Want to take the family on a biblical history journey while staying stateside? Well, pack your bags for the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY, where a full-scale rendition of Noah’s Ark recently opened.
This Ark replica is seven stories high and the length of a football field and a half. Located between Cincinnati, OH and Lexington, KY off I-75, The Ark is in a wide-open, peaceful space free of towering skyscrapers and the rush of city life. It was designed to help families relax and reconnect, while also experiencing the pages of the Bible like never before.
“We want to sweep guests away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and bring them to a large hill where the Ark dominates the landscape,’’ said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, which built the Ark Encounter. The Ark Encounter is owned and operated by Answers in Genesis, also known as AiG. The park’s first phase cost about $100 million.
So what can families expect from the Ark Encounter? Plenty.
• Built according to the dimensions given in the Bible, the Ark Encounter is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. It has 125,000 square feet.
• Figures, clothed in ancient style, represent Noah and his family. Pottery, tools, and other items are displayed to resemble what the family might have had on the Ark.
• Lighting in the Ark is designed to resemble oil-burning lamps or torches.
• Sculpture displays of animals mentioned in the Ark story from the Bible.
• Zip lines that are 17 stories in the air. Ten “super’’ zip lines are 1,000 feet or longer. (More lines are expected to be added over the coming months, pushing the Ark Encounter’s zip line course to be known as the largest in the Midwest. One line will run more than 2,000 feet as it stretches from near the Ark to the parking lot.)
• A two-story, 1,500-seat casual restaurant full of favorite foods, specialty sides, and diet-friendly dishes
• Dozens of world-class exhibits on the biblical story of Noah, the Ark, the animals and the flood
• Three bird sanctuaries and a butterfly exhibit
• Live animal shows
• A 500-seat, 5-D special effects theater
The project, which has been years in the making, was developed out of a desire to have millions across America and the world share in the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the website. Now that opening day is just around the corner, organizers are ready for the world to join them on an unforgettable journey to the past.
Tickets are $40 for adults, $28 for children and $31 for seniors. Children five and under are free. Parking is $10.
Because interest is expected to be high for the first 40 days, the park will have the following hours from July 7 – Aug. 15: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for daytime admission and five p.m. to midnight for evening admission.
After August 15, the standard park hours will be Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m. The park will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, according to the website.
To get to the Ark Encounter, visitors will park in a spacious, nearby parking lot, board themed buses and ride through a forested valley before coming into perfect view of a lake and the theme park.
The Ark replica is the largest timber-frame structure in America, according to the website.
But don’t just think the Ark Encounter is all the area has to offer. Next to theme park is the Ararat Ridge Zoo, which will feature zebras, llamas, alpacas, camels, Mediterranean donkeys, emus, yaks, sheep, and kangaroos. Camel and donkey rides will also be available. There will also be a petting zoo.
Noah’s Ark Lane
Williamstown, KY 41097