Christian fundamentalist organization Answers in Genesis’ (AiG) just opened their Ark Encounter in Kentucky, and the event was, ironically, greeted with epic flash floods and heavy rain. Kentucky announced a state of emergency as severe flooding overwhelmed the area. Though AiG’s Ark seems to have survived the worst of it, others have been evacuated and homes destroyed in the deluge.
The new theme park, Ark Encounter, is located near AiG’s Creation Museum. The new full-size ark replica is just a short drive from Cincinnati. Dezeen reports that it’s “within a day’s drive for two thirds of the US population,” and, judging by the thousands of visitors who inundated the park on opening day, people are taking advantage of the proximity. Architecture company Troyer Group designed the ark, which was constructed with the help of Amish carpenters.
Related: Full-size replica of Noah’s Ark pops up in Kentucky
According to the Bible, Noah is instructed to build the ark to save his family and animals from flooding. AiG’s ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, and builders drew on dimensions found in the Bible. According to AiG, it is “the largest timber-frame structure in the world” and they built the attraction to provide answers about the story of Noah’s Ark. Founder and CEO Ken Ham told Dezeen, “In a world that is becoming increasingly secularized and biased, it’s time for Christians to do something of this size and magnitude.” The $100 million project was, controversially, funded partially through sales tax incentives.
The seven-story-tall ark features exhibits and a restaurant. In the theme park, visitors can ride a zip line, take a donkey or camel ride, or visit a zoo which houses Tibetan yaks, ostriches, and kangaroos.
About 10,000 people can visit the ark every day, but for the first 40 days and nights – the amount of time rain fell while Noah floated in his ark – the park will operate with extended hours. According to the National Weather Service, there are still flood warnings for a few areas in the state, and most are on a severe thunderstorm watch.
Images via Ark Encounter Facebook