Have you dreamed of visiting the Bible Lands only to find yourself underfunded? It happens to a lot of people, but there is an alternative for residents of the United States. An authentic, less expensive taste of Bible places exists near Atlanta – not so far away as the Eastern Mediterranean.
Last spring my wife and I took ten Jr. High/High School-age students to the Explorations in Antiquity Center in LaGrange, Georgia. I had previously blogged about this biblical archaeology museum in the U.S. Bible Belt, but this was my first visit.
I was not disappointed. We spent more than 3 enjoyable hours at the museum. Our group learned a lot and had a delicious, all-you-can-eat “biblical” lunch to boot.
The central attraction is an archaeological garden with realistic replicas of ancient discoveries such as altars, wall & gate fortifications, tombs, an olive press, and other Bible-related structures. You can arrange a la carte activities such as bread making (make it, bake it, eat it in traditional Bedouin style), a kid’s dig area (excavate for artifacts!) the “biblical meal” at lunchtime and a “Time Tunnel” showcasing various worship sites between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 500. You can also arrange for various biblical presentations/lectures on and off site.
Our group enjoyed the archaeological gardens tour and added the “biblical meal” experience. The guide’s explanations in the archaeological gardens were generally good and the meal afterward was quite delicious! We dined 1st-century style, without utensils. (The room is not designed for people to actually “recline” at the table. That reenactment generally does not go well.)
Here are a few photos from our experience. (Apologies in advance for the shadows in some photos. It was just that time of day.)
Its location is not where you would expect, amid small corporate office parks, but I had no trouble finding the museum. I printed the directions/map from the web site.
The center requests donations toward a building that will eventually house artifacts on loan from Israel. I believe that will be a good addition to an already-excellent experience.