Full-size Noah's Ark recreated for biblical theme park in Kentucky
The boat is 510ft (155.5m) long, 85ft (26m) wide and 51ft (15.3m) high, the original dimensions outlined in the Bible / John Minchillo/AP/Press Association Images
A biblical theme park in the US state of Kentucky opens tomorrow (7 July), with a full-size recreation of Noah’s Ark at its heart.
The Ark Encounter explores the famous Bible tale of the great flood and Noah’s quest to build an ark to save his family and two of every animal on the planet.
The boat is 510ft (155.5m) long, 85ft (26m) wide and 51ft (15.3m) high – converted from the cubit measurements provided in the Bible – and was built following nautical engineering practices from the era.
Over three million board feet of timber was used to construct the ark. The project was designed by Troyer Construction Group and largely built on site in Williamstown by Amish craftsmen.
More than 125,000sq ft (11,600sq m) of exhibits can be explored along the Ark’s three decks, billed as “an immersive, historically-themed experience for the whole family.”
Park operator Crosswater Canyon, a non-profit subsidiary of Christian organisation Answers in Genesis (AiG), says the ark is the largest free-standing timber-framed structure in the world.
The ark is surrounded by a zoo, a lake, a zip line tour, a garden and a 1,500-seat themed restaurant.
In the future, plans are in place to build a theatre, a flood-walled city, a recreation of the Tower of Babel and a first-century Middle Eastern village.
The first phase has cost US$100m (€90.5m, £77.3m), with a further US$50m (€45.2m, £38.6m) expected to be spent. The money has been raised through a combination of bonds, memberships and donations.
The park has come under fire several times since the project’s inception, mainly after AiG allegedly refused to hire anyone who doesn’t believe in the biblical flood. This initially led to the state withdrawing US$18m (€16.3m, £14m) worth of tourism tax credits from the project, but this move was successfully challenged by AiG in January.
The Ark Encounter explores the famous Bible tale of the great flood and Noah’s quest to build an ark / The Ark Encounter
The boat is 510ft (155.5m) long, 85ft (26m) wide and 51ft (15.3m) high, the original dimensions outlined in the Bible / The Ark Encounter