A Noah's Ark Amusement Park Has Been Green-Lit In Kentucky, Because Science Doesn't Always Win
Line up two by two, everybody: A Noah's Ark-themed amusement park is officially in the works in Kentucky. For this, we can thank the widely-publicized debate between Bill Nye the Science Guy and the park's creationist founder, Ken Ham, earlier this month. After all the attention from their creationism vs. evolution debate, Ham was able to secure a flood of funding for his 500-foot replica of Noah's Ark from sympathizing supporters.
The 800-acre Ark Encounter park in Kentucky is set to open for business in the summer of 2016, with groundbreaking scheduled to begin in May.
A little backstory: Ham is president of Answers In Genesis, a Christian ministry. He is also the founder of Kentucky's Creation Museum, which currently offers an exhibit on how Lucy the hominid ("the poster girl of human evolution") is connected to the Bible. His organization received $14.4 million in private donations to build the ark.
Its construction is expected to cost nearly $25 million, and the entire park's first phase alone will cost them more than $70 million. The project was first announced in 2010, but ground to a halt when money got tight.
According to Ham, the ark will be the country's largest timber-frame structure — we've always wanted one of those! Haven't you? — and the park will include a Biblical-era village, animal shows, and a Tower of Babel replica.
Sounds like a party. Oh, and the ark won't have real animals on board, only animatronic ones — so don't bring any of your pets for salvation.
Supporters claim the park will be an economic boon to Northern Kentucky. The mayor of Williamstown, where Ark Encounter is located, says it'll bring hundreds of jobs to the area. The park is expected to draw up to two million visitors per year.
And people are already willing to pay up for admission to the park. Ark Encounter's lifetime VIP passes — which cost up to $3,360 and include a construction hard hat and video package — have already sold out, according to its website.
In response to the project's newfound funding, Bill Nye said he's "heartbroken and sickened for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Looks like science lost this round.