My Journey to the Ark Encounter
It defies imagination… a large wooden “ark” rising out of the landscape in northern Kentucky.
It is everything that I imagined it would be…and so much more. It was Noah’s Ark where animals boarded the vessel two by two to be saved from the Biblical flood. The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction that doesn’t disappoint. It was built according to the biblical dimensions in Genesis 6, and stands seven stories high, and is one and a half football fields in length! I felt dwarfed as I stood before the Ark - and so will you because it is the largest freestanding, timber-frame structure in the world.
In 2020, in the USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards poll the Ark Encounter won the top spot as the best religious museum in the country. Some visit the Ark Encounter as skeptics, others are curious, and some approach this landmark as a place of pilgrimage. Regardless of how you view your visit to the Ark Encounter, it is impressive. Entering the Ark is to be immersed in a world of exquisite craftsmanship. The creator of the Ark, Ken Ham employed thousands of Amish craftsmen to build this structure that cost more than $102 million to create.
Entering the Ark, visitors wind their way through three exhibit decks that tell the Biblical stories of the creation and the flood. There are more than 100 bays of colorful, professionally designed exhibits and dioramas that bring the stories of the Bible to life. I found the views of the deck amazing with decks organized the way things might have been. There are cages of animals, storehouses for food, and living space for Noah and his family in amazingly realistic detail. This immersive environment allowed me to experience what Noah’s life may have been like and how he cared for all the animals on board. A highlight for me was the exhibits on the hundreds of flood legends and what happened after the floodwaters receded.
Another interesting exhibit, “Is the Bible True,” addresses many questions about the word of God. Walking through the “Doors of the Bible” exhibition covers the history of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The exhibit regarding manuscripts and the Bible as a religious text is meant to be thought-provoking - and is.
New in August of 2020, is a high-tech virtual reality experience called, “Truth Traveler. A Flood of Reality.” In a place of spectacular immersive experiences, this is one of the most incredible experiences here. After being outfitted with Virtual Reality headsets and headphones and being seated in special effects motion seats I traveled back to the time of Noah and the Ark. It was an amazing 4500-year-old journey back in time where I saw how the ark was made and experienced the drama of this ancient flood and its aftermath. The experience is so realistic with wind blasts, scents, and full-motion seats that gave me the sensation of flying.
In addition to the Ark, the Ararat Ridge Zoo can also be found on the grounds of this park. Many of the animals from around the world can be found here including exotic animals like sloths, kangaroos, zebras, ostriches, and giant tortoises. In keeping with the theme of the park, the zoo presents teaching material about animals from a biblical point of view.
No landmark attraction is complete without a restaurant and a gift shop. I found several unusual handcrafted items in the fair trade section of the gift shop. The fair trade partnership helps artisans in the developing world make a living through a long term buying relationship. The restaurant, Emzara’s Kitchen is casual and has a fabulous view of the Ark.
I was surprised by the sheer size and attention to detail of the exhibits -they left me amazed. It really is something to see in person because it is a lot bigger and more interesting than you can ever imagine!