Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Biblical Noah's Ark Encounter Opened July 7 in Kentucky

7 stories tall, almost 200 yards long, and built by a 65 year old Young Earth creationist

It took Noah 40 days and 40 nights to wait out the storm. And visiting a full size replica of the Ark opening in Williamston KY this weekend, will set you back $40.

Ark Encounter is a Christian theme park that opened in Grant County, Kentucky on July 7, 2016. The centerpiece of the park is a full-scale model of Noah's Ark 510 feet (160 m) long and 81 feet high. Plans for additional phases of the park include a model of the Tower of Babel, along with replicas of an ancient walled city and a first-century Middle Eastern village. Ark Encounter will be operated by Answers in Genesis (AiG), the Young Earth creationism group that operates the Creation Museum 45 miles (72 km) away in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Just so we're clear on this, the Ark was built by Creationists. They do not believe in Evolution; they think it's just a theory, and a wrong one at that. They think God created humans, dinosaurs, and everything else that has ever lived, on a particular date about 6000 years ago.

After independent feasibility studies projected that park would provide a significant boom to the state's tourism industry, the Ark Encounter received tax incentives from the city, county, and state to induce its construction, drawing criticism from groups concerned with the separation of church and state. A dispute over AiG's hiring practices was adjudicated in U.S. federal court, which found in 2016 that the church could require Ark Encounter employees to sign a statement of faith as a condition of their employment.

Cary Summers, who headed Herschend Family Entertainment from 1992 to 1998, was hired as the lead consultant for the Ark Encounter.[5] Patrick Marsh, who helped design exhibits for the Creation Museum and previously designed attractions for Universal Studios Florida, was part of the planning and design team.[12] The Troyer Group, a construction firm in Mishawaka, Indiana, was contracted to oversee construction of the ark, which was constructed by Amish builders using timber framing techniques.

Whenever possible, the builders employed techniques from the ancient era, such as manually bending the wood for the rudder rather than steaming it to make it more pliable. While the builders originally planned to hold the ark together with wooden pegs, modern building codes required the builders to use steel fasteners, thus 95 tons of metal plates and bolts were used to connect the wood together. The electric lighting inside was designed to look like oil lamps.

There are 12 different possible lengths for the biblical cubit, and AiG chose to use a length of 20.1 inches. This produced plans for an ark measuring 510 feet long, 85 feet (26 m) wide, and 51 feet high. The Ark Encounter consists of approximately 3,300,000 board feet (7,800 m3) of wood, harvested from as far away as Oregon and British Columbia.

The framing of the ark consists mostly of Englemann spruce, while the exterior is made of pine. Colorado Timberframe was contracted to mill the logs, some of which were as long as 50 feet (15 m) long and 36 inches (91 cm) in diameter, because they were the only company in the United States capable of milling logs of this size to specifications within 1/32 of an inch.

The ark contains 132 bays for animals, each standing about 18 feet high. The ark is held 15 feet (4.6 m) off the ground by three 80-foot masonry towers containing stairwells, elevators, and restrooms. A theater and 10,000-square-foot gift shop are positioned below the ark, while a restaurant sits on its roof and another rests on the ground nearby. AiG officials said the final cost of the park at its opening exceeded $100 million.

The Daily Mail called the Ark Encounter "one of the largest green construction projects in the U.S."The park's structures and infrastructure were constructed using environmentally friendly Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified methods, including geothermal heating, rainwater capture, active and passive solar heating.

The Washington Post wrote that the decision to use such techniques exemplified "a fundamental shift in how religiously conservative Christians think of two basic biblical ideas: dominion and stewardship". Construction crews began clearing timber from the site late in 2012 in order to remove the shagbark hickory trees before the endangered Indiana bats migrated to the area to nest in them. Much of the wood used to build the Ark Encounter was sourced from renewable forests or trees infested by beetles.


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