Welcome to Grim Yelp Reviews, a regular feature where we share people’s worst experiences at the worst places. This week: the (un)holiest of summer vacation destinations.

If you haven’t noticed already, summer is prime-time for Grim Yelp Happenings: we have grim trips to the pool, grim trips to national monuments, grim trips to motels that will haunt your children’s dreams. (Good. They should toughen up.) But nothing, truly, equals the grimness that we can achieve when it comes to Christian vacation destinations.

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There are several popular attractions in this great country of ours geared towards Christian families. Today, we’ll be looking at the three most interesting ones: the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, which posits that the earth is 6,000 years old and that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs. The Holy Land Experience, the only theme park in the world featuring both singing actors and regular re-enactments of the Passion and crucifixion of Jesus. And, of course, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, which let’s be real, is very much a religious excursion for some people.

These require very little in the way of explanation. Each of these reviews is perfect and made in God’s image. Let’s just dive right in and fully immerse ourselves.

Creation Museum

Why is this a one-star review? Who wouldn’t want to see a bunch of goofy shit and then a dinosaur in a saddle?

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Counterpoint:

I’m a Christian, so nothing I read or seen here is shocking to me. I only felt overwhelmed by so much information that you needed to read through.

People will believe what they want. No one should be forced to accept what this museum is teaching. If you go, enjoy it as entertainment and leave with your beliefs intact. If something disturbs you, then question it accordingly, and settle on truth, which to Christians is the Bible. That’s what you are getting when visiting- biblically based foundational truth without compromise.

It was entertaining and educational, yet can be improved upon. Creating an exhibit walking through the days of creation would be my suggested improvement, which would lead up to the explanation of dinos, and then possibly biblical stories leading up to Jesus Christ.

Overall, it made sense to me and I’m at peace. I’m forgiven and free through Jesus Christ and my mandate is to teach in love and leave judgement to Him.If you don’t have an understanding of God’s Word and a reverence for the Word, then you will only visit with a critical mind and walk out dissatisfied.

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Some reviews of the Creation Museum put aside the science and focus only on the important stuff:

I was disappointed in the chili served at the restaurant. Not even cafeteria quality.

This one isn’t really grim, it just begs to be included:

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Holy Land Experience

This is pretty heavy:

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Seriously, devout Christians seem to have had some bad and weird experiences in here:

There was a live performance taking place on the grounds that you could hear and my friend almost started to cry. She asked me if this was a farce, or a place where people claimed to love Jesus but were sacrilegious in an attempt to make fun of him and make money. Because we had travelled so far I told her we would try to find something good.

The musical performances were pretty good. But we didn’t want to see legna. It is angel spelled backwards and anti-christian groups sometimes spell christian words backwards so it made us uneasy.

There is a nice collection of rare bibles but they are in a timed walk-thru show so you can’t really take much time to study or compare the manuscripts. We would have liked to see this presented in a museum fashion where you could spend as much time as you would like going back and forth between texts. But the presentation fit in with the rest of the amusements. If you have elementary aged bible students this place might be good for them. Also, you can not tip any one. We follow JDM who is big on tipping those who serve you, so we felt bad that we couldn’t tip our servers - especially in what was supposed to be a christian environment. We would not recommend this place. And please know that it is not a “holy land” experience. It is more comedy.

Wow! What a HUGE waste of money! There was nothing of value... It was cheap and cheesy. Who knew there was so much gold spray paint, sequins and rhinestones in Jerusalem?! The “artifacts” where laughable. Yes... I can see it is a brass bowl... But to pass it off as an artifact simply because you labeled it as such is insulting. While we’re on the subject of laughable... What’s with all the life sized cutouts?! I’ve also never been anywhere that had so many signs indicating you were under surveillance. I’m not doing anything wrong so I have no worries... But it was just creepy! Every building, every room, each display! There just simply wasn’t “content”... Not was it fun. it felt like a mish mash of Christian based dioramas. Ugh.

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I can really get behind a Sequined Jesus, though:

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Breastfeeding in a bathroom in a museum devoted to Ronald Reagan sounds like my personal vision of purgatory. I do, however, love this woman’s dedication to outlining every single way it sucked, and the delicate way she describes farts:

I love this place! I really do however, this past weekend has made me rather upset!I am a mother of two. One is 10 years old and my other is 7 weeks old. Yes, you read correct, 7 weeks old. I nurse, and nurse in public “covered up”. However, this weekend with the auto show, my husband was a bit more unsettled with many angles of “possible exposure and discomfort for others should they see...”

Although I was upset at my husband for caring about others when his main concern should be for his child, I looked for elsewhere to nurse. I decided that the restroom would be the only place away from prying and possible curious eyes.I must say, at least I had a seat to sit in. Now onto the experience. NO WOMAN nor CHILD....should EVER have to be shoved in a restroom to nurse. It was DISGUSTING!

*graphic now...look away!*I sat down, “covered up” and proceeded to allow my daughter to latch on at the same time someone had an explosion from their arse the sound resembling to a ballon deflating. You know the sound, “PFFFT”, but much louder. Along with this, kids running in and asking “what is she doing?” along with the “why?”. Top it all off, I had elderly women asking me why I “didn’t just give my baby a bottle and formula? So much easier.” Well, if my baby actually took a bottle without screaming the house down, I would but of course I just ignored them.

The last straw that broke the camels back, the cleaning crew is mopping the urine and God knows what from the back of the restroom to where I am sitting, WITH THE LOVELY PINE SOL smell.I have never been more upset that I had to nurse my child in a place as this. Even Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus offer lounges. Shoot...IKEA has a great loungeThis was one of the worst experiences! Saddest part was a soon to be mother seeing this and inquiring “do they not have a lounge? If not, I’m really going to think twice about breastfeeding!”.

I did walk around the garden and noticed many other moms NIP Covered up and wished I had done the same.Will most likely not come back during summer due to this and left no where to nurse. Garden, heat and covered up? Next someone will accuse me of suffocating my child!

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Lotta farting in the Reagan manse, huh?

My favorite Grim Yelp reviews are the kind where everything is just a massive disappointment, just disappointment atop disappointment ping-ponging off one another forever. Relatedly, the Reagan museum sounds like it’s crammed top to tails with weird shit:

The place was way overpriced for what it was. They had some movies going and a lot of personal belongings, such as a belt buckle for every day, but it wasn’t anything super fancy. It was kind of cool to see his oval office (which included some original pieces such as his chair, big whoop). Would probably be more interesting for someone going if they had an interest in riding horses or the Berlin wall. Very brief tour unless you really want to take the time to look at every little thing. Views from the outside are okay, just looking at some fancy homes. The place is well kept. I never made it to the library part because there weren’t really signs for it (all I saw was restrooms and the museum itself). Freakish Jelly Belly portrait of him under Air Force One. Would not be good for kids unless they have an interest in history. There’s nothing really engaging for them. I was also really put off by all the Christmas trees from every country. Really? And there was a special heroic slot for Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger who landed in the Hudson River. I’m not sure how to put this, but I was kind of disappointed to see his suit and everything in the heroes section. Yes, he did a fine job landing but I just thought it was out of place. Am I anti-American? Definitely not, but it just seemed odd. Along with the Christmas trees.

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Pretty grim! Until next time, just remember the Apocalypse, the Rapture, or, for the non-religious among us, just garden variety nuclear war, could be here at any moment. Don’t even worry about planning your next summer vacation.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.

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Image via AP, Grim Yelp logo by Jim Cooke