Ark Encounter, Noah's Ark
Backstory and Context
Drawn from descriptions in the Bible, this ark includes three exhibits that share one interpretation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. The lower deck contains models of animals, including a few dinosaurs and unicorns that the museum creator believes may have been present on the ark. While the ark itself does not include live animals, the attraction includes a petting zoo. The second deck contains more animal models along with scenes depicting Noah’s life and effort to create the ark.
The attraction was funded by creationist Ken Ham, a fundamentalist Christian leader who established Answers in Genesis. Ken is also the creator of the development of the Creation Museum. On December 1, 2010 AiG and for-profit corporation Ark Encounter LLC began building the theme park Ark Encounter with the stated goal to “dispel doubts that Noah could fit two of every kind of animal into the 500-feet-long ark.” The project suffered years of setbacks and lawsuits, including concerns of residents about the tax incentives this religious-themed museum was scheduled to receive. The cost of $150 million was raised privately to successfully create the building.
The museum opened to donors on July 5, 2016 with a ribbon-cutting and special tour for some of the 7,000 donors who traveled to the opening. The Ark Encounter opened to the public two days later.