Thursday, June 8, 2017
Ark Encounter- Williamtown, Kentucky
Remember when I went to the Creation Museum some time ago? Well, I was able to visit that museum's newer sibling, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown Kentucky.
You probably know that this Christian museum/theme park takes a VERY literal look at the Bible. They have built this Ark replica to the most exact specification that they can and there are many exhibits devoted to creationism.
As I said before, there are many web sites set up to debate the merits of a museum like this, and this blog is not one of them. I do want to say that we went to the Ark Encounter with several friends- some in the group agree with the museum's beliefs, while some in the group do not. Everyone in our group enjoyed visiting the museum.
We arrived a little after the scheduled opening time on a recent Saturday. There were already lots of cars in the parking lot. Crowds were lingering around the area where you buy tickets. There were many large groups (I assume church groups) here and there. We could see the Ark from a distance at this point.
We bought our tickets and were given blue bracelets. From there, we quickly got onto a bus. Busses seemed to be pulling up and leaving all the time. The busses drove a relatively short distance to the area where the Ark Encounter actually was. The whole process (parking, buying our tickets, the bus ride to the Ark) lasted maybe 15 minutes. I did think that it might have been more efficient all around to simply put the parking lot closer to the Ark. The whole bus shuttling thing seemed a little unnecessary, though it did help with building up some excitement as you got closer to the Ark, and grasped how big the thing is.
You are dropped off at the Ark, but there is still a short walk ahead of you before actually entering the Encounter. Once you enter, you are directed through a snake line area that ends at a green screen photo area. They weren't pushy about making people pose for the photo, which was good, BUT, its still a green screen photo, which I think is terrible. Set up some sort of photo area outside of the Ark, or take a photo with some of the cool animal props..... Anyone can photoshop themselves into a picture these days.
After you get moving on the huge building/boat, things feel a bit overwhelming. The place is massive, and there is a lot going on. There are beautifully made fake animals in cages, as Noah might have had them on his original. Along the various floors there are MANY side rooms/displays on Biblical topics, including the age of the Earth, evolution, the Ark of the Covenant, etc. There are more fake animals. There are impressive high quality wax museum style rooms showing how those on Noah's Ark would have lived, grown food, and kept records.
The last main area we went through was very museum like, and several ancient Bibles were on display.
There is a long ramp in the middle of the Ark that connects all of the floors. This ramp seems to go on forever. After you explore the top area of the museum, you can go back to the bottom and exit trough the gift shop.
The gift shop is huge and well stocked. There are several places to get snacks, including a coffee shop and a fudge shop. There is a fair trade area with lots of hand made pieces of art. A man was painting animal statues the day we were there. There were lots of books, postcards, shirts, etc.
After leaving the gift shop, you notice a nice big restaurant. We decided to have a very late lunch there.
There is a huge buffet, that was delicious and rich. We enjoyed our meals, but I would not recommend this place if you are on a diet.
After our meal, we walked towards the petting zoo area. Here we saw lamas, emu, and other critters. A crowd gathered around an area where a mother kangaroo walked around, with her baby peaking out of her pouch.
Also in the zoo area were camels and camel rides were available. A line formed and, for a few dollars, you could give it a try!
We started our walk back to the bus area to ride back to the parking lot. We realized that we had spent a solid 5 hours at the Ark Encounter. We are an efficient group that doesn't linger. We moved fast, and we all walk quickly. If I were going to guess how much time we used up before looking at my watch, I would have guessed 3 hours tops. It is easy to forget time here.
Again, busses were constantly going back and forth, and we were able to get right onto one as we finished up at the Ark Encounter. Within 5 minutes or so, we were back to our car.