For many people around the world, their first encounter with the concept of giant ships sailing the oceans didn’t come from experiencing a cruise or even watching The Love Boat, but rather from reading about a man in the Bible named Noah who built himself an ark.
Now, visitors to Williamstown, Kentucky can visit a life-sized recreation of that infamous vessel thanks to the work of co-founder and president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham – who will open what he calls Ark Encounter this July. Built at a cost of over $100 million, the ark – which stands nearly seven stories tall and spans the length of one-and-a-half football fields – will house a robotic Noah and recreations of the animals which his real-life counterpart so infamously gathered in sets of two. Among those creatures are those you’d expect to find – zebras and monkeys and chimps – as well as dinosaurs.
Wait… dinosaurs? On the ark?
A Young Earth
Ham is what is called a “young earther,” meaning that he believes God created the planet in seven days and that, as the planet is only 6,000 years old, man and dinosaurs co-existed.
While Ham and his crew have attempted to recreate their replica of the ark as accurately as possible – translating the Biblical measurements and constructing it from actual wood – their efforts have not been without controversy.
Help Wanted… Sort of
Anyone wanting to work on the project has been required to sign a “Statement of Faith” indicating that they are straight, anti-abortion, and Christian. These contractual requirements led to lawsuits being filed, especially given that the ark has received taxpayer funds. But a court ruled that to deny Answers in Genesis, the funds would be to deny them their First Amendment rights.
Although originally slated to house actual animals, the ark will instead play host to stuffed versions. And there will not be thousands or even hundreds of creatures represented, but more like 30. As Tim Chaffey, a rep for Answers in Genesis told the New York Times, “We have to have dozens and dozens of bathrooms for visitors. Noah didn’t have to account for that.” For more on the ark, including ticket pricing, click here.
Featured photo: Answers in Genesis