August 6, 2010 | David F. Coppedge

God Forbid: Public School Field Trips to a Creation Zoo?

Is it legal?  Can a public school take kids to a creation zoo?  Environment reporter Michael Marshall at New Scientist just about had a fit when he heard that “A UK zoo that pushes a creationist message has been approved as a destination for school trips by the government.”  That could never happen in America, could it?
    That zoo, called the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, appears to be doing everything right; it earned a quality badge by the “Learning Outside the Classroom” program; its educational resources appear “absolutely fine” according to Marshall himself, it has lots of animals (including big ones like rhinos and giraffes), and it accepts school parties with kids of all ages.  But… creationism?  Marshall quoted the zoo’s website making this statement:

Darwinism has no explanation of how the atoms and all the laws of nature should just come to “be there”, no adequate theory of how life with its highly complex DNA suddenly appeared, and no evidence to show that single-celled life forms evolved into the much more complex forms of the later fossil record.  It also cannot explain how consciousness, instinct, free will, and sexual reproduction came into being.

Marshall retorted, “Life’s too short to go through and debunk all that,” pointing readers instead to an “Evolution Myths” page at New Scientist.  He also noted that in America, “education authorities” have balked at using AiG’s Creation Museum for field trips, handing that hot potato to local boards.
    Even though the kid-friendly Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm does not appear to be focused on promoting creation, the Noah story or even criticisms of evolution (see its news page), Michael Marshall began his short report with words that could only be described as mean-spirited: “Criticising a family-run zoo that introduces small children to the wonder of animals feels a bit like kicking a puppy – but in this case we might have to.

It’s fun to watch bigots go ape.

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