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Dinosaur Adventure Land

Ah, those playful creationists. They’ve begun to realize that debating evolutionary scientists in public forums and newspapers isn’t really the way to go — it’s too “intellectual”. No, the real way to convince people of your religio-scientific theories is to build a Disney-like theme park. And thus it was that minister Kent Hovind in 2001 created Dinosaur Adventure Land in Florida, offering dinosaur exhibits upon which kids can romp and read about how “God made dinosaurs on Day 6 of the creation as described in Genesis, 6,000 years ago.”

The New York Times wrote a story about it yesterday, and it quotes a parent who was “bitterly disappointed” by her visit to a Disney dinosaur theme park last year, since it dated all the brachiosauruses and apatosauruses to prehistoric times:

“My kids kept recognizing flaws in the presentation,” said Mrs. Passmore, of Jackson, Ala. “You know — the whole `millions of years ago dinosaurs ruled the earth’ thing.”

Dinosaur Adventure Land, on the other hand, offers no such pernicious liberal illusions about the duration of time and space:

At Dinosaur Adventure Land, visitors can make their own Grand Canyon replica with sand and read a sign deriding textbooks for teaching that the Colorado River formed the canyon over millions of years: “This is clearly not possible. The top of the Grand Canyon is 4,000 feet higher than where the river enters the canyon! Rivers do not flow up hill!”

You can’t find stuff like this in The Onion. Indeed, I almost wondered if this were a Joey Skaggs media prank — some deeply subtle attempt to discredit the creationist movement by pushing its already-ludicrous arguments right off the edge of the flat earth. But then I checked the Dinosaur Adventure Land web page, and I gotta say, it looks real. If you poke around the site, you’ll find such gems as their page on “The Giant” — a leg bone purportedly from a 12-foot-tall human of Biblical vintage:

Come and see this great big leg bone found in Egypt that belonged to a person who was almost 12ft tall! This is a great way to show that before the flood, people were living to be much larger and also much older. Many things have changed since the creation, this is an example of how much the world, and people have changed as a result to the fall of man. Goodness, we are so tiny now!

As it turns out, the founder Kent Hovind not only doesn’t believe in prehistory — he doesn’t believe in taxes. Last week some IRS agents got a warrant to extract some documents from his home and offices, saying Hoving had stopped paying Uncle Sam.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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