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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Holy Land Experience: A Unique Biblical Theme Park in Orlando

Author: Mark Whichard

The Orlando area is known for Disney World, Universal Studios and other exciting theme parks but these parks are not the end of the story. Orlando also has a biblical theme park, The Holy Land Experience, which is every bit as entertaining as the well-known secular attractions in this region. If you and your family are inspired by stories of the Bible, then The Holy Land Experience will provide you with an exciting and educative full-day experience. Let's take a look at what you can expect to find at this park.

The main idea of this biblical park and museum is to bring the Bible to life and they do it by recreating the Holy Land as it existed 2000 years ago. So, in a sense, this park is like a time-machine that takes you back to the ancient era.

Featured exhibits help to recreate the time when the stories of the Bible unfolded. The Scriptorium Center is the more scholarly part of this park and it holds important ancient biblical manuscripts. Here is how the Holy Land Experience website describes it:

"The walk-through experience of The Scriptorium transports visitors to historical and geographical areas of the world where displayed biblical documents originated and gives guests a dramatic understanding of the history of the Bible, how it parallels the history of civilization, and the impact it has had upon the world."

Another important exhibit is the Wilderness Tabernacle. This is a recreation of the mobile temple where the Israelites performed their worship during the forty years of wandering in the desert. The presentation is designed to provide visitors with an insight into the rituals and sacrifices offered during this era.

If you are curious to know what Jerusalem looked like 2000 years ago, then the Jerusalem Model A.D. 66 is the place to visit. This exhibit is the world's largest indoor model of its kind. It is a 45 by 25 foot-long structure gives a stunning overview of what Jerusalem looked like at the height of its size and growth. Daily presentations tell the history of the city, from it's beginnings as King David's capital city to its destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70.

When you visit The Holy Land Experience, you do not just look at exhibits or pictures on the wall, you also have the opportunity to learn from biblical archaeologists who present and explain the world of the Holy Land. If you arrive when the park opens, then be sure to go on the 30 minute walking tour conducted by one of the archaeologists. Other presentations include a Moses Presentation, exploring the life of Moses, a Qumran Caves presentation, looking at the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and a Great Temple presentation, which explores the temple built by Herod and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

One of the must-see features of the Holy Land Experience is a motion-picture which tells the story of Esther. "One Night With a King" follows a young girl who rises from peasant to princess by going against the culture and seeking the King's heart rather than the riches of the kingdom.

The Bible also comes to life in live shows which combine drama and music. Here is what the official website says about these shows: "Our live shows and productions range from historical recreations to theatrical and musical showcases. Performed both indoors and outdoors with original dialog, music, and lyrics, these presentations are a central part of the mission to communicate the gospel truth of God's Word."

Some of the live shows include: Moses, Wedding at Cana, The Ministry of Jesus and The Last Supper. Not all shows are presented on all days and the schedules are subject to change so you will have to consult with the park to find out what will be showing when you visit.

The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. An adult one-day pass costs $35, seniors are admitted for $30, children under 5 are free and a one-day pass for children 6-12 costs $20.

The park is located in Orlando, off Interstate 4, at Exit 78, at the corner of Conroy and Vineland Roads. To use an online mapping/direction service, enter the following physical address for The Holy Land Experience: 4655 Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32811, Telephone: 1-800-447-7235 or 407-872-2272.

If you plan to visit The Holy Land Experience, give yourself a full-day so you can see and experience everything that is on offer.

Mark Whichard writes frequently about Orlando tourism. He is the proprietor of http://www.orlandosfinest.com and http://www.keyvacationhomes.com . Visit his websites for great deals on vacation home rentals in the Orlando, Florida area.

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