The entrance gates here are topped with metallic Stegosauruses. The grounds include a giant tyrannosaur standing amid the trees, and a stone-lined lobby sports varied sauropods. It could be like any other natural history museum, luring families with the promise of immense fossils and dinosaur adventures.
But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away. …
[The scene] serves as a vivid introduction to the sheer weirdness and daring of this museum created by the Answers in Genesis ministry that combines displays of extraordinary nautilus shell fossils and biblical tableaus, celebrations of natural wonders and allusions to human sin. Evolution gets its continual comeuppance, while biblical revelations are treated as gospel.
Last year, Answers in Genesis complained that a museum tour of “Lucy,” the remains of a 3-million-year-old human ancestor, was “anti-creationist hype.” The group’s own museum will also feature fossils, but presented as cohabitants of the world of Noah and passengers on his ark.
Oddly enough, the American Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is opening its own new exhibit on Saturday. But the museum maintains that the subjects of the “Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids” exhibit “are found only in folktales and other stories.”