Have you heard all the buzz about the new Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky? Have you seen the pictures of this life size replica of the ark, built to exact measurements of the ark from Noah’s day, and wanted to know what it’s all about so you can plan your visit? Some of The Ministry Mom family members were recently able to visit on a bright sunny day, and we gathered all of the pertinent information for you!!!!
The Ark Encounter is located just off of I-75 at exit number 154 in Kentucky, and head west off of the exit. It is very easy to get to and is quite an impressive sight as you pull in the front gates. There is ample parking, including handicap parking and parking large enough to accommodate motor homes and buses. Once parked, you are directed to the ticket windows to pay for the $10 parking fee and for your tickets.
The Ark Encounter is a sister attraction to the very popular Creation Museum, both of which were the dream of Dr. Ken Ham, a very brilliant and gifted Creation scientist! When visiting the Ark Encounter, you are given a few different ticket options to save you money if you would like to visit both attractions. Now, it should be noted that the Creation Museum is located in Florence, Kentucky, 45 minutes away from the Ark Encounter, so you will know how to plan timewise. For regular tickets to the Ark Encounter, all children under 5 are free, ages 5-12 are $28, adults are $40 and seniors (60+) are $31. There are other packages and combinations of ticket pricing that can be located here.
Once you have paid for your tickets you will board some very comfortable air conditioned shuttles and be driven to the ark and other surrounding amenities. There is opportunity once you get off of the shuttles to rent strollers, wheelchairs, and ECVs. If you paid for an annual membership, then you will get your membership card printed at the building where you are dropped off. It is at this building where you can buy your zip line tickets also!!! (We did not do this, but I am pretty sure it would be awesome to do so!)
Another thing that you simply MUST do (trust us on this one!), you must stop immediately at the Creative Kernels pavilion and get your freshly squeezed lemonade and kettle corn! Now, why they sell lemonade and kettle corn together is beyond me, but just go ahead and live on the wild side and get them both! They were AMAZING!!!!!!!! Our particular fav was the Brown Sugar and Molasses! Honestly, you just can’t go wrong though if you get the Sweet and Salty, too! I would have taken a picture of the kettle corn, but we were entirely too distracted eating it and moaning about how good it was to remember to get a picture!
As you proceed on to the Ark, the sheer magnitude of the structure will leave you in awe as you think about Noah and his sons building this in a day when there were no computer generated architectural renderings, electric tools, and heavy equipment to pull off such a monumental task! This was all done by hand. What a thought that God could use a willing man and his obedient sons to do something bigger then they were! What could we do for God and eternity if we were but willing to just trust Him and His plan for our lives?
Once you make it into the ark you thread through a maze that took us about 30 minutes to go through. They control the pace of the line entering into the ark due to a photo op as you go in. Photographers take your group picture and give you a card to check later for the opportunity to purchase them. I think I remember them being $30.
After all of the formalities you are finally into the ark and start the incredible journey through time to see how it could have possibly been for Noah and his family as they lived and worked for so long in the ark. It answers questions as to how they could have had the animals housed, their food and water stored and the living quarters for their families. There were displays with the answers to so many different questions such as the age of the earth, the ice age and evolution.
There were very very clear presentations of the Gospel and anyone that takes the time to read these would definitely be able to have an understanding of what Christ did on Calvary.
There were some displays that were life-sized well done mannequins that portrayed different areas in the ark. You will even enjoy a “talking” Noah that answers some of the questions you might have. Some displays were done with a television monitor and you learned through watching that in a little sitting area. I personally thought the sitting area was small and hard for very many to comfortably see the presentation. Some displays were done with big placards on the wall that you had to stand and read. These could be a bit difficult to see as we jockeyed around people to get a good view. I will say that we were there on a Saturday and it was super busy, so that might have had something to do with that! The wall placards were very very well done though and quite informative. Younger children might not enjoy these displays as much as others but the information was spot on! There were many cages with life-like animals in them portraying how all of the animals would have been housed in the ark. The bat house was a little too realistic for us!!! YIKES!
You proceed up each level of the ark on LLLOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGGGG (Really! They were VERY long!) ramps that you walk up to the next level. Just a heads up – wear walking shoes!!! You will thank us later for that tip! We observed a lady there that was quite fashion conscious in a 6 inch high pair of platform shoes!!! We are thinking she may have taken those babies off and thrown them in her purse later! Trust us! You will be doing lots of walking! They do have loads of benches all around for you to take a rest after walking each ramp to the next level.
As you go out of the Ark, there is a restaurant to grab some food. Here are copies of the pages of the menu so you can have an idea as to what they have and the prices.
Feeling adventurous? How about a ride on a donkey for $6, or better yet – a camel for $8?!?!?! They have this available if you are into that sort of thing! We were not. I was quite worried about the weight limit and would have been simply mortified if I got off and the camel’s hump was flattened! It would have been absolutely dreadful, so we didn’t take a chance! (Do camel’s humps have weight limits? We must do some research into this and get back to you!!!!)
The last area to explore was the Ararat Ridge Zoo. The cost for this is free. This was very clean and the animals had lots of room, although there are really not alot of animals. It appeared that they may not be done with this and possibly adding more animals in the future. There was a very nice large enclosed petting zoo area for the kids to go in and interact with the animals.
Make sure to stop in the Gift Shop area where you can buy freshly made fudge and also coffee and specialty drinks at a nice coffee shop. The Gift Shop was full of mementos, t shirts, and tons of things! There are also amazing reading materials that you will want to be sure and get for your personal library! Dr. Ham is a leading authority in the area of Creation science and has written curriculum and many books on various subjects. Looking back, there was really not much mention of Dr. Ham anywhere in the ark except the gift shop. I think it is wonderful that they are making all of his books and resources available to purchase in the bookstore, because there is such a scarce supply of good resources to correct the misinformation being fed to us through secular humanism in the school system and media.
There are many other things planned in the days ahead for the Ark Encounter. There will be a walled replica city like it would have been in the days of Noah. We were talking to one of the workers that shared with us that there will be a Brazilian steakhouse on the 4th level of the Ark that will be accessible via an elevator and available with reservations only.
You can read another blogpost about the Ark Encounter, written by our good friends Zack and India Werner. They give some other details we don’t cover, such as going to the Ark Encounter with toddlers.
The Ministry Mom family had an incredible time visiting the Ark Encounter, and we pray that many souls come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through this very well done, state of the art portion of the Bible brought to life! Visiting the Ark Encounter will definitely strengthen your faith and encourage you with an even greater understanding of the power of God’s saving grace to a sin-sick world!
Let us know in the comments if you have visited The Ark Encounter and what you thought, or ask any questions we may not have answered. Also, if you would PLEASE share this blogpost and get the word out about the Ark Encounter, we would appreciate it! We are praying many people go and hear the Good News of the Gospel and that Christians would be strengthened in their faith as they see in person this beautifully done reenactment of a picture of God’s grace!!!!0