Visiting the Ark Encounter | The Institute for Creation Research

Visiting the Ark Encounter

About 40 minutes south of Cincinnati, Ohio, an Ark of biblical dimensions sits atop a Kentucky hill near Interstate 75. Open for about a year now, the Ark Encounter—sponsored by Answers in Genesis—sees thousands of visitors every day. Is it worth the trip? And how can various news and blog pieces send polar opposite messages about the Ark’s economic impact to Kentucky? A recent visit gave me a chance to investigate.

After parking and purchasing tickets, rounds of bus trips carry visitors down a valley and up the next hill. Visitors gasp when the massive Ark comes into view. A short walk from the bus stop brings them to a shaded queue beneath the structure’s belly. Designers used a 20.4 inch cubit to measure out the 510 foot-long Ark—right in line with the biblical dimensions. Long ramps lead into the Ark itself, where the first displays consist of mock animal cages.

Still-life pterosaurs with folded wings greet newcomers. I overheard one lady say to her friend, “Wow, I never thought those would be on the ark, but I suppose they would!”

Many cages throughout the three decks illustrate extinct animal kinds that would have had representatives on the Ark. Larger kinds like tyrannosaurs and stegosaurs have smaller, juvenile representatives. All the animals look very realistic, and the displays are clean and clear.

Upper decks feature living quarters for the Ark’s eight human inhabitants, each of which can be spotted somewhere within the bulwark, frozen in their tasks of reading, cooking, tending, or feeding animals. Many displays feature practical solutions to questions like, “How could only eight people clean all these cages?” Angled waste chutes would have helped. Clearly, plenty of expertise went into the feasibility of life on the Ark. By the end of the tour, the message is clear: Noah’s family could have actually pulled off this task just as Genesis describes.

Has the Ark Encounter improved Kentucky’s economy? The Daily Independent recently wrote that the Ark visitors haven’t been spending their money on businesses in nearby Williamstown.1 Hotel tax receipts show increases, but they suggested probably not enough to justify the tax breaks the state surrendered to help make the Ark Encounter a reality.

At least one atheist blog asserts that the Ark has been a flop for Williamstown’s economy. Critics cherry-picked the “Snack Shack,” a privately owned food facility beside the Ark that experienced lower-than-expected business, to represent the supposed economic failing of the Ark Encounter.

I walked past the Snack Shack and saw nobody buying food. Why not? Frankly, it looked a bit uninviting. Plenty of folks dined at the pleasant indoor cafeteria right beside the ark, but who wants to eat a hot dog while standing in the hot sun? One cannot reasonably judge the economic impact of the Ark Encounter based on one small food business.

Level heads see the bigger picture. Mayor Jim Wells told Spectrum News that hotels in his city of Dry Ridge just north of the Ark Encounter have surged from a 60 percent occupancy rate before the Ark to a stellar 98 percent since. He said, “You can’t get a room in Dry Ridge, it’s impossible, and they’re booking out months in advance.”2 He expressed plans to add hotels, restaurants, and other attractions.

WCPO news in Cincinnati reported a huge rise in Northern Kentucky tourism in 2016, and attributed most of that to the Ark Encounter.3 When additional on-site attractions get completed, an even larger Bible theme park promises to draw even more visitors and their pocketbooks from across the nation and the world to Kentucky.4

Even as grumbling Bible-haters paint dark pictures of an economic flop for Kentucky, plenty of people visit the Ark and spend their money at nearby places to sleep and eat. Why do they keep coming? They probably come because they heard the Ark Encounter is impressive, inside and out. And the Ark appears to succeed in encouraging visitors to reconsider the historicity of Genesis, and thus of the whole Bible.

References

  1. IN OUR VIEW: Ark Encounter hasn’t spurred economy. The Daily Independent. Posted on dailyindependent.com June 8, 2017, accessed June 13, 2017.
  2. Weber, D. As one year anniversary approaches, Ark Encounter a boon for Dry Ridge hospitaility [sic] businesses, mayor says. Spectrum News. Posted on mycn2.com June 6, 2017, accessed June 13, 2017.
  3. Ashwell, V. Ark Encounter helped tide of Northern Kentucky tourism rise in 2016. WCPO. Posted on wcpo.com May 16, 2017, accessed June 13, 2017.
  4. Heller, K. A giant ark is just the start. These creationists have a bigger plan for recruiting new believers. The Washington Post. Posted on washingtonpost.com May 24, 2017, accessed June 13, 2017.

*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on June 19, 2017.

The Latest
NEWS
Florida Fossil Shows Porcupines Have Always Been Porcupines
The porcupine is an animal (rodent) that one does not soon forget. It is armed with formidable quills that deter even the hungriest predators. What...

NEWS
Webb Telescope Discovers Another Record-Breaking Galaxy
Astronomers using the James Webb Space Telescope have recently confirmed that two galaxies are extremely distant, with one becoming the new record holder...

CREATION PODCAST
The Power of Film & Video: Reaching All Ages with Truth | The...
Is there a place for the use of film and video within Christianity? If so, how can we leverage this powerful tool to reach viewers of all ages...

NEWS
Scaly Skin on a Feathered Dinosaur?
Fossil experts from University College Cork in Ireland took stunning images of Psittacosaurus skin. The dinosaurs’ belly shows patches of skin...

NEWS
T. rex Not as Smart as Thought
Have movies and most conventional paleontologists got it all wrong? T. rex and other theropod dinosaurs (the meat-eaters) are often portrayed as intelligent...

NEWS
June 2024 ICR Wallpaper
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV) ICR June...

NEWS
A “Just-so” Story About Ancient Genes
An evolutionary website recently published “a groundbreaking study” that supposedly identifies a basic, uncomplicated, “simple”...

CREATION PODCAST
Dinosaurs with Bird Brains??? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Evolutionists claim that birds are descended from dinosaurs. A feature that is often cited as linking these two types of creatures is the brain....

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
From Ruins to Revelation: Truths Revealed Through Biblical Archaeology...
The Bible is full of people and places that are seemingly lost to time, but through the field of archaeology, new finds are shedding light on the incredible...

NEWS
Bergmann’s Rule Falsely Refuted
A recent study of dinosaur sizes claims to break Bergmann’s rule.1 Bergmann’s rule was named after biologist Carl Bergmann, who...