After years of planning and months of anticipation, Answers in Genesis’ Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky opened to the public on July 7.
The life-size version of Noah’s Ark is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction that stands seven stories high and is 510 feet in length. Built according to the dimensions recorded in Genesis 6, it is the largest freestanding, timber-frame structure in the world.
“In a world that is becoming increasingly secularized and biased, it’s time for Christians to do something of this size and this magnitude,” commented Ark Encounter visionary Ken Ham, Founder, President, and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the popular Creation Museum.
"This ark project is a two-fold testimony to the world – both that God judges sin and that God saves sinners," added NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson.
Prior to the public grand opening on July 7, the Ark Encounter welcomed more than 8,300 VIP guests and 150 media representatives to the attraction in Williamstown, Ky., south of Cincinnati, Ohio.
An independent feasibility study by America’s Research Group (ARG) estimates between 1.4 million and 2.2 million individuals will visit within the first year. This same group predicted the Creation Museum would receive 400,000 visitors in its first year and 404,000 actually came within that timeframe. Strategically located off I-75, the Ark Encounter is a one-day drive from nearly two-thirds of the US population.
According to Ham, research indicates a large percentage – “maybe 40 percent or more” – of visitors will be non-Christian.
“People from all over the world have heard of Noah’s Ark,” Ham noted in a press release. “I believe you’re going to find all sorts of people from all walks of life with all sorts of religious backgrounds who are going to come here. And even if they don’t share our biblical view, they can’t help but be impressed by the structure, craftsmanship, and by the attention to detail of the world-class exhibits inside. And who knows? Maybe they’ll be challenged to even talk about the Bible.”
At the ribbon cutting ceremony on July 5, Ham reminded the crowd that the theme park is not just about entertainment, but also about presenting the Christian message. According to Ham’s ministry, the Ark Encounter was built to answer the most-asked questions about the account of Noah and to present the Gospel of Christ.
“The Ark is a reminder,” said Ham. “To remind generations of the truth of God’s Word. It’s our way of presenting this to the world.”
In addition to the full-scale Noah’s Ark with three decks, with more than 120,000 square feet of floor space, the Ark Experience theme park includes the Ararat Ridge Zoo, daily animal shows, zip lines, live entertainment, a 1,500-seat themed restaurant, and fair-trade shopping.
To accommodate the crowds expected within the first few weeks, the Ark will welcome visitors within the first “40 days and 40 nights” from 9 a.m. to midnight, after which hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $40 for adults, $31 for seniors, and $28 for children; parking is $10.
Tickets are available at ArkEncounter.com and at on-site ticket offices.
By NRB Staff
Published: July 14, 2016