WILLIAMSTOWN, Kentucky – There’s an ark being built in Kentucky but it’s not for a flood, it’s for profit. Kentucky’s Bible-themed theme park is set to debut its $100 million life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark this summer.
Ark Encounter — a sister attraction to the nearby Creation Museum — released footage of the under-construction boat in landlocked Williamstown ahead of its July 7 grand opening.
The flyover video showed teams working on the 510-foot ark, which the park claims to be the biggest timber-frame construction in the U.S. The ark-centered theme park will also boast a petting zoo full of live animals and sculptures of exotic creatures not native to Kentucky, CBS News reported.
But the creators aren’t preparing for a real flood; the wooden vessel can’t float as it’s anchored to a cement base.
The religious attraction has faced an onslaught of criticism ahead of its summer debut. While hiring for the grand opening, Ark Encounter announced it would require all park employees to be Christian — and sign a “statement of faith” avowing their beliefs. Critics slammed the religious hiring process as a violation of the separation of church and state since the park enjoys state tax breaks.
Ken Ham — president of Answers in Genesis, the religious group behind both the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter — insisted that the soon-to-open ark is being built through private funding.
“We are an overtly Christian organization — we don’t hide that fact,” he told CBS. “What we’re doing in using our religious preference is saying that people who work at Ark Encounter will need to testify that they’re Christian.”
The Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, about 40 miles north of Williamstown, in 2007. Answers in Genesis announced its plan to open the ark sister site in 2010.
Tickets to the ark alone will cost $40 for adults, while kids get in for $28. Combo-passes for Ark Adventure and the Creation Museum range between $60 and $45.
The fellow building this thing can kill two birds with one stone: make a lot of money and proselytize to the border-line heathen at the same time.