Answers In Genesis Ministry Runs Ark Encounter Attraction
Ark Encounter, Answers In Genesis
MRV: The Buzz
Truth Within A Timber Frame: Ark Encounter
Built In The Exact Dimensions Of Noah's Ark In The Bible And Created To Prove That The History Of The Bible Is True
Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, Noah's Ark was built according to the dimensions in the Bible. That's seven stories tall and a football field and a half long, the largest timber-frame structure in the world. It sounds larger than life, but could two of every species of animal really fit in a 510-foot long structure?
“One…the ark is absolutely massive. Second…if you look at the scriptures – Genesis 1 and 6 – where Noah brings animals onto the Ark, he makes an important statement over and over: 'To bring the animals on according to their kind,'” explains Eddie Lotz, Genesis' director of sales and promotions. “The animals aren't brought on according to species but by kind. Noah would have only brought two of every kind. How many kinds? Based on recent research, we only identified 1,500 ‘kinds’ of animals. Not only that, scripture also says to bring [not] two but seven of some. When you add all of that up…there's no more than 7,000 animals on that ark. There is definitely more than enough room for that.”
Located between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ark Encounter is operated by its parent ministry “Answers in Genesis”, a primarily polygenic ministry whose sole purpose is offering a reasoned defense for the faith. Around ten years ago, Answers in Genesis opened the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky to present that idea to the general public, so visitors could “see the history given in the scriptures for themselves.” The Ark Encounter is the “next step in that process.”
This ark is filled with small, medium and large cages full of life-size animal sculptures “that look more real than the actual kinds of animals [they portray]” and exhibits that show the reason for the flood, the affects of the flood, rock layers and how Noah may have cared for the animals. In this way, Ark Encounter allows guests to experience and understand how massive the Ark truly was and give credence to certain stories in The Bible.
Since the Ark opened in July of 2016, there have been visitors from all over the world including 30,000 visitors alone in the first several days. The large amount of guests is no surprise to Lotz. Ark Encounter was something the public has been pushing for since 2012, when the idea was announced and actually promoted by the State Government of Kentucky.
The Answers in Genesis ministry raised $32 million for the building of the Ark through private supporters and donations plus there was a $65 million bond offering as well. “Founder Ken Ham really has cast a vision of what this was to be,” explains Lotz. “Many supporters were captured by his vision and wanted to be a part of it.”
The immense Ark lives to implement and prove that the history of the Bible is true. In the words of the Answers in Genesis ministry, “If the flood is true [then] the gospel is true.” For them, that is the importance of the Ark. Of course, for the sake of reality, not everybody is open to the idea that the Ark actually existed, or that the Bible is accurate or real at all.
Lotz hopes skeptics will come to the Ark and see it for themselves, like skeptical scientist Bill Nye did when the Ark first opened.
Back in 2014, Nye had a debate with Ham, gaining millions of views on You Tube. Ham invited Nye to The Ark for a personal tour when it opened. Two film crews followed them through the Ark, capturing their discussions on the exhibits, on numbers and facts. But did the tour change Nye's opinions…his theories?
“No,” says Lotz, “but [the] seeds were planted…so that's good. [Both of our] starting points affect the way we look at the same data. Where Nye and Ham would differ is on their starting point and their authority [of the facts]. As a ministry, we begin with the truthfulness of God's word and look at the physical evidence and look at how it may fit with what he says. We find it all does. Nye - and some others - have a different starting point that says there is no God and all things happen by natural processes over millions of years. If you begin there, you are looking at the data in a very different way. Thereby, it will lead you to a different conclusion.”
Whether visitors come visit Ark Encounter with hope and curiosity or with that of skepticism, the Ark aims to entertain and inspire. Outside of the massive boat structure is a two-story 1,500 seat restaurant – Emzara's Kitchen – and a zoo with camel rides, donkey rides, a petting zoo, goats, kangaroos, emus, zebras, yaks and llamas. There's also zip-lining. And a step inside the Ark brings visitors into the story of Noah. It's up to visitors to decide for themselves if the story is just that, or if there is truth within the timber frame.
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia
has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among
others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.