You do not have to be a Christian to have heard the incredible Bible story of Noah’s Ark (or Noah’s Teba). You know the ark on which animals were loaded two-by-two and safely carried Noah’s family for 40 days and 40 nights through a storm. The vision of its size and wonder has only been one for the imagination until now with the opening of Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter.
Using the dimensions stated in the Bible, Ark Encounter brings to us a full-size ark – 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet tall – putting our imaginations to rest and bringing everything into reality.
“We were blown away by the sheer size of it,” said HomeLife Academy parent Suzanne Pack Marrero. “You can read the dimensions in scripture. You can compare it to real-life places (1.5 football fields long), but nothing really prepares you to take in the massive size of the ship! It is a jaw-dropping experience and worth the price of admission alone! Nothing can teach like a full-sized model!”
The ark, which is located in Williamstown, Kentucky, opened in July and cost over $100 million to build with most of the funding coming from donors. The attention to detail has been noted as one of the many aspects that make the ark and its exhibits something to not miss.
“The Ark Encounter teaches from the moment you enter. The historical displays show great attention to detail. There are pitch pots and tools, animal cages and supplies. It helps you imagine and wonder about all of the details we wish we could ask God to fill in,” said Suzanne. “My six-year-old daughter, Lucy, enjoyed seeing the displays focused on life on the ark and was delighted to see representations of women from the ark.”
Along with seeing history come alive before your eyes with the ark, the experiences of the passengers are easily visualized through the life-like mannequins and written stories that are included in the exhibits.
“Some of the displays included representations of women painting for pleasure, reading and working on the ark. As a mother, I appreciated the humanization of a story we often make out to be more fairy-tale than historical account,” said Suzanne, “My nine-year old son, Jonathan, enjoyed diving into the exhibits where more reading was required. Jonathan remembers ‘Up until going in the ark, I didn’t really understand how big it would have been and how hard it would have been for Noah to build it’.”
Suzanne shared there are exhibits that take guests through the ice age, the world becoming sinful, the fairy-tale representations of the ark, the 7 D’s of deception, the flood and much more. She noted the museum is a work in progress as she saw room for the expansion for additional exhibits.
“It did not feel incomplete to us and we had more than we were able to read or explore in the five hours we were there,” said Suzanne. “My favorite ark moments were taking our family photo in front of the ark (from the observation spot on the circle drive) and exploring the artists’ representations of the living quarters on the ark.”
Although tickets to see the ark may seem expensive, Suzanne says the pricing is comparable to other attractions families normally enjoy together (i.e. zoo, aquariums, museums, etc.).
“It is an investment to go and see the ark. Why not pay for an experience that will teach your children about God’s greatness, provision, mercy and love? We are having rich discussions as a family. It is worth the investment in your family and children’s’ education to go and experience the ark together,” said Suzanne who will never read her Bible the same again.
Suzanne also shared some tips for those who plan to visit the ark, noting it is about one hour outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although outside food is not allowed, water is, and there are snack stands on each level of the ark. Also, the Emzara’s Kitchen, which is on the property, serves wraps, chicken tenders and burgers that are reasonably priced and well portioned for sharing. Depending upon the time of year you visit, umbrellas, sunglasses, hats and water are helpful, because there is no shade. Not to take away from the experience you will have, but something Suzanne also wanted to share was for visitors to be aware of the amusement park effect she experienced at times.
“Before we entered the ark, we were met by vendors selling lemonade and kettle corn – $10 for the combo – a huge gift shop full of Ken Ham books, cheap import merchandise and fair trade items from around the world,” said Suzanne. “They will also try to take a souvenir photo as you enter the ark.”
Despite those incidences, it was an enjoyable and very educational experience for the entire Marrero family. It is one they will always remember.
“If you can, plan three days, so you may visit the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, which are 45 minutes away from each other,’ said Suzanne. “You can buy a combo ticket that gives a full day of ark and two days of museums. If you only have time for the ark, go anyway! It is worth the drive!”
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©2016 HomeLife Academy. Article by Jennifer Smeltser. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the publisher /.