The controversial $27 million Creation Museum located just outside Cincinnati has made a fairly strong start, boasting 40,000 visitors since its opening on Memorial Day.
Counting the 9,000 visitors that pre-visited the museum, which depicts a literal six-day interpretation of creation from the Bible, the founding ministry Answers in Genesis (AiG) is well on its yearly goal of 250,000 guests, already meeting one-fifth of the total target.
Organizers are excited about the faster than expected pace, and hope the turnout continues on its current trend.
"We're very thankful that so many people are coming out," explained Ken Ham, co-founder of AiG, in a statement. "The feedback we've been getting is very positive. I'm grateful to observe that people are seeing that solid science backs the Bible."
The museum, located in Petersburg, Ky., sparked much discussion in the past months when word got out that a Genesis-themed exhibit was going to be built. Evolution is derided at the 60,000-square-foot facility, packed with high-tech exhibits designed by an acclaimed theme-park artist, animatronic dinosaurs and a huge wooden ark. In this literal biblical version of history, dinosaurs appeared on the same day God created other land animals.
The museum also contains fossils, hung in large glass cases in a room visitors spill into after taking a tour of Old Testament history.
Both non-Christians and Christians who are against a literal interpretation of the Bible on life origins planned protests and spoke out against the anti-evolution display, worried that their children would be affected. The controversy garnered the new exhibit a large amount of media coverage. Ham even thanked the protesters after its opening for helping advertise the building as well as forcing it into its current location.
"[W]e were going to build a 30,000-square-foot building [somewhere else]," explained Ham in the Cincinnati Enquirer. "[But so many protests went on], the Lord directed us to this piece of property, right on a major freeway at a major interchange. And we decided to build a far bigger building (nearly 60,000 square feet), and a far bigger vision and a far bigger impact around the world – and I just want to thank, sincerely, the local secular humanist group."
People who have visited the museum have expressed how impressed with how well done it was. Others were happy that there was finally a science exhibit that matched their worldview of creation.
"I've been a Christian for many years," said motivational speaker Zig Ziglar in a statement, "but this museum has strengthened my faith."
AiG workers have also reported a large increase of internet traffic going into their ministry's website as a result of the multi-million dollar construction. On its best day, the website drew over 95,000 visitors (about 300,000 "page views"), according to members.
The museum has been booked solid every Saturday this summer for tours and has reached its capacity on a number of days.
Ministry heads expect the attendance to remain fairly high since the school year is approaching, which will bring in many more from homeschool and Christian field trips to the site.