Church uses dinosaurs to teach kids creationism

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fascinated by dinosaurs, 5-year-old Leah Mitchell is on a discovery dig.

"I have a good time here and I love it here," said Leah, who's a Vacation Bible School student this week at First Baptist Church in downtown Jacksonville.

More than 1,600 children are part of the weeklong program that teaches creationism, a faith-based approach to the origin of the universe.

"Well, we are using Job 40 and 41. We are young creationists, so we're teaching the children that man and dinosaurs existed here on earth together as a part of God's creation," said Steve Clifton, executive pastor of education.

While learning about creationism, students had an opportunity to check out life-size replicas of dinosaurs, like one Albertosaurus that was 20 feet long.

"I love them because they look so huge and they look like they're real, but they're just skeletons," Leah said.

From dinosaurs to the solar system, VBS covers a range of topics from a Christian perspective that can be controversial because of differing scientific theories. The church is teaching children as young as 3.

"I think kids take away from this things that they're not getting in school, and that is the God element," volunteer Todd Howell said.

It's a hands-on history lesson the church says is Bible-based.