Thursday, May 10, 2007

Biblical theme parks

This post is not really on the subject of Bible illustration, but I thought this off-topic item might be of interest to some.

I recently came across Bruce Barry's website, 'Wacky World Studios' based in the U.S.
Wacky World Studios specialize in producing themed environments for children's churches. Bruce explains his mission here, I think basically the idea is to make children's church more of a stimulating environment for children to be in.
Dave Walkers cartoon above suggests that some youth groups might want to take the concept a step further! To see more of Dave's cartoons visit

I was reminded when viewing the 'wacky world' site of a similar type of work that I used to be involved in. Many years ago, before I started illustrating the Bible, part of my work was to produce concept art for theme parks worldwide. The two samples below were done for a proposed 'Bible theme' visitors centre.
The first one depicts the 'Parting of the Red Sea'. Visitors walk between two gigantic water screens that have movie images of pharaohs chariots and soldiers projected onto them. A larger than life model of Moses is stood on the rocks behind with the pillar of fire by his side.

The second picture shows a full scale model of Goliath that children try to knock down with a carefully aimed stone! There's a touch sensitive pad on Goliath's forehead which, when hit by a stone, causes the model to fall backwards onto the ground!. A boy can also be seen trying to lift Goliath's shield, (bottom right).
Unfortunately, both these ideas never got past the concept stage.

Bruce Barry's site also provides ready done Bible murals for church walls. (see 'Bible murals' in the link list). Speaking of murals, check out the mural that the children in our church worked on here.

Also recently found a link to some 'Biblical theme park' concept art for sale from the early 60's.
'Bible Storyland' was conceived by Disney Promoter Nat Winecoff and should have been built in California around 1960. Check out this early concept art here.

Update: 9 June 08
I've just come across another article about a new proposed Bible theme park for Tennessee here. I think you'll agree that the artists rendering of the 'Exodus experience' looks strangely familiar-!!
And before you ask, No! They never asked me if they could use the idea!