The Ark Encounter

My Review of this theme park

Entrance to the theme park (image: Lisa Q)

We were going to be in the Kentucky area anyway, so I suggested to ‘the fam’ that we visit the newly constructed Ark Encounter. I mean, a life-sized Noah’s Ark? What Christian wouldn’t want to see this amazing Biblical-building replica? 

Then we checked the admission price. 

For adults, it costs nearly $50 per person. With two adult tickets, one senior, one teen, and parking, it cost us $180 just for starters. And then there are those other expenses like food, drinks, and souvenirs… 


Nevertheless, to see this the Ark was absolutely thrilling, and at the end of the day, worth the price of admission… to be sure. 

photo credit: Mario Quintana (this is a link to my husband’s website!)

To say it was huge is an understatement. This boat is GINORMOUS! I mean, to walk within its massive wooden walls was surreal. If you ever doubted this story, by buying into the progressive notion that this story is just a “fairy tale,” walking onto the Ark Encounter will change that idea. What this theme park screams loud and clear is that Noah’s Ark was not an impossible feat, as some claim. This was doable, and the folks behind the construction explain just how doable this boat was to make.

How it was constructed

In Genesis 6:15, God tells Noah how big to build the boat. The following two chapters tell the story of the flood and what happens to Noah and his family. It doesn’t go into great detail about the ark itself, but these folks had to survive in that thing for nearly an entire year! That is a long time to be on the water with all kinds of living creatures. So, just how did they do it?

The Ark Encounter engineers did speculate, taking creative license with how Noah and his family might have lived on this floating survival ship. There were loads of details and hundreds of plaques to read on the walls along the way explaining their thinking and design elements. We spent a good three to four hours taking the time to read most of it. It is an education!

image: Lisa Q

The engineers believed Noah probably used a ‘long’ cubit for the construction of the ark. One cubit equals about 20 inches long. God told Noah to use 300 cubits for the boat’s length. That’s over the length of a football field!

My family (circled in red) – this perspective shows you just how BIG this boat is!
image: Lisa Q

The builders used 3.1 million board feet of heavy timber when reconstructing Noah’s ark. According to Ken Ham, the Ark is now the largest free-standing, timber-frame building in the world!

 • 510 feet long; 85 feet wide; 51 feet high based on the Bible’s dimensions (300 cubits long; 50 cubits wide; 30 cubits high) 

Life on the Ark

The designers did a fantastic job depicting life of the ark. The first floor was full of all kinds of animals. One of the first creatures you see as you enter the ark are some smaller dinosaurs. To me, that was a bit off-putting, because I am an ‘old earth’ creationist. In other words, I think the days in the first chapter of Genesis are not literal, 24-hour periods, but rather ‘ages’ or stages of time, and within those stages, God created. But the “young-earthers” interpret the days of Genesis as literal, 24-hours periods.  In the end, God did it. We’ll agree on that!

photo credit: Mario Quintana

Yet, many Christians have intellectual problems with the young earth theory, so much in fact, that some have walked away from the faith because they cannot reconcile the science with the accounts in Genesis. To me, it’s not a deal-breaker. Whether you believe in a literal 7-day creation week, or a span of 7-stages of creation, is not a salvation issue. 

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, and in all things charity.”

Rupert’s Meldenius, c. 1627

So yeah, that young earth interpretation is front and center on the ark. If you are a ‘young-earther,’ then you’ll have no issues with any of it. And for me, it was not a big deal. I thought the dinosaur exhibits were kind of cool; they did a great job creating those beasts!

Lisa Q’s shot (taken with my iPhone)

The second floor had the tamer beasts, and lots of food and water storage containers.

image: Lisa Q

Finally, the third floor held the primary living quarters. Some of it, I thought, was a bit much. I am not sure Noah would have had such interior decorating style, but hey, his wife might have had some say in it… who knows?

image: Lisa Q

Final Thoughts

A few years ago, during a chat at a wedding reception, I happen to be sitting next to a young woman who had just received her bachelor’s degree in geological studies from a young-earth Christian college. I was intrigued. We were having a friendly discussion, and I was inquiring about how her view could account for certain things that I found difficult to reconcile with the young earth view. Then her mother popped into the conversation. Finding out that I was a Christian apologist, she was shocked that I held to an old earth creation viewpoint. She told me straight to my face that: “How could I call myself a Christian apologist and not believe in a young earth?” Then, without waiting to hear my response, she huffed at me and left the table. 

I was stunned. 

I had never been treated like that before over an interpretation of the Genesis account. It left me thinking it was not a very gracious thing to do to another Christian sister. After all, in the Body of Christ, we are all in a spiritual family and should treat each other as such.

While my family and I read the information about the young earth theory throughout the Ark Encounter’s displays, we overheard others remarking similar things… “If you don’t believe in the literal account of Genesis, you might as well not believe anything in the Bible!” That is black-and-white thinking which doesn’t foster honest inquiry. As Christians, we can do better than that; we should allow for vigorous intellectual debate on these things, but not throw the “dinosaur off the ark,” so to speak. Yes, the young earth view has some interesting points, as does ‘old-earthers.’ Let’s agree to be civil about it.

All this to say is that the Ark Encounter heavily pushes the young-earth interpretation of the Genesis creation account. If that bothers you, just prepare yourself for it and make the best of the visit. 

One of my favorite educational plaques on board ship. The point is that we are all descendants of Noah – racism should not exist. It’s not Biblical!

In the end, I think it is totally worth a visit. Just to walk within the walls of what is a recreation of Noah’s ark really brings history alive! 

With God’s inspiration, Noah built a boat in the middle of dry land by faith. That faith saved humanity from complete annihilation. And what a ship it was to live upon for that long, watery year. After having visited the Ark Encounter, now I can imagine what that year might have been like for Noah’s family—impressive, to say the least.

There are three stories in this ark – impressive! photo credit: Mario Quintana


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