that our vehicle was broken into and most of the electronic devices were stolen. Including my laptop.
Still suffering from the fallout of the theft, we woke up early at the hotel we stayed in and hit the road. Our destination was the Creation Museum in Williamstown, Kentucky. We met with the rest of the church group and, as one, we entered the museum.
If you’ve never been to the Creation Museum, it’s an experience that’s one for the record books. I know, I know, but all puns aside it was an amazing time. The museum brings Bible history to life by exploring creation science with a plethora of exhibits, dinosaur bones, fossils, botanical gardens, a planetarium, zoo, zip line course, etc… The list goes on.
Go on, read that last sentence again because you might have missed it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
That’s right, dinosaur bones. When I walked into the museum I expected the exhibits on Genesis, Adam and Eve, the Ark, the Flood, and other biblical history. The one thing that I hadn’t added into the equation were the many displays, exhibits, and sculptures of dinosaurs. At the museum they explain that dragons were actually in reference to what we call dinosaurs. Back then, they were called by many names: behemoth, leviathan, dragon, and others. I’ll link the museum at the end of this blog so that if you’re interested, you can find more information.
The other really fascinating show they had was the 4D theater that showed the six days of creation when God created the heaven and the earth. The seats shook, lighting lit the room, the ocean sprayed on some of the audience. And the quality of the film was equally impressive.
We spent most of the day there and I feel like that wasn’t enough time to fully go through everything the Creation Museum had to offer. I know that I didn’t see it all and would like to take another trip down there someday to complete the tour.
Afterward, we traveled to a nearby church that was gracious enough to offer to shelter the group. What followed was a night of games, worship, food, and devotionals. One of my favorite activities that night was learning how to play 9-Ball for the first time. It’s like four square, but you play it like volleyball.
The other favorite activity of mine that night was when I hosted Family Feud. Months before the trip, the organizer had everyone going fill out surveys about various Biblical topics. It was typical Family Feud and pitted Family against Family. On the trip down, I had searched for jokes related to the Old Testament. Here are just a few for your reading pleasure:
• What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why they are no longer living in Eden? Your mother ate us out of house and home.
• Who was the smartest man in the Bible? Abraham. He knew a Lot.
• Why couldn’t they play cards on the Ark? Because Noah was standing on the deck.
I know, they’re pretty corny but that’s because I’m from Indiana. If I had been born in Wisconsin, the jokes would be cheesy.
It was another early morning as we traveled to the Ark Encounter. One of the most impressive things about the Ark is that it doesn’t seem all that big. That is, until you are standing in front of it and your neck is trying not scream as you look up. Here are some facts about the Ark:
• The Ark itself is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.
• The Ark has 3.3 million board feet of timber.
• The Ark is the biggest timber-frame structure in the world.
• The Ark is made with a variety of woods, including Engelmann spruce, Douglas fir, radiata pine, and bamboo.
Words cannot describe what I felt as I walked each of the three floors. Each floor had something different for the audience. The one that stood out in my mind was the collection of religious texts from as far back as the 1500’s. As an English major and having learned Middle English, for a Chaucer centric class, it was a treat to try and read a page from the Book of Job from a Bible printed in 1540.
Most of the Ark was dedicated to showing what life would be like on the Ark. Besides the animals, there was Noah, his three sons and wives, and his own wife that lived aboard the Ark. I can’t imagine what trip was like. A few years ago I traveled to Florida with my brother-in-law and my nephews. Let me tell you, there’s only so many times you can watch the Lord of the Ring movies before you start going mad. Those eight must’ve had crazy amounts of patience. Of course, they had all sorts of things they had to do.
Again, we spent most of the day there. There was a point in the day where some of the youth taught me another game: Ninja. If you’ve never played, it’s such a fun and simplistic game. I’d never heard of it before.
That night we all gathered at the church for another night of games, worship, and devotional. This time, however, there was no Family Feud. It was an all-out Nerf War. Of course, for those pacifists in the group, there was 9Ball and Euchre.
The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter were impressive. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity and time to take the trip. However, most of my memories from that trip aren’t tied to my singular experiences. What I mean by that, is that ten years down the line I’m not going to remember everything I read on the displays. I’m going to remember walking through the Ark with my twelve-year old nephew. I’m going to remember the look on his face when we read about Chief Shoefoot, a shaman in the Yanamamo people. I’m going to remember the selfie I took with my other nephew in front of the Ark (we both had matching hats and will forever be “hat buddies”).
I’m going to remember the bond I forged with the kids that taught me 9Ball and Ninja. I’m going to fondly remember the look on their faces when I tried to do a cartwheel in a game of Mother May I. I may not have stuck the landing, but I did fairly well.
I’m going to remember my younger nephew trying to touch the images in the 4D movie. Whenever I hear a song by Buddy Davis I’m going to remember sitting next to my friend as we laughed at some of the humorous parts of the talk he gave at the Creation Museum.
Or the time when my brother-in-law and I conquered the Goliath Burger in the cafeteria. Believe me, it was both worth it and not worth it by the end of the day.
The fellowship is what I’ll remember the most about that weekend.
So, in conclusion, should you visit the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter? Definitely. Even if you’re not Christian, it’ll give you something to think about and challenge your way of thinking. Should you visit those places by yourself? Definitely not. Because at the end of the day, what’s the point of going out and discovering and learning new things if you don’t have anybody to share in that experience?
Could you imagine if Noah was told: “build the Ark, but you’re the only one that can go.” What a lonely life that would’ve been.