PETERSBURG, Ky. — Weeks in advance of its grand opening, the high-tech Creation Museum in northern Kentucky is already expanding by 20 percent—adding about 10,000 square feet inside the $27 million facility.
Widespread interest in the museum, scheduled to open May 28 near Cincinnati, Ohio, prompted officials to launch the expansion effort, according to officials with Answers in Genesis, the museum's builder. The addition will bring the total museum size to 60,000 square feet.
"The Creation Museum's expansion is due to the fact that we are seeing tremendous interest nationwide among our own supporters and the media, including many members of the international press," said Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry.
Ham said they are hoping 250,000 people will visit the museum in its inaugural year.
Billed as a "walk-through-history" museum, the facility is designed to counter evolutionary natural history museums that discount Scripture—and Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe. It plans to go beyond telling the compelling story of the creation of life to proclaiming the Bible as supreme authority in all matters it addresses.
The new museum will sport animatronic displays, including moving dinosaurs, striking videos, a planetarium and a special effects theater. Other features visitors will see real dinosaur bones, a clutch of eggs and other exceptional fossils, view a huge casting of a mastodon, examine a superb mineral collection, and take a tour of the universe inside a 78-seat planetarium.
Officials describe the experience as something typically found in a first-class natural history museum. Some of the exhibits were created by a designer known for his work at Universal Studios and other theme parks.
The exhibits, which celebrate the Bible as the "true history book of the universe," take visitors through a visual time journey of the "Seven C's of History" according to Scripture: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross and Consummation.
The ministry has more than 7,900 charter members and tens of thousands of donors, who have helped raise more than 90 percent of the funds needed toward the museum's $27 million price tag, which includes $2 million for the new expansion.
Some of the space involves the creation of two-story displays that take advantage of 40-foot-high ceilings, including a re-creation of a portion of Noah's Ark and an enlarged dinosaur exhibit. Another 7,000 square feet is being re-worked at the front of the building, creating a striking glass-enclosed portico as the new entryway for guests. The museum's café has also expanded to accommodate additional visitors. Outside the complex, an additional 85 parking spots are being added.
Interest in the museum has been fueled by extensive news coverage, including contacts with the New York Times, an HBO documentary producer, a CNN news crew and four visits from the BBC.
"We are tremendously encouraged to see how God has blessed and grown this museum," Ham said. "The quality of the exhibits is on par with what you see at the best science museums anywhere in the world. I was in Orlando recently, and I would say that some of our dinosaur animatronics are as good as what you'd find at the Disney parks there."
Answers in Genesis, located adjacent to the museum, conducts more than 300 teaching meetings each year, hosts an award-winning Web site and produces the "Answers" radio program heard on more than 860 stations throughout the United States.
For more information, visit answersingenesis.org.
Assist News Service contributed to this report.