Today I paid a visit to the Ark Encounter, the sister attraction to the Creation Museum, and got to tour the massive structure. The Ark Encounter is located in a spacious field in Northern Kentucky. Maps put it in the city of Williamstown Kentucky, but there is nothing around it except fields and the highway. It is easy to find, so easy that no map or GPS is required, depending on the route you take. The cost is a bit more than the Creation Museum and you have to pay for parking, which is a bit of a turn-off. The parking lot is cavernous, so there is lots of space to park. The visitors to the park are from across the spectrum of Christianity, from Mennonite to Wesleyan, to Pentecostal, to Baptist. There is no denominational line at the Ark. The wait time for tickets is roughly twenty minutes so I would highly recommend if you choose to go, purchase tickets online and bypass the line. Once you have your tickets, a shuttle bus takes you up a hill to the Ark.
The Ark had three stories to it and is made almost completely from wood. It is the largest wood frame structure in the world. The line to reach the exhibits was another twenty-minute wait, but it is kept entertaining. The Ark has mastered the art of realism. While standing waiting to reach the first exhibits, sound effects play in the background at just the right intensity and volume to make you feel like you are on the Ark just as the flood began. Also, from the small animal cage props to the side, as seen below, sound effects such as would be made by small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles are played. The result is the feeling that you actually are on the Ark. First floor exhibits are fairly unremarkable, with some animal cages with representations of various kinds in them. Also, there is an explanation of why fish and insects were not on the ark and how Freshwater fish survived the flood. It is on the second floor that the Ark begins to shine.
Once on the second floor of the Ark, the content becomes more varied and makes the admission fee seem less expensive. One exhibit tells how God made everything perfect. The second shows how man threw away that perfection. This exhibit, while it takes some artistic liberties, is an excellent example of the depravity of man. There is also an explanation of kinds and why change within a kind is not evidence for evolution. An excellent display shows that the Ark could have been run with just 8 people, along with displaying some innovative feeding, cleaning and watering systems which would have made the estimated 850 animals per person much more viable. The second deck also features the door in the ark, and an over twenty-minute film called “The Noah Interview” which is funny, but accurate portrayal of how Christians are treated in the media today, but set in Noah’s day. The one thing this film struggles with is Noah almost appears indifferent to the skeptics around him at several points in the film, only becoming serious about their plight at the end. It’s a good film, but it could have been stronger.
Artistic License depiction of man’s wickedness before the flood, but it mirrors Molech worship in the Old Testament, down to child sacrifice and prostitution.
The third deck is just as delightful as the second deck, though there are more incidents of artistic license here than on the second deck. There is a depiction of the crew quarters and Noah’s family inhabiting those quarters which, while possible, is by no means provable by observational science or history. Also, Noah sons wives and his own wife are given names. Where those names came from, I have no idea. However, this deck also the most observational science oriented, with exhibits discussing the ice age, the burial and fossilization of organisms outside the ark, and the work of ancient man. There is also an exhibit dedicated to flood legends along with a map showing where they are found throughout the world. This deck also has an exhibit showing the movement of the Bible throughout the world. Part of this exhibit is a map showing groups of largely unreached people. Placed strategically in front of that large map is a mirror. There is a second film, this one twenty-five minutes long, called “As in the Days of Noah”. This one is essentially a modern spin on the film shown on the second floor, with largely the same actors, playing the same roles. Except this film is 100 times better. If you don’t have time to watch both, watch this one. It sets forth the Gospel clearly, and even leads the viewer to the decision, but does not reel in the line. That said, this is a much better film. The third deck concludes with a Chic track style Gospel presentation.
Partial map of flood legends.
There is more to the Ark than just the Ark itself, however. There is a fossil find area for kids, along with donkey and camel rides. There is also a small petting zoo area, and a tiny proper zoo with emus, ostriches and, of course, Australia’s beloved Kangaroos. The zoo is a bit disappointing, but the park map indicates there are plans to expand it.
Is the Ark Encounter worth going to? I would say the answer is a resounding yes. It is a full day’s trip. It took me nearly five hours to go through the full Ark and that was with me skimming a few things and it is more expensive than the Creation Museum. However, particularly if you have kids, it is well worth the money spent to influence them with a Biblical worldview. It was an excellent trip, one I do not regret making in the least. Fittingly, while driving the long trip home, I came across a rainbow and was able to quickly snap a photo of it before it vanished behind the treeline as I drove. A potent reminder of God’s promises.