(Photo: Screengrab/Ark Encounter)
Kentucky aims to be a top tourist destination for all who want to experience biblical history through the eyes of Noah, Abraham and first-century Christians by way of the Ark Encounter, which is on schedule to open in 2014. The 160-acre complex will include a full-scale replica of Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel, and a first-century village, along with a theme ride that will take visitors through the 10 plagues of Egypt.
"The Ark Encounter is a chronological walk through biblical history, where people can experience the replica of the Tower of Babel, the life of Abraham, the 10 plagues of Egypt, and the birth of the nation of Israel," Mike Zovath, senior vice president and co-founder of the Ark Encounter, told The Christian Post on Monday. "The ride is not a thrill ride, it's a seven to 11 minute ride through the nation of Israel, where visitors will see the plagues portrayed."
The main attraction will be Noah's Ark, constructed entirely of wood, and based on the dimensions provided in Genesis 6 in the Bible, and once completed it's expected to be the largest timber-frame structure in the United States. According to Zovath, the ark will also depict the technology that Noah and his family are believed to have used on the ark.
Zovath noted that independent studies show "the ark is interesting to everybody, believers and nonbelievers alike," and he "wants everyone to know that the story of Noah's Ark is actually plausible."
The co-founder of the Williamstown, Ky., attraction describes his work on the Ark Encounter as a once in a lifetime opportunity, just as his work on the Creation Museum, situated a 45-minute drive away, was also a God-inspired once in a lifetime opportunity. He said he feels like God is part of their plan and their effort to teach the biblical position.
While both attractions are separate and distinct, they're also complementary, and are being promoted as joint-destinations for extended weekends or family vacations.
As the Ark Encounter is being built, the Creation Museum, a teaching ministry founded by evangelical Christian and creationism proponent Ken Ham, will also be undergoing an expansion to prepare for the expected increase in tourism at both locations.
In 2011, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear announced that the $150 million Ark Encounter theme park is expected to boost the state's local economy and create 900 jobs, 550 of those being full-time positions, and will bring an estimated 1.6 million tourists who will spend $250 million during the first year of the park's opening.
The Ark Encounter will also be one of the largest "green" construction projects in the country and will "include as much green technology as possible to have a positive environmental impact," Zovath said.
Anyone can also help build the ark by donating a peg, plank, or beam through their website, Ark Encounter.