Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Lamar Smith Reflects On Kent's Hovind's Narrative Of His Grand Opening

Lamar Smith was not able to attend the grand opening of the Alabama post-prison version of Dinosaur Adventure Land, but he has been able to invest more lifespan in viewing Hovind videos than I have.  For reference, here is the report from DAL as narrated by Hovind.

And here is Lamar's analysis.


The opening of Kent Hovind’s Dinosaur Adventure Land 2.0 has come and gone. I was not in attendance but will share what I’ve managed to find.

Kent’s business model remains the same: pay for as close to nothing as you possibly can. He continues to record his evening sermons and post them on YouTube and his channel has about 82,000 subscribers today. 

His sermons begin by listing DAL’s material needs, in hopes that they’ll be donated, and ubiquitous calls for free labor to work as missionaries at DAL. He states very clearly that those missionaries will work on the property until guests show up and the missionaries are expected to quickly don their yellow tour-guide/missionary uniform shirt and attempt to “win their souls to Christ.” When the guests leave, off with the shirts and back to work........for no pay and no insurance. I’m actually curious whether the missionary even gets to keep the shirt if they stay long enough.

Kent also managed to secure, somehow, what he described as an entire 18-wheeler trailer of food. That was the only description he gave of it, though some of his videos discussed the need for a freezer for this food on the property but even he seemed uncertain on the videos of what, exactly, he’d be getting.

Kent thought the notion of giving away food in the economically disadvantaged area of Alabama in which he resides should be both a draw and increase local goodwill. 

Along these same lines, he’s advertised police appreciation efforts of different sorts for local law enforcement. These, too, could be genuine, on his part, or cynical gestures. I’m reminded of the scene in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ where local mobsters sponsored little league baseball for the children of local law enforcement culminating in scenes where hardened criminals and local cops cheer side by side for their children’s exploits on the field even during active investigations of the organized crimes in the city. The head gangster and his brother were dispatched by baseball bat in that film, if I recall correctly. Kent doesn’t have much appreciation for irony but, boy, I do.

So, what about the actual opening day? Well, Kent divulged in subsequent bible studies that around 250 people attended. It wasn’t until later the following week that he announced that the free food was finally gone.

His bible studies the following week were heavily slanted towards passages against being discouraged and to just keep forging ahead through disappointment. Kent also mentioned in those subsequent bible studies how small the group had become and how many people had left, though he didn’t specify exactly why and any endeavor that relies on, essentially, volunteers must expect constant fluctuations in staff.

The impression on someone who was not in attendance based on the material that was released was that the opening wasn’t quite as grand as the staff had hoped but still not inconsequential. DAL wasn’t able to give enough free food away in an economically disadvantaged area to exhaust the remainder of a trailer. 

The motivation and identification of the 250 people in attendance wasn’t accurately recorded. Who was there for the free food? Who was there for the “rides” and attractions? Who was there to get saved? How many were locals and how many had traveled?

On subsequent videos Kent accused some in attendance of being spies or working for the enemy. I don’t find that charge in the least ridiculous. I’d be surprised if there weren’t people there inimical to Kent’s cause although I don’t see how that makes them working for anyone but themselves. With Kent there’s almost always a conspiracy.

Given that DAL is geared towards families, the true test of its long-term viability will be this coming summer vacation season. Kent seems to adore that his new hometown has far less than 100 people in it or even 100 people within quite a few miles of him. The lack of lodgings and amenities may hurt DAL somewhat.

Both DAL and Ken Ham’s religious theme park in Kentucky promised to be boons to their local economies. Ham’s Ark encounter has not lived up to that promise though receiving many millions in tax breaks and incentives. Whatever boost Ham’s endeavor provided (locals interviewed are quoted as assessing its economic impact as “nothin! Not one thing! Buildings that were empty are still empty".) it’s difficult to imagine Kent’s much smaller in scope efforts will surpass Ham’s.

Kent has stated that he plans to “keep DAL free of admission as long as we can,” but is expecting to cover running costs with donations.  .  I had harbored ideas that Kent was rushing to open DAL to try to increase funds coming in so as to be able to pay the substantial amount he still owes. The manner in which he’s running it and the proven track record of other religious attractions certainly don’t jibe with a sizable influx of cash. 

Kent seems to have boosted his travel schedule of late and that may help to spread the word about DAL but it makes me wonder about what happens to attendance when he is not actually there.

Time will answer many of these questions even if Kent won’t.

Lamar Smith who has taught history in high school in Texas for twelve years is working his way into being a regular contributor to Your Tax Matters Partner.


  1. Thanks to Lamar for that analysis.

    I'm still hoping to hear more of Abigail's first hand, eye-witness accounts and interviews.

  2. Speaking of travel, Lamar, Kent mentioned last night that his May 25-27 performances at a Ukrainian church in California were in doubt and that they were to vote on it last night.

    I haven't heard how the vote turned out.

    I had no direct involvement in any local controversy the Ukrainians might have had with all of that. Kent announced he was looking for "backup" opportunities in California since he had already bought his tickets, and I am trying to help him find an alternative.