WILLIAMSTOWN, KY — For centuries explorers have looked for Noah’s Ark on the mountains of Ararat in the country of Turkey. But in the rolling countryside of northern Kentucky one may find the Ark Encounter built by Answers in Genesis. The Ark Encounter is a replica of Noah’s seaworthy vessel, which stands seven stories high and is over one-and-a-half football fields long.
The Ark Encounter is designed to be family oriented, historically authentic, and environmentally friendly. Included in the experience are the Ararat Ridge Zoo, daily animal shows, zip lines, an extensive interactive children’s area, live entertainment, a themed restaurant, and shopping including many fair-trade items.
The Ark is based on the dimensions recorded in the Bible (Genesis 6) and was designed in accordance with sound established nautical engineering practices of the biblical era. In addition to getting help from Amish workers using their impressive woodworking skills, construction workers, both Amish and non-Amish, used a variety of modern-day techniques and tools to build this enormous ship.
America’s next big tourist attraction
The Ark Encounter will be America’s next big tourist attraction when all phases are complete. Phase one, including the life size Ark and zoo, opened July 7.
Through the construction of a massive full-scale Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter presents America and other nations with a reminder of the Bible’s account of the Ark and the faithfulness of Noah. Many of the talented team members who built the high tech, family-friendly Creation Museum 45 minutes away were also on board for the Ark Encounter.
Additional future phases for the attraction include a Walled City, the Tower of Babel, a first century Middle Eastern village, and a journey in history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, a walk-through aviary, and more. This new attraction, within a one-day drive of almost two-thirds of America’s population, is positioned to become a destination that will capture the world’s attention with an estimated yearly attendance of 1.4 million to 2.2 million visitors.
Discover more at ArkEncounter.com (e.g., photos and videos of the construction, including drone footage).
My wife and I had the opportunity to be at the ribbon cutting on July 5th. Recognizing, intellectually, how big this ark would be did not prepare me for how massive it is. I hope these pictures inspire you to go and see this phenomenon for yourself.
The Ark Encounter is more than a tourist attraction, though. It is a professionally prepared, theologically accurate, excellently conceived presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the ribbon cutting ceremony the boards of the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter laid 12 stones, “as a memorial to what God has done.”
In that vein, I offered the following prayer for this Ark Encounter project. “Father, we humbly bow before You this day, acknowledging that You supplied the ark for Noah and his family to save them, and in the same way, You supplied the Ark of Your Son, to save us. Oh Lord, cause men and women and boys and girls from all over this world to not only experience an encounter with the Ark in Kentucky, but with The Ark, Your Son, in their lives. We praise You that we are now in Jesus Christ, the Ark of safety.”
Some quick facts about the Ark Encounter project
The Ark Encounter is located on a beautiful piece of property off one of the busiest interstates in America (I-75) at an interchange just 40 minutes south of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, and 40 minutes north of Lexington, KY (and 45 minutes from the Creation Museum). About 190 million Americans live within 650 miles.
Phase one includes the life-size, 510-foot-long Ark, a lake, Ararat Ridge Zoo (including a petting zoo), 1,500-seat restaurant, gift store under the Ark, queue-line garden next to the Ark, and 900-seat animals and actors’ theater/multi-purpose room.
Future phases will include a pre-Flood walled city, the Tower of Babel, and other attractions.
The Ark is the largest freestanding timber-frame building in the world. The Radiata pine used in parts of the Ark was harvested in New Zealand, shipped all the way to The Netherlands for the acetylation process, transported to North Carolina for milling, and then shipped to the Ark site for installation. The distance from the ground level to the top of the bow is 104 feet.
Interestingly, 3.1 million board feet of timber was used for the Ark structure (not counting the wood in the exhibits). In board feet that would be 612 miles, the distance between Williamstown, KY and Philadelphia, PA.
Exhibits inside the Ark
The Ark’s 132 exhibit bays will house world-class exhibits. They will feature distinctively Christian teaching, tastefully presented and all done in a first-class entertaining and educational way.
Patrick Marsh (vice president of Design Attractions at Answers in Genesis) is the creative genius behind the incredible exhibits of the Creation Museum and led the exhibit design for the Ark. He is a world-renowned art director whose designs include the popular Jaws and King Kong attractions at Universal Studios in Florida. He has worked at other theme parks around the world.
Some visitors to the Ark have described it as one of the new “modern wonders of the world” and have said it has major international appeal. AiG anticipates an increasing number of religious bus tours that will include the huge Museum of the Bible (under construction in Washington, D.C.) and the popular Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA.