It was interesting that when high-quality zip line courses were installed at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter (through the generosity of a special family that supports Answers in Genesis), atheists were extremely upset. They scoffed, mocked, and attacked us in a variety of ways. Even some of the secular media were mocking us.
When one reporter asked me why we built zip line courses, I replied, “Because Christians can have fun, too!” And besides, these courses attract people who are not familiar with our ministry or are not necessarily Christians. It’s another way of introducing people to who we are and the message we proclaim.
I believe a major reason that the secularists attacked us for this is that they know it will help attract people/families to these unique attractions—and they don’t want people (especially children) hearing our message of the truth of God’s Word and the gospel.
We’ve always had a burden to provide more family-friendly activities. Additionally, as I walk around the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, I often see children (and others) who have special needs—and I’m inspired by how they overcome so many obstacles daily. Often their spirit of joy presents such a bright contrast in this fallen world. Yes, because of our sin in Adam, we do live in a fallen, sin-cursed world. It’s not God’s fault we see suffering all around us; it’s our fault collectively.
Over the years, we have been doing more and more to help those with special needs. For instance, one of our staff members has had a deep burden to help those who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to experience the message at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.
As a result, we have special days with unique programs for the Deaf community. For instance, in October we had a Deaf-led worship service at the Creation Museum. We are providing more ways to make the message accessible for those of our family (yes, we are all one family, all descendants of Adam) with various disabilities.
We’ve always had a burden to provide more family-friendly activities.
We provide “touch tours” at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. Those with sensory disabilities (i.e., visual impairments, autism, etc.) can touch dinosaur sculptures, real fossils, and more. We schedule these tours 30 minutes before the museum opens to ensure the best possible experience for these guests.
Well, because of our burden to provide more family-friendly experiences, especially for children of all abilities, we were greatly blessed to find a company who builds playgrounds with equipment that is very accessible. The manufacturer calls them “inclusive.” But what they mean by this is that the playground equipment is fun, accessible, and welcoming (inclusive) for children of all abilities.
All children, including those with a disability, will love these playgrounds! Here are just some of the features:
- *Allows mobility devices such as wheelchairs to enter and exit easily.
- *Includes an instrument collection that was designed by musicians for outdoor play. Great for all kids, including those with sensory disabilities (i.e., autism, deafness, visual impairments).
- *Features play tunnels that are excellent for children who become overstimulated from the sensory experiences and need an enclosed area to decompress.
- *Includes an oversize swing that allows a child with a muscular disability to either sit in the center (if he or she has adequate core strength) or lie down.
We will include teaching at both the Ark and Creation Museum about the true meaning of the rainbow—a promise God gave that he would never again judge the world with a global flood. At the Creation Museum, children can see special tactile panels in the colors of the rainbow (these tactile panels are also great for those with visual impairment). At the Ark Encounter, the same type of panels will be used in a rainbow maze.
These new playgrounds will be such a great asset for our world-class, Christian-themed attractions to provide more family-friendly experiences, but I love that they are designed for children of all abilities!
Now because some of our generous supporters have already offered a great matching gift amount toward these, we have already stepped out in faith and installed one of these playgrounds at the Creation Museum! Here are some photos of the Creation Museum playground that opened last month.
Below is the rendering of the playground for the Ark Encounter:
At the same time, we want to complete the third and final phase of our upgrades at the Creation Museum. We have already expanded the parking and taken out many “pinch points” to make it easier for people to navigate through the museum. We’ve also recently opened our new 4D Special Effects Theater where children and adults alike have had an experience to remember!
The final phase of this project is to totally upgrade the first part of the Creation Museum walkthrough exhibits leading up to the “7 C’s of History.” When this attraction was opened in 2007, it was not designed for the greatly increased number of guests we have been receiving since the Ark Encounter opened.
We’ve also recently opened our new 4D Special Effects Theater where children and adults alike have had an experience to remember!
That’s why we have been taking out “pinch points” and widening passageways. We needed to do this in the first part of the museum to make it easier, not just for the crowds but also for those with wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
At the same time, we are going to install stunning new exhibits that will take into account the state of our contemporary culture and include great teaching and interactive experiences to equip and challenge people.
So, the “inclusive” playgrounds and the last phase of the Creation Museum upgrade are the projects we really want to complete to be ready for the influx of guests in the coming years.
The adventure play areas will be great additions to both attractions and will extend our offerings for children of all abilities. The upgrades to the opening exhibits at the Creation Museum will help us proclaim the absolute truth and authority of God’s Word. My prayer is that God would use this ministry to cause young and old alike to view God’s Word “not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
I’m grateful for your prayers and partnership in equipping young and old, families and churches, to defend their faith and proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ! Find out more about how you can have your donation doubled with this end-of-year matching gift opportunity and help us complete these projects for 2019!