A Creationist Zoo in the UK August 31, 2009

A Creationist Zoo in the UK

We know what the Creation Museum in Kentucky is like… but what about Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in the UK?

… the zoo’s owner Anthony Bush seems in no doubt that there is a moral, didactic purpose to the enterprise. “From the outside, our farm is not overtly Christian,” he once told the Church Times. “But, from the inside, we are very strongly Christian. I am a Creationist, and we see the farm as a mission station to give people scientific permission to believe in God.”

So what’s inside the zoo? Paul Sims of New Humanist visited and took some pictures:

Picture 3

First of all, the statement is completely inaccurate. (So inaccurate, in fact, that the Creation Museum felt the need to depict it themselves. They used a dinosaur eating a pineapple.)

Secondly… did he just call my ancestors vegetables?

And what about this bit of scientific brilliance?

Picture 2

So the proof of Noah’s Ark is that it was supposedly very large, according to the Bible? That “the Biblical dimensions of the Ark… have existed”? What does that even mean?!

(Someone should use that as a pick-up line: “Hey baby, I’m 9.5 inches down there. You want me to prove it? Well, that measurement exists. So there.”)

Despite these posters, Sims says the Creationism isn’t always in plain view at the zoo as it is at the Creation Museum. But some areas leave no doubt about it:

More outlandish “scientific facts” were waiting for me at the gibbon enclosure. The sign introducing the gibbons was uncontroversial, but around the side of the enclosure was a giant poster explaining “30 reasons why apes are not related to man”, which argued that biological differences, such as apes’ possession of 24 pairs of chromosomes to humans’ 23, “prove” that there is no relationship between the species.

I suggest PZ lead a trip to the UK next summer. Who’s in?

You can read Sims’ full piece here.

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  • ChameleonDave


  • Amy

    Veggies is an often used term for vegetarians, might just be here in the UK though!

    I can’t believe they are allowed to claim on their website that a school trip to their farm is educational and relates to the National Curriculum.

    And they reckon that the Darwin documentaries that have been running on the BBC this year are “excellent but controversial”.

  • ChameleonDave

    They seem to be… confused.

    The dimensions of the Ark are said to be ‘miraculous’ and also ‘seaworthy’. If they are in line with what one would expect for a high-capacity ocean-going ship, then where is the miracle?

    By contrast, scorn is poured on the ship in the story of Gilgamesh… but surely that ship is the miraculous one, if its dimensions were inadequate and yet it survived the Flood.

    One gets the impression that if the dimensions were reversed, these people would still be saying that the Hebrew account contained miracles, and they’d still be pouring scorn on the older myth.

  • I’m in – the zoo is just down the road from me. My little niece was taken there by her Christian auntie (on the other side of the family). I guess they like to get them when they’re young.

    I’ve also heard from a local humanist group that the Noah’s Ark Zoo leads many tours for local public primary schools. Obviously, this is concerning that they can do this, and perhaps the reason they’re so sneaky with the creationist element.


  • Once atheists “win the day” we will keep these “museums” open as true cultural museums right alongside other museums showing how past societies used to believe and worship their particular gods.

  • The only “proof” I see here is further confirmation that the world has gone bat shit crazy.

  • littlejohn

    Most of us here in the states, I think, tend to think of the Brits as somehow a little cooler and more sophisticated than the rest of us. It probably has something to do with John Cleese, Masterpiece Theatre and those James Bond movies. I somehow thought they’d be immune to the primitive superstitions that plague so many Americans. Apparently not. I guess we should have realized this when Tony Blair started brown-nosing our idiot-in-chief G.W. Bush.

  • Somebody should set up an ‘Ark Challenge’ – though it probably wouldn’t silence these nutters.

    Here the challenge: 10 million dollars to anyone who can build a 450ft (137m) long boat entirely out of wood (nails and screws permitted), using only the tools and technology available to Noah. Equip it with only the technical items available to Noah and set it afloat in the open ocean with a crew of only 5 people. Then keep it afloat for 150 days.

    Don’t worry. Your money would be safe. It’s physically impossible to build a wooden boat that size which, in the open sea, does not flex to such an extent that it leaks like a sieve.

    The largest-ever wooden ship, the Wyoming, had a hull length of only 330 feet (100m) and leaked uncontrollably. She had to be pumped continuously when at sea and eventually foundered drowning her entire crew.

    I wish I had 10 million dollars!

  • Given PZ’s thoughts on the Creation “Museum”, I doubt he’s looking forward to repeat journey. Though, his beard would be pretty awesome there.

  • @littlejohn: This place is a few miles from were I live, tucked away in the countryside. The vast majority of us just humour them – or laugh at them.

    With the exception of a few, unfortunately vocal, morons, we in the UK simply do not take religion seriously. Those who still admit to any kind of religiosity are lukewarm about it. Schools still have to teach RE – but in the main it’s treated as a cultural subject. At his (perfectly ordinary) junior school my son learned about xianity, islam, shinto and judaism: at secondary school he’s also covered sikhism.

    Please do not assume, just because we have a few idiots, that the whole of the UK feels/believes the same. That would be the equivalent of us thinking that the whole of the US is rabidly fundamentalist, based on the actions of Bush or the Westboro Baptists.

  • vivian

    If I had to put a title on the first photo I think I’d call it…hmmmm..”Validity FAIL!” 😉

  • JJR

    Dawkins should lead a group of his own band of Freethinkers there and blog about it…

  • gribblethemunchkin

    England, noooo!

    My people have shamed themselves.

    On the other hand, this could be a fun day out next time i’m down near bristol.

  • I’ve heard the vegetarian thing before. Goes back to Genesis and the proclamation that god gave every manner of plant and herb for food. Of course, most biblical literalists insist that that means that all the animals were vegetarian, too.

    The surprising part of this is that this group hasn’t insisted (as I have heard many times here) that before Noah’s flood, it never rained. No, really, the bible didn’t ever mention rain so it couldn’t have happened.

  • Nathan the Wise

    You know the best thing about this place? It’s near a village called Failand. Says it all, really.

  • Hahahaha!!! Noah’s Ark is true because the ship described was more plausibly seaworthy than the ship in Gilgamesh?

    Likewise, this means that Star trek must be true, as the Enterprise is more plausibly spaceworthy than the Doctor’s phone booth.

  • Bob

    Creationism will not go away. It has made strides in recent years and will continue to do so; why? – because it is the truth!

  • Most people were veggies! Haven’t you watched veggietales?

  • Richard P

    as the Enterprise is more plausibly spaceworthy than the Doctor’s phone booth

    Don’t dis the Doc. You just need to have faith. He is stronger than Kirk is and will kick your ass. Die infidel!!!!

  • Daktar

    I would totally be up for an atheist gatecrashing of this place, especially if I got the chance to meet PZ. We also have a creation museum in Portsmouth called the Genesis Expo. I was thinking of taking a trip down there myself to see if it’s as crazy as the American flavour, but I fear I’d burst into hysterical laughter at the sight of ‘Boris’ the T-rex and have to be carted away.

  • Siamang

    Wait a minute.

    The Ark was 46 FEET tall?

    Those dimensions!

    It was a small bit more than one football field long.
    It was 45 feet tall. At best three decks.
    It was 75 feet wide! Less than half the width of a football field.

    So: Football field area 57,600 square feet.

    Noah’s Ark, 101,250 square feet, not counting ANY structural space.

    So, imagine fitting the entire animal kingdom, and their food, for a year, on the surface of less than two football fields.

    I see a great experiment for that farm to try!

  • Here’s a blog I wrote about this place a few months back:


  • Christian Ridley

    I’m definitely up for a PZ trip! It’s right near where I go to uni, might have to arrange a visit 😛

  • mikespeir

    I’d hate to have been one of those veggie people, what with all the vegetarian dinosaurs.

  • tnprimate

    here’s a good story about it.

    a few years back when i was doing my masters in england i had an email exchange with anthony bush…in it he referred to me as militant, totalitarian…i think there might have been a stalinist reference as well.
    that was after i contacted the head of BIAZA (the british zoo/aquarium association) because their regulations say to be a member a zoo must provide good education. and, since all of this crap on their website is obvious nonsense, i asked why they are a member (turns out they’re a provisional member). she said that he is a nice guy and they take care of their animals (and she confirmed to me that she was an atheist, but wouldn’t discriminate…which was not what i was asking her to do). perhaps more people need to continue calling them on this nonsense. if they want accreditation then they should provide good education resources.
    i’m surprised to see these pictures because they all assured me that the only anti-evolution crap was online…not actually in the zoo. and since schools go on visits there it’s quite scary what nonsense these kids are learning.

  • tnprimate

    not sure if anyone else noticed the racism there? in the NH piece, there are pics at the bottom…the fourth from the last is particularly interesting. see here for why:
    since we know much about human history, and know that this story is crap yet they’re still promoting it, i would like to hear their reply to this.

    and i found some of my email exchange with anthony bush a few years ago: here are some gems

    If you were to come here you would see that we are probably a better interpreter of biological science than almost any other zoo.

    I told BIAZA some time ago that they were going to receive an email along the lines that you sent. It would be interesting to know what drives you, though. It cannot be over the science of what is here now; I expect we agree with you over that; it must be something about origins long ago. The approach you take seems rather more appropriate to the Taliban or to old USSR’s thought police. Ironically in a country built on Christian tolerance you are free to be repressive over anything Christian. You might not try the same in Saudi Arabia.

  • I think Richard P’s comment suggests how the Ark could’ve overcome the limitations pointed out by Siamang. The Ark was a TARDIS. Bigger on the inside. Enough room for a couple of planets worth of life.

    Noah was a Timelord.
    Daleks caused the flood. EXTERMINATE!

  • Ted Powell

    apes’ possession of 24 pairs of chromosomes to humans’ 23, “prove” that there is no relationship between the species.

    See chapter 1, Fusion, of Relics of Eden : The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA, by Daniel J. Fairbanks, Prometheus Books 2007, ISBN 978-1-59102-564-1. As described here, the explanation for this has been in the scientific literature (he gives citations) since the early 1990s. Briefly, humans’ chromosome 2 is a fusion of great apes’ chromosomes 2A and 2B. The fusion site is still visible in our chromosome 2.

  • Siamang

    Also that information about the fusion of 2a and 2b is available in youtube form.

    Part of a great talk by Ken Miller.


  • It’s sick that the words “proof” can even be attached to the stories that are found in the Bible. These are the same idiots that want to question global warming and evolution. It is a very unjust world that we live in.

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