As I mentioned earlier I’m in Buenos Aires with some friends this weekend. Yesterday was our first full day, and over breakfast we were trying to decide what to do for the day.
We hopped on our phones to do some research, and came across a mention of a 60 foot plastic Jesus statue that rises every hour. That sounded so unique that I insisted it be at the top of our list of things to do. I didn’t realize at the time quite how fascinating this would be. I assumed it was just a lonely statue somewhere, but instead it was part of Tierra Santa, the world’s first religious theme park.
Once we plotted out our plan and got ready to go we decided to stop by the concierge desk for some reassurance — “Tierra Santa, any thoughts?” She tried to control her laughter and didn’t say anything. “So how long should we plan on spending there? Is there anything other than the 20 meter Jesus statue?” She shook her head and continued laughing. Now I was really curious.
So we took a taxi to Tierra Santa, which is located right next to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires, AEP. I don’t think there are words that can do justice to this place.
The outside (and for that matter inside) of the park is interestingly decorated with kitschy palm trees with everyone in “costume.” We first purchased our tickets for 60 Pesos each (~$12USD), and proceeded inside. We were given a Disney World style map, and as we walked in the park were approached by one of the workers. “Hurry, The Nativity show is starting, The Nativity show is starting.”
We headed into the theater, where I figured there would be a cast of actors. Here’s the description of The Nativity:
Tierra Santa is proud of offering visitors the biggest animated nativity in the world which can be seen by 400 people. This attraction has real size figures and an amazing show of light and sound It will undoubtedly be the favourite show of the families visiting the park.
And it was indeed… unique.
No fewer than two of the “real size figures” in this show had any sort of movements. And it wasn’t as much of a “show” as selectively shining the spotlight on certain parts of the stage to tell a story.
After this there was a bit of a disagreement in our group, as we tried to decide between doing The Creation or The Last Super next. We decided to stop for a glass of wine at the restaurant fittingly named Arca de Noe (Noah’s Arc).
In addition to that the park also had a place with waffles on a stick… I think?
After that we headed over to the next showing of The Last Supper. In the pamphlet this is described as follows:
For many visitors, this is the most touching show of the Park. The atmosphere of the place, with an incredibly real Jesus, sitting at the table with the twelve apostles, invites us to share the Last Supper. This show of light, sound and movement becomes a moment of devotion and spirituality for all visitors.
The use of lighting really did add to the experience, since there was very limited movement among the “real size figures.” That show only lasted for about five minutes.
After that it was off to The Creation, described as follows:
A magnificent show of images, light and sound based on a free interpretation of the biblical passage which describes the origin of life on the Earth. The light, the sky, the land, the water and all the living beings that inhabited the universe from the beginning of times are part of this incredible attraction that lasts 15 minutes and can be enjoyed by 170 people.
I think the key is the part of about “free interpretation” of The Bible. This was actually the most high budget show. Adam and Eve (who looked more like a guy with a blonde wig on than “Eve”) even made an appearance at the end, though I think Eve’s mechanics were a bit off, because only Adam turned a full 180 degrees.
After that we had almost 30 minutes to kill before The Resurrection, so we visited some of the non-show displays of the park.
This included Adam and Eve…
The raising of Lazarus…
The waterfalls of Jordan…
A sacred heart display…
A donkey and camel merry go round (which sadly was closed)…
Finally at 3:50PM it was time for The Resurrection, which was described as follows:
No matter where you are. In Tierra Santa you will always witness the appearance of an impressive 18 meter tall Jesus with 36 mechanical movements. The music, the special effects and the Jesus blessing everybody create the ideal atmosphere to live a magical experience in the Park.
We were seated in the “theater” to watch this, and this probably had the biggest crowd of all the attractions.
Here’s a video of The Resurrection I found on YouTube:
After that we walked up to the top of the park, which had nice views of the rest of the park and the water park next door.
So that’s how we spent about four hours of our day yesterday in Buenos Aires. If you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires and are looking for a unique experience, Tierra Santa is for you.
Has anyone else been? What did you think?
Well... I must say: people say that Church doesn't modernize. I guess this at least is a try :).
Next time I'm in BsAs, I'll be sure to go here, sounds awesome! Or should I say... intriguing.
The only thing better than an 18 foot Jesus being resurrected hourly in the middle of a religious theme park is an 18 foot Jesus being resurrected hourly in the middle of a religious theme park featuring Ghandi and belly dancers.
We watched The Beauty and The Beast play all in Spanish in BA, we knew the song and story but it is weird not understand the music, anyway we had a great time in BA and looking forward to go back there.
Tierra Santa is great. I was amused that the park embraces non-Christian role models, such as Mahatma Gandhi. The belly dancing show was also entertaining, first because I suspect that belly dancing was non-existent during the time of Jesus, and second, because the belly dancers were so lame. The park also, fortunately, serves alcohol, which makes the whole experience even more entertaining.
I read this and the thought that continued to come into my head was the episode of The Simpsons where Ned Flanders built a religious theme park.
wow! this is a new low... i feel so fortunate i will never visit this place.
Not to be missed, take a polo lesson. Guarenteed you will be able to ride the horse and hit the ball after an hour!
In terms of pure snark tourism, this is the best post ever!!
This is one of those things a blogger can do for fun because it can drive traffic and humor, but normal people would likely avoid.
I would spend 4 hours eating in La Cabrera, La Parolaccia,Las Cuartetas, and having icecream in Freddo or Persico rather than in a Jesus Park, but that's preference...
@lucky You obviously missed the show "religulous" by bill maher. He highlights Creation Museum and Holy Land. Watch that film when you can.
I pray to only one God! The God of Frequent Flier Miles!
No blog entry would be complete without pointing out the Creationist Museum sitting in America's heartland, which runs through the 7,000 years of the universe's history: http://creationmuseum.org/
About the last place I'd ever visit. Give it a few years the land will be sold for high rises.
So you're saying there is absolutely nothing worth seeing in BA? Are you going to rest up this afternoon in preparation for your visit to the Water Park tomorrow? :D
Whoops, you guys are right, thanks. Should have said world's first -- and not only -- religious theme park.
There's something similar to this is Orlando. The Holy Land Experience.
heheh okay..this is living proof why there should always be a separation of church and state. Thanks for the chuckle this morning Ben!
This sounds like it's second only to the Astronomical Clock in Prague's Old Town Square for most awesome tourist attraction that's totally worth seeing, EVAR.
"Tierra Santa, the world’s only religious theme park."
Ah, no. Never rule out Orlando when theme parks are concerned: http://www.holylandexperience.com/
The entire park looks like The Born Again Flintstones.
As for the 60 pesos entry, I could have jewed them down to 180 for four of you. It's in the bible.