Dinosaur World and…Creationism??

Last week we went to my mother-in-law’s house in Mumfordville, KY. Unlike most other times, this trip we vowed to find something fun to do in the area. We’d gone to Cave City when we visited on spring break and found a few things that looked fun, like Gunsmoke Mountain, and we knew Kentucky Down Under as well as a number of caves are in the area. But in the end we settled on Dinosaur World, a little patch of info-tainment off I-65.

Hey look, pictures!

Anyway, Dinosaur World in Cave City, KY was a mixed bag. It was definitely neat, with a nice little stroll with tons of photo ops with plexiglass dinos and fun little signs in front of each display (which were action shots, not just generic dino shots) There was tons of fun stuff in the gift shop (like rocks and minerals of which I’m a huge fan, cliche stuffed dinos and little plastic ones, action figures, books, dino puzzles, etc…) and props to them, they made sure to have affordable options (like an under $1 rack) and their prices on minerals/rocks were midline, not horribly inflated.

The kids’ tickets included tickets to dig for fossils in a giant sand trough, which as an adult was little cheesy, but the kids loved it. In fact my daughter “found” a praying mantis while hunting for fossils, which was hilarious (even to her, so I don’t feel bad for giggling when I think about it).

The down sides were that it was HOT when we were there, which made the kids short tempered and my husband isn’t the best at taking photos meaning we have a bunch of good photo ops with him and the dinos, but not a single good picture of me.

Plus the prices are about $13 for adults and $6 for kids, meaning it cost us $50+ just to walk through the door.

But today this came through in my feed. For those who don’t want to look it’s a blog entry that claims Dinosaur World is a Creationist attraction. Why? Because there are no eras in which the dinos lived listed on the informational signs AND because they do sell some books in the gift shop that take a Creationist point of view.

To which I say, what the hell? So Borders had a large Christian section, does that mean Borders was a Christian institution? They also sold Crowley books, and the Koran, does that make them occultists or Muslims? What it means is that Dinosaur World, like Borders, sells books to Creationists.

I don’t agree with Creationism. It shouldn’t be considered science, much less accurate, but I fully support a business’ right to sell to Creationists as well as kids, adults, people who know nothing and just want to get out of the heat, and people who adore dinos more than anything else. I even support the idea of Christian bookstores and the Creationist Museum (though I think the latter should not be given tax breaks over those given standard to small businesses). Heck, I think the Noah’s Ark Water Park being built here in Kentucky sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

Tuesday we went to Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana, which prides itself on “family” fun. They had some policies (no guns, no alcohol, no bikini tops outside the swim area) that rocked. And some things (a nativity scene, an praying hands water fountain, religious band performers, only Christian Christmas music in the “Christmas” theme area and giant crosses on the stage areas) bugged the hell out of me.

These things bugged us because 1) they make the assumption that “family”=”Christian” 2) No one in this part of the world would tolerate the same things from a nonChristian point of view. Stars of David, pentacles, crescents and stars, the agitation comes from the inequality and assumptions.

But it didn’t stop me from having fun.

At Dinosaur World not one single thing led me to believe it was a Creationist attraction. They sold hematite cross necklaces, but they sold hematite circle, star and key necklaces too. I didn’t see any books that preached, but then I knew the books were out of my cash flow range so I skipped it anyway. The guy running the fossil pit wore one of those wooden, surfer-looking bead necklaces, but no one preached at me, none of the signs preached Creationism, I’m sure you get the point.

Personally I was pleased & surprised that the triceratops sign said scientists believe it was a juvenile form of another dino, not its own critter. I didn’t think it was easy to fix those signs, so it made sense to me that they would focus on things like where it lived, what its bits (like bony ridges) ¬†were used for and what they ate. When they lived is, like many things in science, still under debate and changes. Plus being in Churchville in Bible Belt USA you have the choice to present things as non offensive, or risk people throwing fits at you, boycotting you, or even missing the info-tainment over one stupid little hitch.

Even if Dinosaur World is run by Christians, in a primarily Christian area (which I’m not sure is true anymore. I’m not sure it is a really Christian, but moreso Christianity is a habit as much as smoking), nothing I saw made me believe it’s a Creationist attraction.

And if all the evidence you have is that they sell SOME books from a Christian point of view and they don’t include all the facts on dinosaurs then I kindly refer you to my previous complaints about Christian establishments:

Stop 1) assuming {blank, in this case some Christian products included, what I would say less than 1% of the swag offered}=”Christian” or even 2) Christian=Creationist and 3) that everything has to be blandly secular when the customers ARE NOT.

Tolerance means it’s okay if a Christian walks in and wants to buy a book from a Creationist point of view, as much so as it’s okay for a dinosaur fan to want one that’s mostly pictures, or includes actual photos from digs. Tolerance means all customers have a place in a store like that.

Really, if you want to be upset about anything, be upset that it costs $13 a pop to get in and walk a half mile loop!