(Photo: Ark Encounter)
Developers of a biblical theme park in Kentucky said Tuesday they have raised over $3 million toward the building of its main attraction, a life-sized Noah's Ark.
"Just as God brought the animals to Noah by the appropriate time (Genesis 6:20), He’s providing the resources for this dynamic experience," read an announcement by Ark Encounter, which is behind the $150 million theme park of the same name.
The full-size, all-wood ark will be built using donations and cost $24.5 million. Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, known for the popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., is working in partnering with Ark Encounter LLC to build the attraction.
People can participate by donating $100 for a peg, $1,000 for a plank, or $5,000 for a beam to construct the ark.
Upon its completion, the structure modeled after biblical measurements of Noah's Ark will stretch 500 ft. across, 75 ft. wide and 45 ft. high.
Answers in Genesis teaches that the earth is 6,000 years old and that the Genesis flood carved out the Grand Canyon.
"The finished Ark will be a great testimony to the historicity of the Bible and will proclaim the gospel," stated Ark Encounter in its announcement.
Last week, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved more than $40 million in tax rebates for Ark Encounter.
The biblical theme park is expected to attract at least 1.2 million visitors in the first year, create 900 jobs in the state, and bring an expected impact of $119 million to the state over the next 10 years. The findings were based on a three-month study conducted by Hunden Strategic Partners.
To celebrate reaching its $3 million mark toward the ark construction, Ark Encounter launched a fresh website Tuesday. A new interactive map on the website provides more information and visual renditions of the theme park's eight major attractions, including Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel, and a walk through aviary.
The theme park recently garnered the support of a prominent evangelical leader, Dr. Johnny Hunt, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Hunt appears in a video endorsement for the project.
"I pray He'll use it to become a wonderful evangelistic outreach to our nations and yes, even to the nations of the world," he said.
The Ark Encounter will be located on 800 acres off I-75 in Williamsburg, Ky., just south of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Construction is projected to begin August 2011 and the park is schedule to open in the spring of 2014.