It’s been an amazing summer—both attractions have been flooded with guests (with record numbers on many days) from across the nation, and even around the world. Hundreds of thousands of families have heard the gospel message and been encouraged to trust God’s Word, have answers, and think biblically. Based on this year’s numbers, Lord willing, we’re anticipating an even busier summer next year! But this creates a “problem”—an exciting “problem”!
So here’s the “problem”—so many people are pouring into these God-honoring facilities that we need to provide more ways to accommodate all the people who visit (particularly during the busy seasons), yet at the same time use such opportunities to equip them with the truth of God’s Word and the saving gospel.
We have some very exciting plans for the immediate future to address this “problem” at both attractions. And we have a vision for further plans in the future (you’ll find out more about those in a blog later this month, so stay tuned!). So what are the immediate plans?
We have some very exciting plans for the immediate future to address this “problem” at both attractions.
Well, I’m sure you can imagine if you had hundreds of thousands of people each year using your home, there would be wear and tear. Over the years, we’ve upgraded, replaced, and repaired many aspects of the Creation Museum. But we have come to the place where we need some major work done in two areas.
When we first opened, we didn’t have an auditorium. So after a couple of years, we converted our warehouse into our Legacy Hall auditorium. When we first did this, I told our staff we wanted to wear this auditorium out for the Lord and use it to the max for teaching and other programs to equip people of all ages. Well, we’ve done that! It’s almost worn out. The sound system, projection system, etc., are nearly all worn out. The technology is aging and difficult to get parts for and repair. Also, we are filling its capacity on many days.
So until we can build a much larger auditorium (part of our future vision—but more on that later in the month!), we need to totally refurbish our current space. Our plans are to turn the seating configuration 90 degrees, knock out some walls to increase the capacity, and put in a new projection and sound system. One of the most important functions we have as a ministry is teaching God’s Word daily to individuals and families through various programs. Legacy Hall is needed for this at the Creation Museum.
The second area that is wearing out is our animal experience and petting zoo facility. Families love to see the animals, and we use them for daily live programs and to teach about kinds and design. Our zoo staff are great presenters and teach about these animals from a biblical worldview perspective for our guests and for the many varied kids’ programs our educational specialists run at the Creation Museum throughout the year. Our animal facility located in the botanical gardens was only built to last about seven years—but we have been putting “bandages” and “duct tape” on it to keep it going. But it’s at the end of its life. We have to replace this soon.
This will enable us to help distribute the crowds and focus even more teaching on God’s Word.
So here’s what we have planned! We’re going to construct an Eden Teaching Center, which will consist of a new animal facility, along with a conservatory and associated greenhouses (including a butterfly house) to exhibit the plants of the Bible. This will enable us to help distribute the crowds and focus even more teaching on God’s Word.
The Eden Teaching Center will also include a classroom for biblical worldview botanical workshops and a fun, interactive dig site where kids can dig up dinosaur fossils. We will specialize one of the greenhouses for hydroponics, which will provide food for the petting zoo animals—this will also be part of our educational programming for all ages. Because of the increasing number of guests at the Creation Museum, we are in need of facilities like this to accommodate the crowds—which is a good problem to have.
Associated with the Eden Teaching Center, we will also build an admissions building and welcome center at the Creation Museum entrance (where we currently use a temporary building).
Okay, now for the Ark Encounter. The Holy Land Experience in Florida closed its doors recently and gave us their indoor model of first-century Jerusalem (the biggest indoor model in the US, possibly the world), which was a very popular exhibit. People love to learn about Jerusalem and Israel, so we are going to use the basic plan of this model to take it to a whole new level of quality and exhibit this in its own building at the Ark Encounter.
Because of the popularity of such an exhibit, we know this will also help distribute people at the Ark Encounter as they have another spectacular exhibit to visit.
We want to start as soon as possible with the site planning and development for this exhibit. Once the model is housed and open to our guests in the next couple of years, we will work on other phases to greatly enhance the teaching aspect. Because of the popularity of such an exhibit, we know this will also help distribute people at the Ark Encounter as they have another spectacular exhibit to visit. As people visit this model, they will learn more about God’s Word, the time of Jesus, and the message of salvation.
Now all this will certainly need a lot of funding, but as usual, a significant amount of the work is done in-house, which keeps costs down compared to what it would cost if everything were done by contractors.
This will be our biggest end-of-year fundraising challenge ever: the total amount will be $17 million. We already have been given $1 million of seed money to help get it all started! We are asking our supporters to consider contributing toward these projects to increase the amount of seed money so we can get this all underway as we continue to raise funds.
We’re so excited for these expansions and upgrades. We continue, by God’s grace, to take both the Museum and the Ark to new levels of quality, impact, and guest experience. So once we have completed the above projects, what are our plans for the future? Well, be sure to stay tuned for that announcement later this month—we have some very exciting expansions planned (we’re certainly not lacking in vision around here!).
Because these plans are so critical to impacting more and more people with the gospel, our effort to share the opportunity and raise these funds by the end of this year starts now! I challenge you to prayerfully consider a generous gift today, joining those who have provided the initial seed money, to provide the funds that will allow us to reach more people than ever as we do the business of the King.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.