Since the Holy Land is usually only open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most days, we were there for the opening on Saturday morning. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful architecture, even before you enter the park. (These were taken through a window as they line the streets before you pull in). It sets the stage for the experience within.
The outside of the park was also impressive and lovely to see.
The line wasn’t terribly long to get in, but quite a few people arrive throughout the day and many of the shows fill up pretty quickly, so you’ll want to grab a list of showtimes to plan your day.
Walking inside was enchanting. The attention to detail was so beautiful from the moment that you walk in the door.
We first went to the Smile of a Child Adventure.
There are tons of animals and, as you can see, even the ground is themed. There were a lot of cute photo ops at this first stop, including Zacheus in a tall tree.
Next, we visited the Jonah and the Whale, which was also part of the mini golf game. You walk right down the whale’s throat. There were sound effects and several animatronics inside. Bug enjoyed going around and looking closely at everything and watching the characters talk to him. You can walk right up and touch most of them. That octopus is a bit over 6 foot tall.
We walked around to look at the art around the other golfing spots. Most of the scenes are from different points in Jesus’ life and they all have plaques explaining the relevant scripture. There is also a fishing boat that the whole family can fit in for a fun, unique photo op.
Next it was off to Noah’s Ark, which has a scale ark that you can peek inside to see various scenes of animals and storage, as well as full sized art standups to add character to the ark structure.
The rest of the area had plenty of cool displays and activities, including a bean bag toss and a rock climbing wall.
One of my favorite spots was tucked back in the corner. It’s a replica of Gethsemane, where you can actually kneel in the rock and pray. It’s a nice place to stop and have a spiritual moment with God.
About that time, Bug and I were getting hungry, so we stopped at Esther’s.
There are lots of places to get snacks, meals, and refreshments. If you’d like to more about dining available at the Holy Land Experience, click here.
Throughout the grounds are several gorgeous “scenes” where live-action experiences are played out. Even when the shows aren’t in action, they are incredible to view.
I found it incredibly thoughtful that there were cleared spots in the greenery on the railing so that littles and wheelchairs could see through.
After site-seeing, Stephen suggested that we head to a show. The longer ones are held in the Church of All Nation, which is a huge auditorium with ample seating.
And thus began the second half of our day.