Field Excursions: Noah’s Ark replica to open in Kentucky

Authored By Jenni Frankenberg Veal

A theme park of biblical proportions is under construction in a small Kentucky town: A life-size replica of Noah’s Ark is nearing completion in Williamstown as part of a historical-themed attraction called Ark Encounter that opens July 7.

Situated on 800 acres, Ark Encounter is a massive biblical museum that aims to interpret the mystery of Noah’s Ark and the worldwide flood, which Bible historians estimate occurred between 2500 B.C. and 2300 B.C.

The full-scale ark is built according to dimensions outlined in Genesis 6 of the Bible: 300-by-50-by-30 cubits, which equates to 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, with a volume of about 2.21 million cubic feet.

“Ark Encounter will help answer common questions people ask about Noah’s Ark and the flood from a biblical and scientific perspective,” Ark Encounter co-founder/Chief Communications Office Mark Looy said.

The growing theme park currently includes a zoo, restaurant and several zip line courses, created and installed by the owners of Historic Banning Mills in Whitesburg, Georgia.

The Ararat Ridge Zoo, located next to the ark, features animals on exhibit from around the world: Tibetan yaks, kangaroos, alpacas, ostriches, emus, donkeys, zebras, llamas, sheep and goats.

According to Looy, future plans at the park include a replica of a walled city from 2300 B.C., the Tower of Babel, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a journey through history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, and a walk-through aviary.

There are only two other full-size ark replicas in the world, Looy said. One is a ship in the Netherlands and the other is a concrete structure in Hong Kong.

“We’ve had journalists from all over the world recently visit Ark Encounter,” Looy said. “Once it opens, the ark will be on the cultural radar around the world.”

In anticipation of large crowds, Ark Encounter will open July 7 for 40 days and 40 nights in reference to the duration of rain on earth described in Genesis 7:12. During this time, visitors can tour the ark during the day (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and at night (5 p.m. to midnight). Normal hours of operation begin Aug. 15. Ticket prices are $40 for adults, $28 for children and $31 for seniors. Parking is $10.

To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit the Ark Encounter website.

Jenni Veal enjoys exploring and adventuring with her family in the great outdoors. Visit her travel website to learn more about outdoor family travel adventures in the United States. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.