In its first year, a modern-day Noah’s ark has drawn more than a million visitors into northern Kentucky to look at the life-size replica of the biblical boat. The Ark Encounter theme park will celebrate its first anniversary on July 7.
Photo from ArkEncounter.com
“We’ve had an excellent first year attendance,” said Mark Loy, spokesman for Answers in Genesis, the company that built the 510-foot ark only a few miles from its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, which just turned 10 years old.
“We’re predicting that the second year will be perhaps much higher than the first, approaching perhaps 2 million people.”
The economic impact of the ark and the museum led the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau to award Answers in Genesis the Star of Tourism Award this year. The ark’s first year economic impact is estimated to be around $200 million.
“What strikes me as I walk through the parking lots of both attractions is that about 95 percent of the vehicles have out of state license plates,” said Ken Ham, head of Answers in Genesis.
“On a given day,” he noted, “more than 10,000 guests will visit one of our attractions.”
The ark has three decks of exhibits in more than 120,000 square feet. The theme park also includes the Ararat Ridge Zoo, zip lines, live entertainment, a 1,500-seat theme restaurant and shopping.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Tom Latek is the capitol correspondent for Kentucky Today, a news resource of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)