Creationist theme park with replica Noah’s Ark opens in US

A US$100 million theme park featuring a replica of Noah’s Ark built on scriptural lines has opened to the public in Kentucky.

The “Ark Encounter” Christian theme park features a petting zoo, zip lines, live entertainment, a 900-seat auditorium and a 1,500-seat restaurant.

The attraction’s founder, Ken Ham, said park is an evangelical tool aimed at teaching creationism, a literal interpretation of the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

“I find some of the aggressive secularists try to shut down people talking about the Bible,” Mr Ham said.

“So for us it’s ‘How can we get a message out there about the Bible?'”

The ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, constructed based on dimensions derived from scripture, Mr Ham said.

Its three decks span more than 120,000 square feet.

Future phases of the project call for building “a walk through biblical history”, as well as a Tower of Babel.

According to Mr Ham, US$62 million for the project was raised from investors who bought municipal bonds, and about US$38 million came from donors.

There has been criticism of local tax breaks for the enterprise.

The Rev. Bob Fox, head pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Kentucky, said the ark project blurs the line between church and state.

Mr Ham argued that tax incentives are performance based and are no different from those for other attractions.

Consultants hired by Ark Encounter’s non-profit parent, Answers in Genesis, project the park will generate 20,000 jobs in the area and US$4 billion in tourism revenue, when combined with Mr Ham’s already established Creation Museum.

The park itself has created about 350 jobs so far, Mr Ham said.

Dr James Krupa, who teaches evolutionary biology at the University of Kentucky, said the theme park was intended to “advance ignorance”.

“That Ken Ham is trying to ignore vast evidence to the contrary and convince people the world is 6000 years old is an embarrassment to Kentucky, the US, and to Christianity,” he told The Telegraph.


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