A replica of Noah’s Ark opens in a biblical theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky. The Christian theme park called Ark Encounter opened to the public on July 7, with 8,000 people witnessing the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The opening date matches with the verse in Genesis 7:7 when Noah and his family entered the ark.

“We are so excited that the construction progress and schedule landed on this 7/7 date. Genesis 7:7 states that Noah and his family entered the Ark. So it’s fitting we allow the public to enter the life-size Ark on 7/7,” Creationist Ken Ham said in November when the opening date was first announced.

The vessel measures 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. It was constructed based on the specifications derived from the Bible. It took six years to build and costs $100 million. The theme park is an initiative of Ham’s Answers in Genesis ministry and the arc replica sits on an 800 acre-field.

“It is much more than you can ever imagine,” Ham stated. “When you see the architectural algorithms you need, engineering diagrams…and all the supporters, thousands upon thousands of supporters who financially made this possible…I mean it’s amazing.”

Ham said the park aims to teach creationism and promote the ministry’s view on evolutionism. “In a world that is becoming increasingly secularized and biased, it’s time for Christians to do something of this size and this magnitude,” he explained.

The Noah’s Ark representation features three decks of exhibits explaining Answers in Genesis’ views of the biblical flood account and life-size figures depicting what life on the ark might have been like for Noah and his family. Meanwhile, the park has a two-story restaurant, aerial zipline cables and the Ararat Ridge Zoo with goats, ponies, emus and more animals.

America’s Research Group estimated that the park could attract between 1.4 and 2.2 million people in the first year. The research also indicates more than 40 percent of those visitors may not even be Christians.

“Even if they don’t share our biblical view they can’t help but be impressed by the structure, the craftsmanship, the attention to detail in the world-class exhibits inside,” remarked Ham. “And – who knows? – maybe they’ll be challenged to even talk about the Bible as we do.”

Christianitydailycom. (2016). Christianity Daily. http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/8282/20160710/biblical-theme-park-ark-encounter-creationist-ken-ham-opens-kentucky.htm

Alexis weed, cnn. (2016). CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/07/us/noahs-ark-kentucky/

Charlotteobservercom. (2016). Charlotteobserver. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article88424192.html