The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, two entities known for advancing a Young Earth creationist perspective on life’s origins, will be reopening on June 8 after having closed down in March.
Answers in Genesis, the apologetics ministry behind the two entities, announced Wednesday that they would be reopening on the same date as many other museums and outdoor attractions.
Ken Ham, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, told The Christian Post on Thursday that he could not “overstate how challenging it’s been after the state ordered facilities like ours to shut down.”
“A major source of income at AiG has been the revenue generated at our two attractions, and that money has simply disappeared. Sadly, we had to temporarily lay off 800 staff — full-time, seasonal, and part-time,” said Ham.
“The shutdown has had a major impact on them and their families. While it’s been a devastating time, we now rejoice in being able to reopen June 8.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday that entities like libraries, museums, zoos, and distilleries can open on June 8 at a third of their normal capacity. Gyms and movie theaters can open on June 1.
Answers in Genesis plans to follow social distancing guidelines, with their announcement noting information on measures that they are undertaking to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading at the site when crowds return.
These include increased cleaning of the facilities by housekeeping; staff wearing masks and other Personal Protective Equipment, as well as strongly encouraging visitors to do the same per Kentucky guidelines; having all staff members undergo a health screening, which includes a temperature check, before the day begins; and encouraging patrons to purchase tickets online.
“However, if you need to purchase tickets at the Ark Encounter [instead of online], we’ve implemented new procedures to ensure guest safety,” noted an entry on the Ark Encounter website.
“One guest per party will wait, with appropriate social distancing, in the ticketing queue line. Touchless and tap options for payment will be available at each ticketing station if desired.”
Ham noted that the Creation Museum will have a newly renovated $1.3 million Stargazer Planetarium that includes a laser projection system. The renovation, which comes after over a decade of being in use, began late last year to update the technology, improve acoustics and install a new dome.
Later in the summer, scheduled for late July, a new “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” pro-life exhibit dealing with the abortion issue will also be opened, according to Ham.
As of Tuesday, there were at least 8,069 coronavirus cases in Kentucky and 366 Kentuckians have died due to the disease.