In this file photo, Les Cheveldayoff portrays Jesus during a performance of the Crucifixion, as a somber audience watches at the Holy Land Experience, a Christian-themed attraction in Orlando, Florida, July 13, 2007. (Photo: John Raoux, ASSOCIATED PRESS)
ORLANDO, Fla. — A Bible-based theme park in Florida that closed its doors during the coronavirus pandemic plans to reopen to the public with free admission for two days in the upcoming week, though it’s future still remains uncertain.
The Holy Land Experience in Orlando will open its doors to the public Wednesday and Thursday, according to its owner, Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Face coverings will be required and social distancing encouraged.
Even before the pandemic, the theme park, which opened in 2001, had been struggling.
In January 2020, the Holy Land Experience announced it would be ending its stage shows and it laid off the bulk of its employees the next month in a corporate-wide reorganization, as it decided to shift from an entertainment to an educational focus, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
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Officials said the sale of the property was among the options to be considered. Nearby businesses include luxury auto dealerships, office plazas, convenience stores and apartment complexes.
Last year, the Sentinel reported that by continuing to display Biblical artifacts and manuscripts, the Holy Land Experience could continue benefiting from a tax break granted in 2006 that let it avoid paying property taxes. The deal also required the theme park to offer one free admission day a year. At that time, the park had saved more than $3 million in property taxes with that break, according to the Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office.
The theme park has a 2,000-seat church and in-person worship services have been held on the property during the pandemic.
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