Most people have no idea that Noah’s Ark actually could have been built to accomplish the tasks that God assigned to Noah,  and as described in Genesis. They would ask is it really possible that what the Bible says could have happened? Was there really a global Flood? Could the ark hold all those animals? While there are indeed many atheistic and theistic skeptics, there are also many biblical creationists who believe the Genesis story is historical narrative, not allegory or myth.

Recently my wife and I toured the Ark Encounter attraction in Williamstown, Kentucky with our children and our grand daughter. I have been to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky before, but this was my first visit  to the Ark Encounter, the vision of Answers in Genesis founder and CEO, Ken Ham. I have to say it was very impressive and photos fail to capture its true size!

View of the Ark Encounter structure 

God told Noah to build the ark 300 cubits long X 50 cubits wide X 30 cubits high. Using the Hebrew long cubit of 20.4 inches that resulted in a structure 510 feet long X 85 feet wide X 51 feet high. The Ark Encounter is a structure that is primarily an educational and evangelistic tool and definitely not a boat or ship. I believe that the resulting attraction does indeed serve well its intended purposes.

Keep in mind the following major differences between Noah’s Ark and the Ark Encounter:

1. Noah’s Ark was designed to protect human and animal passengers during the worldwide Flood. The Ark Encounter is a structure that looks like a ship, optimized for guest safety and educational experiences.

2. Noah’s Ark had living and working space for eight people and thousands of animals. The Ark Encounter has space and facilities for thousands of guests.

3. Noah’s Ark had enclosures to house thousands of animals (nearly 7,000 according to AiG interpretation) and the systems to care for them. The Ark Encounter has only a fraction of enclosures constructed and animals sculpted.

4. Noah’s Ark likely had practical short ramps near the bow and stern with steep inclines between floors. The Ark Encounter is designed with long ramps to accomodate guests and provide spectacular views of the structure.

5. Noah’s Ark probably had few lighted areas and portable lighting was often necessary. The Ark Encounter has light sources for high visibility throughout.

Entrance to the Ark is under the stern

Looking up to the top from inside the Ark

Long corridor through storage and animal enclosures

As with the Creation Museum, no corners were cut in its construction and the Ark  Encounter compares favorably with secular destination-type attractions in America. Here are the published costs for the Ark Encounter site and structure (volunteer labor was also utilized):

Plans: $4,000,000 – Site Excavation: $9,000,000 – Foundation, Piers & Slabs: $3,000,000 – Towers: $3,200,000 – Timber Preparation: 6,750,000 – Timber Construction: $6,000,000 – Interior Construction: $10,000,000 – Exhibits: $9,000,000.

The above items total to a cost of $50,950,000 for what is described as the largest timber framed building in the world.

Deck Layout for the Ark Encounter

Are there things for which I could criticize the attraction? Of course, but nothing that I believe deserves mention here. If you have not visited the Ark Encounter yet, I think you should certainly plan to do so in the near future.

For those Christians who have not visited any significant creationist-themed attractions here is my recommended “Bucket-List” for you, all good but ranked in order of value for reinforcing a Biblical Christian worldview:

1. The Ark Encounter, Williamstown, KY

2. The Creation Museum, Petersburg, KY

3. Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, Glendive, MT

4. Creation Evidence Museum, Glen Rose, TX

5. Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC

Above: Ark Encounter Shem’s Living Quarters & Woodshop Display

So, for anyone from age 5 to 105 the Ark Encounter is a valuable educational experience and definitely worth the effort to visit! Go see it soon. You will be glad you did.

J.D. Mitchell

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