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NEWS: Ark Encounter theme park set for Northern Kentucky


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The Ark Encounter to Open July 2016

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/arkencounter/2015/11/11/answers-genesis-ark-encounter-opening-date-announcement-coming-thursday/75586608/

 

"WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. - The organization building a life-sized replica of Noah's ark here in rural Grant County announced Thursday morning that it will be opening on July 7, 2016.

 

Answers in Genesis, which also built and operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., scheduled the opening date as a reference to Genesis 7:7, which reads, "And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood."

 

The $92 million project, all covered with private money, loans and advance ticket sales, has had its ups and downs, but the structure - which will be 510 feet long, 50 feet tall and 85 feet wide - is well underway. Construction on the outer part is set to finish this month before the winter hits, allowing for the exhibits to be built inside. The ark will be the largest wood timber structure in the world when completed."It's rare that a conservative Christian organization would try to create a world-class attraction such as this, but that's exactly what we think we have here," said Answers in Genesis co-founder and chief executive officer Ken Ham.

 

Presale tickets will be available starting on Jan. 19, and there will be separate day and night sessions for 40 days after the grand opening to meet the anticipated demand in the first months afterward.

Animals, furniture and other objects are being made in a warehouse in Hebron for a 510-foot-long replica of Noah's Ark that is being in Williamstown, Ky. The Enquirer/Cara Owsley

 

The concept has faced its share of obstacles and controversy. The state of Kentucky initially promised $18 million in tax incentives, but then backed out of that deal over concerns that AIG will discriminate against non-Christians in its hiring practices.

 

That spurred a lawsuit that is still awaiting a judge's decision.Grant County and Williamstown combined to create tax incentives, giving the ark a 75 percent rebate on any new tax dollars created by the development. Still, the two entities would get more than $60,000 in new tax revenues annually from the ark, which sits on nearly 900 acres of former farmland.

 

AIG also plans to expand the park over the next 5-10 years to include a replica of the Tower of Babel as well as a water-based tour through the history of the Bible."

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  • 3 months later...

This past Saturday, they held a construction tour through the ship which various media from around the city and a couple from out (even a reporter from Toronto!) were in attendance. The paper I work for did a report on it and I did video and photos for the article. The video includes an interview with the founder of this project and the Creation Museum.

 

Edit: Here's the article:

A life-size replica of Noah’s Ark that is being built in Grant County is on track to open July 7, its founder said Saturday.

 

Ken Ham, president and chief executive officer of Answers in Genesis, which is building the tourist attraction, gave a group of journalists a first peek inside the ark Saturday.

 

The massive wooden structure is the centerpiece of a $100 million park called Ark Encounter. It is built according to the measurements given in the Bible — 560 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. It sits 15 feet off the ground and is anchored by attached towers that house elevators, stairwells and restrooms.

 

“We had to do a lot of things for code that I’m sure Noah didn’t have to do,” Ham said with a grin.

 

A 2,100-seat restaurant will be built nearby, and another restaurant will be developed on the ark’s top deck. The lower deck will feature a gift shop. While animals are being sculpted to go inside the ark, there will be a petting zoo outside. Shuttles will transport visitors from a 4,000-space parking lot to the 200,000-square foot ark.

 

Aside from being the weekend closest to the Independence Day holiday, the date 7/7 is significant, Ham said, because Genesis 7:7 describes Noah and his family entering the ark. He said the structure is about 60 percent complete, and he believes it will be ready by then.

 

Inside the ark, 132 bays, or room-size nooks built along the walls, will house exhibits on a range of topics related to the flood and depict what the inside of the ark might have looked like. Wooden cages have already been brought in to showcase the sculpted animals, and bays are labeled with names such as “Shem’s Bedroom” and “Noah’s Kitchen.” Electric lights are being tested that are made to look like oil lamps. “I would say they’re going to be working on exhibits up until one hour before opening,” Ham said. After the ark is finished, Ham said a replica of an ancient “walled city” will be built adjacent to it. The idea is to represent civilization before the flood, including “Noah’s house.” Ham said 200 acres of the 800-acre property have been permitted for development in future phases.

 

Attractions planned for the site include a “first century village” depicting life at the time of Christ, a “Tower of Babel” and a zipline course.

 

Tickets went on sale online in January, and Ham said “thousands” have sold so far. He said he’s hearing that local hotels “are already booked out for the week of opening.” Projections estimate at least 1.4 million visitors a year, Ham said, though a separate economic impact study estimated just under 500,000 visitors in the first year. “This is going to get far more people than the Creation Museum,” he said. Ham said he believes the park will be “a worldwide attraction” that will attract Christians and non-Christians alike.

 

While Ham said dinosaurs will be among the animals represented on the ark, that is not as much of a focus as it is at the Creation Museum. “This has a different sort of emphasis,” he said, “answering questions people have about the ark and the feasibility of it.” He said a host of craftsmen has been working on the project, from seamstresses making clothing for Noah and his family to woodworkers building working wooden carts. “People are going to be fascinated by just the detail that has gone into all these,” Ham said. “They’re exquisite.” He said a wooden ramp will be built leading up to the ark, and he envisions parades going up into it “just like you (see) at Disney,” only with characters portraying animals and Noah’s family.

 

A journalist on the media tour asked Ham about his belief in the biblical story of Noah as a historical event, in contrast to scholarship that views it as a work of Hebrew literature not intended to be read literally. “Jesus referred to Noah,” Ham responded. “He’s referred to as a real person and a man of great faith.” He said modern scholars who do not agree “have a particular view … and they’re imposing it on Scripture. It would come down to two different approaches to Scripture.”

 

A federal judge ruled last month that the state violated the First Amendment rights of the developers of Ark Encounter when it blocked them from tourism tax incentives that could allow the park to receive up to $18 million in sales tax rebates. Ham said the incentives have not been approved, but he said the judge’s ruling paves the way for that to happen. Critics have questioned the employment practices the facility will follow. Ham said guidelines for employees of Ark Encounter are still being finalized but “will be different than Answers in Genesis.” “We will definitely have certain things for people to adhere to,” he said.

 

Despite criticism and legal wrangling, Ham said the project has gone “quite smoothly” overall. “Most of the scoffers and those that are criticizing us, they’re from a small group,” Ham said. “They’re in the minority.”

 

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article61547932.html#storylink=cpy

 

Basically, the structure alone is huge and really well crafted. The site itself is very wide open, much like Holiday World, with plenty of room for expansion. They have the giant parking lot built, and the ark itself is about 100+ feet or so away in length from being completed. The tour went too fast for me to pull my phone out for pics as well as shoot video, so sorry i couldn't get enough to do a good TR (I was technically working ), but I was able to get a couple pics in.

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Still set to open on July 7th.

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  • 2 months later...

The Holy Land Experience in Orlando had its opposition when it first opened too... Now it kind of exists only in the eyes of those that care to visit. Its presence doesn't negatively impact the city or the rest of the nearby attractions. It merely exists. This is exactly how I expect Ark Encounter to end up "blending in" to Kentucky.

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The Holy Land Experience in Orlando had its opposition when it first opened too... Now it kind of exists only in the eyes of those that care to visit. Its presence doesn't negatively impact the city or the rest of the nearby attractions. It merely exists. This is exactly how I expect Ark Encounter to end up "blending in" to Kentucky.

 

I agree Adam.

 

I'll never go because I'm against their hiring policies, but I'm sure there's enough people out there who'll support it for 'faith' reasons, or at least be curious enough to check it out once, that it'll do okay.

 

I kind of doubt they'll make enough to expand as much as they want to, but the Creation Museum is still operating, and this will probably do similar business.

 

Not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

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  • 1 month later...
So when I visit this park, I'm supposed to assume two penguins wobbled all the way from Antarctica through desserts and into the Middle East to walk onto an ark built by a 500 year old man? Got it.

Yes. No dessert is too far to travel for. Penguins heard about chocolate mousse in Turkey and were like, "Damn, bro, we GOT to go."

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So when I visit this park, I'm supposed to assume two penguins wobbled all the way from Antarctica through desserts and into the Middle East to walk onto an ark built by a 500 year old man? Got it.

Yes. No dessert is too far to travel for. Penguins heard about chocolate mousse in Turkey and were like, "Damn, bro, we GOT to go."

 

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