Holy Land Experience

Christian Theme Park


Last week I visited the Holy Land Experience in Orlando. It’s a Christian theme park that’s been lampooned in the media – it even made an appearance of sorts on the Simpsons.

Actually it isn’t bad at all. It’s educational and I learned quite a bit. It’s more like a glorified museum than a theme park. $35 gets you in. I saw what interested me in 3 hours:

1. Wilderness Tabernacle. You sit in a dark room and learn about the Old Testament Tabernacle, watching an actor dressed like a priest explain the details and rituals in a huge replica.

2. The Scriptorium. I love old stuff [I have a page from a 1618 KJV Bible framed on the wall] so I really liked this. It’s an hour long guided tour through an elaborately decorated museum filled with actual old Bibles, as well as the history of how the Bible was preserved through the years. Most interesting was the “Martyr’s Bible” with blood stains on it – some guy was killed for owning an English Bible translation. I didn’t realize what a big, dangerous deal it was for Tyndale to translate the Bible into English [as explained by a quite realistic Disneyesque audio-animatronic version of Tyndale.]

3. Jerusalem Model. My favorite part of the Holy Land Experience was the miniature model of Jerusalem, based on the time when Jesus was crucified. It fills a large room. A tour guide stands near the side of the model and explains it… historical events, the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, etc. I can’t believe what a small town Jerusalem was in those days – only a mile by 2/3’s of a mile! I now have a mental picture of where everything happened and I’m looking forward to making my way through the Gospels again this year.

If you want an afternoon break from roller coasters and mouse ears while you’re in Orlando [and don’t have easily bored kids or teenagers] try the Holy Land Experience.


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