Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter Opens to a Flood of Press but Fewer Visitors than Anticipated

Ken Ham posts a picture and comment almost daily on Twitter about the thousands or of visitors that are flocking to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum each day.  I would expect nothing less from any leader responsible for the success of a 100 million dollar theme park.  The very existence of the Ark Encounter owes itself to his ambition and desire to have it built.  A large part of his job is promotion and he is doing it to the best of his ability.

Noah's Ark, the featured attraction at the Ark Encounter theme park. I took this picture at about 10:30 am Friday, July 22. You can there are a few people circling around to go the entrance (right side below the ark). Just a few people taking pictures where I stood. Photo: Joel Duff

Noah’s Ark, the featured attraction at the Ark Encounter theme park. I took this picture at about 10:30 am Friday, July 22. You can there are a few people circling around to go the entrance (right side below the ark). Just a few people taking pictures where I stood. Photo: Joel Duff

Ken Ham is rightly proud that his vision has come to reality.  I am sure he believes it will be a success at multiple levels.  He is confident in his mission and believes he is doing God’s work.  But should he be worried?  Will it succeed?

Success for the Ark Encounter could come in many forms. I would like to address the real measure of success – the evangelistic goals – at a later time. For now I will limit my comments to a far simpler measure of success; financial success or simply the ability to keep the doors open. Of course, some measure of financial success must be achieved so that the more important measures of success, by Ken Ham’s definition, can be achieved.

Should Ken Ham be worried about the near-term and long-term solvency of his theme park?  He would know best.  All we can do is look in from the outside and compare stated expectations with the present reality.  I don’t know what the accountants have told him are the minimum numbers of visitors there must be to remain viable long-term but I have to think if he is not worried about finances he must at least be very disappointed.  The worry may come later as it will take some time to really gauge the long-term interest level in the park.  In the short-term, the doors are in no danger of being slammed shut.  You can purchase your tickets for next summer without much fear of them being useless.

But for Ken Ham there has to be some disappointment in the reception to the Ark Encounter.  This has been a huge undertaking.   Finding the resources to build the 100 million dollar theme attraction is an amazing accomplishment. After such an undertaking, surely he and his staff dreamed of – and prepared for – a massive opening with widespread accolades from the Christian community. Neither has come to fruition thus far.

Earlier this year you could see just how excited he was about the people who would be blessed by this ministry.  Nearly every morning for a year he posted on Twitter pictures of the building construction progress and the exhibits.  Many times he proudly spoke of the “immense” 4000-spot parking lot, frequently showing panoramic pictures of it before and after it was completed.

Among the other AiG staff, the energy level early this year was very high.  Multiple staff members posted reports of their activities and excitement about seeing the ark completed.  The announcement that tickets were now on sale came on January 20th (2016). Finally, people could start buying tickets and the fruits of their labors could be seen in the families that would be making their pilgrimage to the ark in July.

The full announcement can be found here.  This is how their expectations were expressed at the time:

While the Ark Encounter can accommodate about 16,000 guests per day, research has shown that more could be expected during the first few weeks of opening, especially during the summer time frame. This was the reason for establishing daytime entry tickets and nighttime tickets for the first 40 days.

In the following months, a huge advertising campaign was put in place.  In April even more advertising was put into place.  Looking back, I have to wonder if the huge sums of money spent on second and third rounds of advertising was a reaction to the pace of ticket sales.  Surely by late April it must have been apparent that their “research” had led them astray.   On Twitter and Facebook, other than Ken Ham, the energy level of other staff was noticeably more muted.   It was becoming clear that more than 16,000 visitors would not be arriving for the opening or any day or likely any day after the opening.  In fact, they would be opening the doors to far fewer than 50% of their projected and hoped-for attendance.

Now that the actual opening on July 7th is behind us, all the evidence available would lead to the conclusion that the first 40 days will not be nearly as successful as hoped. I have seen no panoramic views of the parking lot since the opening. Instead I see short-range images of cars parked in one section.   Instead of the entire ticketing area, only a portion of the ticketing area with lines is shown.  Now that I have spent nearly an entire day – the third Friday after opening –at the Ark Encounter I have a new perspective on these photographs.  When I pulled in only 50% of the parking lot was even available for parking and the spaces in the available area were at best 50% full later in the day.

A portion of the Ark Encounter Parking as I was leaving. Photo: Joel Duff, July 22, 2016.

A portion of the Ark Encounter Parking as I was leaving. Photo: Joel Duff, July 22, 2016.

Ken Ham is correct that thousands are visiting the ark daily.  However, he needs 4000 people to visit every day of the year to reach the lower range of his projected attendance for the first year.  It is not even clear if the opening day resulted in more than 4000 visitors.  Ken Ham mentioned on Twitter that the second Saturday after opening the Ark had 6000 visitors. That would appear to be the high-water mark thus far though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few bigger weekends before the end of the summer.

I attended on a Friday. When I arrived at 9:50 am I counted 260 cars, vans and buses in the parking lot. I had expected this time to be popular so I was quite shocked.  Many cars arrived as I waited for a friend and there were probably 75 people in the ticketing area when we moved through just after 10 am.  Only five of the 15 ticketing booths were open.  My colleague and I only had to wait a few minutes to get to the window and get our wristbands and then we jumped right on a bus which was waiting to be filled.

The ticketing booths just after 10 am July 22, 2016. There are five of 15 windows open for the small group that are waiting to get wristbands. Photo: Joel Duff

The ticketing booths just after 10 am July 22, 2016. There are five of 15 windows open for the small group that are waiting to get wristbands. Photo: Joel Duff

At the Ark Encounter I noticed that about noon there were more people coming into the first deck than when we had entered at 10:30.  But after leaving the ark to get food at 1pm, we then had to go back to the line under the Ark to re-enter.  By this time  – 1:30 pm – there were only 25 people in a staging area designed to entertain at least 400 people waiting to enter.  For the rest of the day it did not appear that there was any significant line to enter the Ark.

The queue to enter the Ark at 10:30 am. There were over 100 people here and we had a bit of wait though not long enough to watch the whole video being shown. At 1:30 there were just a few people here when we re-entered the ark. Photo: Joel Duff

The queue to enter the Ark at 10:30 am. There were over 100 people here and we had a bit of wait though not long enough to watch the whole video being shown. At 1:30 there were just a few people here when we re-entered the ark. Photo: Joel Duff

When I returned to the parking lot it was apparent that more area had been used since I left with about 20 % of the spaces in the areas where I had parked now empty. I did a quick count and came up with just over 600 cars.  Assuming that all the empty spaces between vehicles were once filled, that could account for as many as 900 vehicles in the lot at one time.  I saw a few vehicles – about one per minute – arriving while I hung out for 30 minutes.  Since many of these new arrivals were filling in empty spots instead of expanding the parking area used, there was some double use of some parking spaces.  Putting all those observations together, I am fairly comfortable projecting that as many as 1000 vehicles may have used the lot during the day.

A bit over half of the visitors I counted were couples. There were many larger families as you would expect.  And there were a few large vans and church buses.  I think a reasonable estimate would be an average of 3 persons per vehicle.  So that would put the attendance at 3000 with a max of 4000 if there were 4 people per vehicle.  The Ark Encounter would still be open until midnight but the attendant at the bus told me that if I wanted to return in the evening that there would be hardly anyone there and some of those would be people who returned to get a night-time picture rather than new visitors.

Three to four thousands visitors is “multi-thousands” just as Ken Ham has reported. I am sure that every day since it has opened there have been thousands.  That is a lot of people but it is clearly not what Ken Ham, and his investors, dreamed would happen when the Ark Encounter opened for business.  He believed that the whole world would be waiting at the front gates.  Would 4000 parking spaces be enough? That is a question I am sure the planners asked themselves many times.

For the first 40 days the Ark will be open until midnight. Part of the purpose of this promotion is to allow people to have a unique night-time experience at the ark but initially Ken Ham said it would be open to allow all those that want to come the chance to see it.  His optimism extended to the initial ticketing phase in which advance tickets were being sold with specific boarding times presumably to accommodate all the visitors most efficiently. Such optimism must have worn off fairly quickly, though, as it became apparent that 16,000 or more were not going to be showing up at the doors on the 7th of July.  Below is a picture of the program/map that was provided at the ticket booth the day I visited.  This program says that “During 40 Days and 40 Nights, tickets are valid only for daytime admission or evening admission.” But this was not the case, tickets were good all day and there was no break between 4 and 5 pm when everyone had to leave and the evening ticket holders would be let in.  The programs must have been printed in the hundreds of thousands well in advance of the park opening before it was apparent that there would not be enough attendees to merit two separate visitation periods.

If 3000 people visited every day the Ark Encounter would attract just over 1 million visitors.  That is probably an economically viable number allowing for some future expansion and I would call that a success even if it isn’t the 1.4 to 2.1 million they were predicting.   But to reach this number they would have to average more than 3000 visitors each day.  There were probably more there the next day – a Saturday – but on Facebook Ken Ham has told people asking about avoiding crowds that “midweek is not quite as busy” as you would expect so there were probably fewer attendees the days before I came.

My personal data collection only represents one day though I have similar reports from friends.  It may have been a down Friday.  It does seem that the first week after opening there were more there and so 5000/day might have been possible.  Whether there have been 3000 or 5000 per day these numbers are not what was anticipated or hoped for.  Come the cold months of November through March, there are certainly not going to be anywhere near 3000 visitors per day so the summer months are when they need to bring in the masses.  I had anticipated at least 10,000 per day on the weekends and in excess of 5000 on weekdays through the end of August making lower yearly goal of 1.4 million visitors achievable.

Millions and millions of dollars have been spent promoting the opening the Ark.  Advertisements on TV, radio and prints have been splashed across the country for months.  Most of my non-Christian students have heard of the Ark Encounter whereas most of the same students were not aware of the Creation Museum. So the word is out there and certainly the Christian community, which is the primary market for the Ark, has been hearing about it for years.  They have had ample time to work the Ark into the summer vacation plans.  Maybe some where afraid to come to the opening month fearing the crowds but for those that are most interested they will try to see it this summer.

As I said before, I believed that the Ark Encounter would be a moderate success (financially) and likely viable for a long time.   After visiting on Friday I am far less certain that the Ark Encounter will live up to the hype.  Repeat business is absolutely essential for the Encounter’s success and my sense was that there will only be a small core of devotees who would have come back no matter what the Ark looked like. Instead, I think that the majority of visitors will say “I’ve seen it but I don’t need to spend money to see it again.”   For example, while I was in the parking lot getting ready to leave I overheard one attendee on a cell phone talking to a friend and the gist of what he said was: It’s worth checking out once but I wouldn’t pay to see it again.

Will the Ark Encounter become a sort of Christian Mecca? A place that you have to see in your lifetime but most aren’t likely to return. Or will it be a vacation destination where families will return every couple of years?  Will it attract enough curiosity seekers from the secular community to be viable? Time will tell but in its present configuration, the Ark Encounter provides little reason to believe that anyone other than the core of devotees who would go return multiple times no matter what it looked like, will be returning again.  If it doesn’t wow the public to the point that non-Christians are drawn by the spectacle or craftsmanship it is going to struggle to achieve the attendance that is necessary to remain solvent long-term as a for-profit enterprise.  The park will never receive the type of publicity that it has these past few months so it is hard to see how it will build significantly on this beginning.  And don’t forget, The Institute for Creation Research is raising funds to open another creation museum in Texas that will compete for the young-earth vacation dollar.

However, from a financial perspective, not reaching the 1.4 million lower goal for the first year sounds like a failure, but not reaching hoped for numbers is far from implying that bankruptcy is around the corner. It would be wrong to assume that just because the Ark may only attract 750,000 visitors that it will be abandoned within a few years.  Those would be disappointing numbers to Ken Ham and the bond holders but may very well be enough to keep the Ark solvent for a long time to come.

Finally, as I will share in another post, I don’t believe this park in its current configuration is going to attract a significant non-Christian audience which is a potential financial problem but also means the Ark Encounter may not live up to its most important stated goal: bringing the gospel message to the unbeliever.  But that is a discussion that will have to wait for another time.

The enterior of the Ark is quite impressive and it smells great if you like the smell of fresh-cut wood. Photo: Joel Duff

The interior of the Ark is quite impressive and it smells great if you like the smell of fresh-cut wood.  I believe this was from the 3rd deck looking down the middle of the ark.  Photo: Joel Duff

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on #POPChrist and commented:
    Here is Joel Duff’s initial take on the financial success of Ken Ham’s Ark. I’ll post more soon but have been busy with my move back to Canada and all that that entails.

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  2. I am trying not to be gleeful. All I can really think is this is a silly theme park, which at best is preaching to the choir of low-information believers, and dumbing them down in the process. Hey, that is what government education is for! Whenever Ham and his ilk come on a program I am watching or listening to, I have to turn it off before I get angry at his proudly proclaimed fantasies and outright lies.
    This was indeed a major investment, and a HUGE fund-raising project. I really worry this will also be a huge spot on Christian funding in the future. No wonder we are dismissed and insulted in many circles today. Scribes and Pharasees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can be very difficult to understand how that much money can be spent to try to provide an scientific explanation that makes no sense. I don’t worry about the money as much as some people do. That part of Kentucky is struggling and although people complain about the tax breaks,I can understand why the town and the state are helping to build the ark. People will come and spend money even if it ins’t the millions and millions promised. But the area will be helped. As a Christian I am far more concerned about the oversimplified message that though well-intentioned is not an effective representation of the gospel. It places obstacles in the path of those that seek to know God while providing only crutches that are liable to break for Christians who have only known this strain of modern fundamentalism.

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      • It really bothers me that someone might be open to the message of the Gospel but instead of that they are told about a global flood and that just about everything they know about natural history and about science is wrong because scientists are engaged in a vast conspiracy against the Bible. They are told confusing stories about how people and dinosaurs co-existed on earth during Biblical times, and they are told that most of what they see in the night sky is an optical illusion. And then they are told, “Look at this replica of Noah’s Ark, isn’t it wonderful?” I think at that point the average seeker might think that Christianity is mainly about making claims about the age of the earth and making fantastic claims about natural history and conspiracies, but what this all has to do with Jesus no one can exactly say. I think at that point the average seeker will just walk away, a new convert to despair or skepticism.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lacey Sheridan says:

      This is frightening. Children, seeing this nonsense, may believe it. Don’t any of these parents want their youngsters to attend college? Possibly even medical school? They’ll be laughed out of any classroom if they talk about dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. I was aware that there were Christian sects that deny evolution, but I wasn’t aware that their ignorance reached such depths. And how many such people can their be? Why did this man think he could turn a profit over time with something so far fetched?

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  3. James Stump says:

    Ham’s post today quoted someone at the Ark saying, “the Ark is [so] big, that you hardly notice how crowded it is.” That’s some positive spin!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. $100 million for a theme park based on a certain view of the Bible. That is not a responsible use of Christian resources is all I can say. This is silly, our society is crashing down and they build this? Just that reason alone is enough to spend the money in other ways. I am poor and I have had some major medical issues and received full charity from a non-profit Christian based Hospital system. They could find better uses for the money and the gospel is presented to people who are in their system. Who do you think is going to impress nonbelievers the most with the Gospel message? For the life of me I cannot find anything in the Bible that says to build religious based theme parks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When it goes bankrupt I hope Kentucky can find a profitable use for this. It most surely will never make it in the ocean. It will sink just like the genesis YEC interpretation they promoted for building it.

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  6. From a distance: Ken Ham’s Ark is presumably of Biblical dimensions and certainly looks like a boat (from one side that is). It looks very purposeful, a ship designed to not only go places but to go at some speed. Lacking any means of propulsion and any means of steering, it clearly incapable of going anywhere; but where would Noah have wanted to go anyway?

    Closer to: the wood panelling, which may be genuine, looks fake. It covers the hull like wallpaper. The individual strips point this way and that, not serving any functional purpose and indeed, in some cases it covers up woodwork that should represent external structural timbers. None of this would matter if the builders had applied the Biblical coating of pitch.

    Inside: it bears no resemblance to a boat. There is none of the structural timber-work of a boat. It is really just a barn. The attempts at ‘authentic original features’ like the rough hewn logs just look tacky.

    It is difficult to gather from photographs just how much of the vast available floor area is taken up by exhibits but, if they are all as small as the pictures suggest, there is room for an enormous number. Far more than we have been shown so far.

    The whole enterprise looks like something that has been opened well before it was ready.

    Solvency: the issue here is the ability to pay wages and other current expenditure on time. Until income rises to meet costs, the Ark Encounter is paying the difference out of capital. How much cash in hand does the Encounter possess?

    How is Ken Ham going to raise even more money to finish the project. He needs to remain solvent to survive, to finish the project he needs to show a profit otherwise he will not be able to talk his way to obtaining more capital.

    Finally, greetings from the land of the Millennium Dome.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Alan, thanks of your observations. The certainly weren’t as ready as I am sure the would have hoped. The ark is not done. There are huge spaces in side with no exhibits. The grounds are surrounded by temporary fences so you can’t see the construction mess. The run a big risk of setting a bad impression by not having it look as nice as I am sure it will some day. The Creation Museum does have some impressive gardens.
      The whole things is rather odd as you say. If the point is to wow people into realizing the ark was big and could hold all the animals necessary, then you could have built it out of any material. Yes the ark was wood but this ark wasn’t built as a functional boat so it doesn’t prove that a large wooden boat would have functioned. But they needed an impressive structure as the wow factor. They have to say “worlds largest timber-frame structure” because they hope that will bring in non-Christians wanting to see one of the wonders of the worlds then hit them with the biblical truth on the side. Otherwise 100 million was totally unnecessary to convince Christians that the boat was big enough.
      The whole thing is a just a strange amalgam of literal features, mixed with convenience, mixed with massive speculation.

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    • Perhaps Ken Ham doesn’t want us to think too closely about pitch. Pitch/bitumen — Genesis uses the same Akkadian word found in the Gilgamesh epic, rather than the standard Hebrew word — was a petroleum-based substance that oozed up to the surface in various parts of Mesopotamia and was widely used for ship construction in ancient times. Of course, this bitumen is the result of ancient algae deposits subjected to great heat and pressure over geological periods of time — and it shouldn’t have existed prior to the Flood, according to Ham and the young-earth creationists.

      Liked by 1 person

      • scooterwes says:

        Excellent point. In all my 46 years of evangelical belief (and missionary work), and now 7 years as an atheist, I never once heard that argument made. I’m sure some apologetics professor at a Christian university is at the very moment penning an convoluted explanation for the origin of “pitch” which will fit the YEC position.

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      • Obviously, God made the bitumen. In convenient 55 gallon drums.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Jacob (I couldn’t see a ‘Reply’ link right under your comment)

    I commented in similar vein to you here a few minutes ago:
    http://www.forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2967&p=50957#p50957

    Btw I’ve also exchanged emails with ‘Professor Tertius’ of the bible.and.science.forum (also copied to Christine Janis and Christian blogger Joel Anderson) where the Prof pointed out that Ham’s ark has a bow and stern (these are not mentioned in Genesis) and also four decks rather than three. (Other ark replicas do not look identical to Ham’s.)

    Ashley H-R

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    • PS I see that a detailed conversation about the bow and stern at the Ark Encounter can be viewed here:
      https://discourse.biologos.org/t/why-does-ken-hams-ark-building-have-differing-bow-stern-shapes/5461

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      • Thanks, Ashley. I don’t know, maybe one has to post a certain number of comments before one gets a Reply link. I like to read here and a few other places – I don’t comment a lot. I think I ranted a bit much but it is so frustrating seeing Christianity turned into what I see as almost a mockery by some people who have more zeal than discernment. Do you work in education? I didn’t know YEC was such an issue with the schools in the UK. I thought that was mostly a U.S. thing.

        That is a fascinating discussion about ancient ship-building you linked from BioLogos. Ham’s “Ark” kind of reminds me of the YEC universe – something pieced together for show (based on not-so-educated guesses) and the more you look at it, the more you see how things don’t fit and with any encounter with reality, the ship would sink.

        Jacob

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  8. I give the Ark Encounter about one more year than Flint, Michigan’s AutoWorld. (AutoWorld lasted six months.) I conflate the two because they’re both about trying to invigorate a lost cause. But a lost cause is a lost cause, no matter how you try to gin it up.

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  9. You know, reading all these completely unbiased and calm rational posts, I can only wonder if anyone actually has a life. Am I to assume there are no more issues more important than wondering if an ark will stay afloat? (Pun intended). For the atheistic evolutionists, I can certainly anticipate and understand the expected gleeful wishes for failure. For those claiming to be Christian, I would be very curious if any of them have invested themselves in the cause of Christ as much as Ham et. al. have invested in their venture, ill-advised, mis-directed, inaccurate, or not. Criticism is always cheap when it comes from those who are quite busy watching everyone else do something. I certainly empathize with those who wonder if the millions couldn’t have been used differently. Then again, it’s not my place to judge how others might be led or motivated. My mission is to attend to………well, my mission. I am called, as a Christian, to preach the gospel, in season or out. Doing the financials for someone else’s ministry is time I can best use for other purposes.
    For those claiming to be old earth creationists, or progressive creationists, I wonder if quibbles over scientific accuracy is actually a valid reason for hoping that someone else’s ministry fails. Seeing as how it is done already, might it not be the better choice to wish them luck (from a Christian perspective)? Seeing as Ham and his group ultimately hope that this park will enable them to witness to God’s glory and Christ’s offer of redemption, how do Christians justify negative emotions or hoping their mission fails? Is it for “scientific” reasons? Are we placing scientism above God’s call to salvation?
    And to those who prattle (yes, prattle) on about misinformation, do they not realize that there is, in spite of the priesthood’s best attempts at quashing, that there is quite a lot of disagreement floating out there in the scientific world about a number of current theories? I tend to think this is a good thing. It makes for better science. Science, contra Obama, is never a settled thing. Those who do good science are aware of this, and not threatened by it. Those who worship or exalt science can barely contain their anxiety when it is implied that all is not unanimous within the hallowed halls of academia. How many here would have found themselves mocking and railing against those ignorant Copernicans and their new theories re. the solar system?
    Remember, most of my words here are intended for those who claim to be theists, esp. Christian. I certainly don’t expect applause from atheists. But for those who claim to follow Christ, I can only view with despair when one who claims to love God finds herself aligned with those who do not against those of whom she is supposed to be family. I do not mean we can’t disagree, or correct others. But it should be done with humility and compassion. Never ill will. And never at the cost of finding ourselves hoping that the efforts of those attempting, in their own way however imperfect, end in failure.
    And finally, as to the usual claims to having the “right”, or “only correct view” of matters, including scientific, I can only hope for the development of humility in concert with maturity. As for myself, I hope Ham’s exhibit is a smashing success, contra evolutionists and progressive creationist. Wouldn’t it be exciting if thousands or millions more people were diligently reading and researching, comparing various viewpoints re. fields of science? Why is this such a threatening thing to evolutionists? This type of cloistered protectionism borders on religious hysteria. Really now, are you all that concerned what Fred and Bob and Julie and Jill think about the age of the earth or Noah’s flood? And if they do think the earth is not billions of years old or that there was a worldwide flood, exactly how are your lives more fulfilled than theirs? A desire or wish for knowledge to be true or correct is certainly an admirable thing, unless the real motivation for criticism is a desperate inner need to be “right”. Those of us with some age on us have already learned what a fleeting thing being “right” is. The Ark is not threatening public schools or taxpayer dollars. It’s one groups attempt to express their viewpoint. I am always amazed how often those who are willing to protest for tolerance (re sexual preferences, gay rights, being able to be or think anything you want to be or think), are in so many cases the first to express intolerance with those who disagree with THEM. Let the Hamites play. Get back to your own work.

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    • You make some excellent points, and I agree that taking pleasure in another’s failure and pain is no doubt breaking at least the 10th commandment. However, many of us see the YEC movement as responsible for forcing many away from God due to the false dichotomy presented. As such, this false teaching must be opposed.

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      • Thanks for the reply, jp. Seeing as how you were not specific, I do not know what you mean by forcing them away from God. I do not see evolution as a salvific issue. Personally I am just fine with God using whatever methods He wished to in order to achieve His purposes. I do not see that particular positions regarding evolution, date of earth, etc. pertinent to salvation. What I do see becoming an issue is a purported “God of the Bible” vs. “scientism” conflict. When the findings of science, which you and I will surely admit are constantly in flux, with new paradigms replacing old ones, become the ultimate criteria of interpreting ALL things, material and metaphysical, then yes, I see a conflict. I do not see the bible as inherently conflicting with science, unless science wanders into realms where it is not equipped to speak.
        I am a yec/ouc. I would be glad to embrace an old earth with it’s evolutionary implications, if I thought it was beyond a doubt established to be true. I do not find it to be so. I think the significant numbers of scientists who are leaving the reservation, so to speak, the Darwinian reservation, speaks to a number of weaknesses and flaws in current Darwinian evolution. When I even see atheists who embraced evolution turning away from it, then I have to ask myself “what’s happening here?”.
        While YEC adherents certainly embrace Scripture, they also have scientific reasons for rejecting evolution. As do ID adherents. As did and do Nagel, Flew, et.al. once they rejected evolution as an explanation of what they came to see in the world, design, complexity, and the need for increase in information, none of which they believe are accounted for in Darwinian evolutionary theory.
        I do not see how someone building an ark poses a significant threat to the faith of evolutionists. Let them build a boat. Meanwhile, the entire govt. sponsored and run academia inculcates the masses with evolutionary theory from elementary school through college campuses. One has to at least learn evolutionary to even make it to a degree. Meanwhile, only a very small percent of young children and young adults are even free to look at creationist viewpoints, and then only in private or religious run schools. So again, I don’t see the threat. Not a real one. So I am left to wonder if this all isn’t more a philosophical battle, at least from the evo school of thought. When I see the hysteria filled reactions to things like the ark, I have to wonder, seeing as how science is supposed to be objective following the evidence where it leads, that such responses are based on pure fear. Fear that science will not reign supreme, will not be the final word on truth.
        If someone is basing their relationship with God on six days or 14 billion years, I would be interested in why. Why those things. Why not sin, repentance, death and resurrection of Christ and belief to salvation. I just don’t see this yec/oec as relevant. So what if I think the earth was created in six days. Has it affected my life in a negative way? Can I not function normally in society because of it? Am I a worse person because of it. As I said, I don’t expect atheists to understand or appreciate my point of view. I do expect, however, fellow Christians to approach any area of disagreement with other Christians in a spirit of humility and compassion, with the ultimate objective to be acceptance and love rather than scientific agreement. I have not even touched on their arguments, or those of ID proponents or those of atheists who have rejected Darwinian explanations, which are, by the way, just chock full of weaknesses and lack any incontrovertible proofs. Now I enjoy a good debate, and always learn something from them when done with good intentions. I will warn again, my Christian brothers and sisters, against the castigation of the body of Christ over something as questionable as science. And while I have seen progressive creationists engage and even demean yec’s, I have yet to see them tackle the more difficult task of dealing with the theological consequences of embracing evolutionary explanations. They are far more important and far more deadly. But that’s for another site. Not here, I suppose. Thanks again for the kind reply..

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  10. Another Ark:
    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ark_van_Noach_(schip,_2012)
    (Corrected Google translate)
    Noah’s Ark (also known as the Ark of Johan, built in 2012) is a wooden and steel reconstruction of the eponymous biblical Ark, built by Dutch contractor and carpenter Johan Huibers. The ark was built as a continuation of the “little Ark of Johan” (built in 2006).
    The Ark is 119 m long, 29 m wide and 23 m high, about the same as the biblical example, but slightly shorter, wider and higher. The ark is seaworthy and can be dragged across the oceans. The floating base consists of twelve welded steel pontoons, along 115 m long and 19 m wide. Then rest the first floor, consisting of nine reverse welded steel pontoons together, coated with wood. Thanks to the pontoons, the first floor needs no pillars, the steel ceiling is supported by the pontoon walls. The second floor, however, has a ceiling that is supported by a forest of poles. The pontoons are old LASH pontoons that sailed for years about the oceans. They are firm but not invulnerable. During a storm in 2011 a pontoon was damaged and got a hole when the ark ripped anchor and crashed in the port. [2] The ark has two spuds as alternative anchors. The huge steel tubes are visible in the amphitheatres.
    Huibers built Noah’s Ark in four years; 12,000 trees were used. The exterior is pine. The construction costs are 4 million Euro. (Compare 100 million USD). The ark was opened in Dordrecht in 2012 for the public.
    This ‘Ark of Johan’ is seaworthy if towed. It is not totally built in wood, even apart from the steel bottom and first floor. The internet page http://www.goudstikker.nl/pdf/houtblad-artikel-mm.pdf describes the building specifications. To assure stability two steel portals and five steel stability crosses / diagonals / braces were necessary.

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  11. I’ve just spotted this – about to take a closer look:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2016/08/creationists-ev.html

    In reply to Jacob, coincidentally I used to work at the Department for Education in London. Which has taken a stance on creationism being kept out of science classes in state schools during recent years. My involvement with the British Centre for Science Education has been purely online and purely voluntary (they have a committee but for whatever reason most who post at the community forum are not on the committee).

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  12. Sensei Kurt says:

    So much written yet it’s based on so much speculation and the admission that the “research” is largely based on visiting on a single day. C’mon. Note: the Ark is so big that thousands of people could be inside at one time on the three decks and you would not know it. And what was the weather like on the one day you visited? Scorching hot and humid days won’t attract as many people. One day doth not a trend make. Also the massive parking lot was created in anticipation of when all phases of the attraction are open over the years; with some photos, the lot is about half full on certain days, and that’s impressive for phase one. I must ask: what kind of research is this?

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    • What kind of research? At a minimum much better research than you did before writing your comment. Did you not read the AiG press release quote I provided. They believed early on that more than 16,000 people would visit on some days in the first couple of weeks. If you expected more than 16,000 people then a 4000 spot parking lot is barely sufficient. So they didn’t build the parking lot solely anticipating further phases opening, they built it for the opening. They have known for well over a year what the first phase would have and yet they still expected much larger crowds. It doesnt’ take much research to realize this. Just follow Ken Ham’s twitter back in January as I have. I would know how many were there because I counted cars which gives me upper and lower bounds. But the most critical piece of data is Ken Ham himself. He referred the Saturday crowd as multi-thousands. Had there been more than 5000 there he would have provided a more specific number. No doubt there were more than on Saturday than the day before when I was there so my estimate is right on the mark. I have plenty of evidence to be quite confident.

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    • don’t worry Sensei. It is totally objective without bias. Trust me. Evolutionists are always objective and fair in their assessment of all things creationists. Nothing here but good ole’ reporting.

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      • Taxpayer dollars will pay for the Ark if it isn’t successful. Ham received about $60 million from bonds that have to be paid back and if his Ark isn’t the success it has been touted to be the poor people in that county will pay for it. Ham used some slick semantics to portray the enterprise as no taxes are being used. It reminds me of politician speak and I do not care if you like that or not. Ham was being disingenuous saying what he did. Link, http://www.oldearth.org/Ark_Encounter_No_Tax.htm

        Don’t say it doesn’t affect taxpayers. I hope it is a success, but the early returns are not looking good. Here in America I have seen too much money spent on unbiblical purposes because the American Church accepted William James Pragmatic philosophy. If it works it must be right. God can and does use our misguided schemes to bring people to Christ. But do not use that guilt trip nonsense on me. Ham spent $100 million on a farce using his “so called” good intentions. I want to know how many will be fed, how many will be healed and how many lonely souls will be helped by this? Will they help the persecuted Christians anywhere? You want guilt trips I have more.

        $100 million, the majority of which the taxpayers of poor rural KY are on the hook for if it fails. You bet I hope it’s a success so somebody gets helped and not hurt. Luckily it isn’t too far from Cincinnati and Lexington, so maybe…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Is everyone here being serious? Really? It’s been open, what, a week or two? And somehow those of you who are critics feel safe in projecting years into the future? Please. All you want to do is criticize. Leave the financial data and go back to science. At least there you could pretend the evidence is on your side. And no, you don’t want it to succeed. Stop using taxpayers to cloak your real feelings. It’s no use for you people to accuse aig of being disingenuous when you are being the same.

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        • johnscorner says:

          Jimmie: I am curious how you come to the conclusion that “the taxpayers of poor rural KY are on the hook for [the Ark Encounter bonds] if it fails”? According to your understanding, how might these PRIVATE bonds become public obligations? The banksters at the Federal Reserve have been able to pull that kind of con on the American taxpayer, but you think the State of Kentucky has pledged public backing in case of bond failure?

          I appreciate Joel’s initial impression; and I have personally experienced Mr. Ham making false comments about me in public, so I am willing to maintain some skepticism. But perhaps things are better than Joel’s (and Joel’s friends’) observations would lead us to think (???).

          Consider Ham’s testimony in his blog post from 8/15 (https://answersingenesis.org/ministry-news/ark-encounter/ark-encounters-responding-misinformation/)):

          ******RELEVANT QUOTES FROM ARTICLE******

          At present, indications are that attendance will be well over the minimum of 1.4 million per year predicted by America’s Research Group—the research estimated 1.4 million to 2.2 million per year. And certainly, visitors are pouring into the town of Dry Ridge, two exits north of the Ark exit, filling the hotels there and impacting restaurants, and other businesses. For instance, Beans Cafe & Bakery . . . is enjoying a significant increase in the number of visitors on a daily basis. . . .

          Richard Hayhoe, owner of Beans, told us, “We appreciate the steady stream of patrons that fuel up in the morning with our fresh baked items or relax later in the day with lunch or dinner.” . . .

          Local residents have told me they’ve never seen waiting times like they now see at the Cracker Barrel at Dry Ridge.

          Managers of the Microtel Inn and Suites and Hampton Inn in Dry Ridge both said they’ve been at or near capacity since July 7. Reservations have increased 45 percent this July compared to last at Microtel, said manager Malish Patel. Every room has been filled every day this month, he said. That’s not normal.

          [–From Cincinnati Enquirer article (http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2016/08/06/one-month-impact-nkys-giant-ark-felt-near-but-not-far/88044342/)%5D

          *******END QUOTE******

          FWIW.

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          • I saw Ham’s post. He could be right that they will hit the lower target. Maybe he has internal data that suggest they will be able to maintain at least 3000 visitors a day through the winter. He mentioned on Twitter that there were 10,000 there this past weekend. That is only 5000/day which is lower that prior weekends. There are always more on the weekend than week days and so they aren’t even pulling in 5000/day average the past two weeks which is still summer vacation time. That wouldn’t seem to translate to over 1.4 million unless Ham is simply extrapolating current attendance over a whole year. I won’t be shocked if they do get the 1.4 million, I expect a big influx early next summer. The question becomes, what about the second year after the most dedicated have come.

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          • I am curious how you come to the conclusion that “the taxpayers of poor rural KY are on the hook for [the Ark Encounter bonds] if it fails”?

            When Ken Ham explained the funding situation to the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce last October, he had only raised $24 million in donations toward the $100 or so needed for phase I of the Ark park. Some more money came from a (largely failed) bond offering, but the majority of the funds came in the form of a $62 million TIF. That’s money given directly to Ken Ham by the city of Williamstown, which Ham gets to “pay back” over the next 30 (!) years through property tax he would have to pay anyway. (Employee wages are also assessed a special 2% tax that goes toward paying back the TIF as well.)

            If the Ark goes out of business in the next few years, that’s $62 million of taxpayer money the residents of Williamstown will not be getting back.

            Perhaps someone can explain how it is not a baldfaced lie when Ken Ham tells the media that no taxpayer money was used to build the Ark.

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            • johnscorner says:

              [T]he majority of the funds came in the form of a $62 million TIF. That’s money given directly to Ken Ham by the city of Williamstown.

              Oh, my! Thank you for those details.

              Now, with the help of your clues, I found this article.

              Quite devastating.

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              • read the article myself. Let’s just hope the writers of the article are at least a bit more intelligent than those responding to the article, from both sides of the aisle. Not being a real estate expert, but having watched a city explode around me, I am not particularly bothered by chances, even ones I don’t approve of, being taken in an effort to grow an area. And yes, they don’t always work. And yes, it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill. I’m not sure what if anything about that isn’t old news. We taxpayers always foot the bill. Nothing is tax free. Nothing is actually free at all. Someone somewhere is paying for it. If there actually is deception involved, well then, Mr Ham will have some “splainin” to do at the bema seat. Meanwhile, decrying the exposure to the taxpayers, others are actually hoping it fails. Seems a bit double minded to me. Seeing as ISIS is killing people, we have an election coming up, our country is about at least 20 trillion in debt (with no actual solution, except, yep, you got it. The taxpayers), perhaps a reduction in the hyperventilating over a wooden ark could be set aside while more important matters are dealt with. Just sayin. Swim safely.

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            • just an aside, but Ken Ham’s face is not bald. Truth in advertising.

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          • wow john, a breath of fresh air. A post from a critic of Ham that merely deals with details in a fair and objective way, no ad hominem attacks, no vitriol. That’s often a rare thing here. Look forward to further posts.

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          • johnscorner says:

            To Chuck, concerning your August 18, 1:26 am comment: “perhaps a reduction in the hyperventilating over a wooden ark could be set aside while more important matters are dealt with. Just sayin.”
            ????!!!!
            “Just sayin” what? . . . I’m really confused.
            Here we’ve got a man who says he is representing Christ. He says his venture is probably the greatest evangelistic effort of the present age. He says, “Answers in Genesis has spent over $100 million in private funding (yes—all of it has been private, despite the continued false information spread by secular blogs and secular media)” . . . and yet we have evidence that some $62 million of the $101 million comes from–not a private bond, but a public bond–a bond that Crosswater Canyon, Inc. and/or Ark Encounter, LLC would have never been able to float on its own.
            Question: Does this man represent Jesus when he prevaricates in such a manner? Is his “yes” yes and his “no” no when he says “all of [the money AiG has spent] has been private”? Or is he speaking from the evil one? (Matthew 5:37)
            You wrote, “[Y]es, it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill. I’m not sure what if anything about that isn’t old news. We taxpayers always foot the bill.”
            No. When my company enters into a loan agreement with a private lender, if I fail to pay it back, the lender him- or itself foots the bill. He or it can’t go crying to the taxpayers to pay back what I owed him/it.
            I will say: I thought Mr. Ham was being straightforward and honest when he has repeatedly pointed to the issue I have always heard about: the state’s 10-year sales tax rebate. (And I applauded him and his supporters for winning the religious freedoms court cases in that matter.)
            But I am appalled at what seems to be his cunning prevarication and/or misdirection. (Kind of reminds me of Bill “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” Clinton.
            Ham says, “Not one cent of government money has been used to build the Ark. Even the tourism sales tax rebate that we won doesn’t start kicking in until July 2017.”
            Brilliant!
            The ark itself, apparently, is owned by a Christian ministry, and was wholly built with private “Christian” money. So we might be able to give him that point on technicalities.
            Yet a majority of the funds for the project as a whole come from a $62 million municipal bond raised specifically for his project. And, just one sentence before his precise comment about how “Not one cent of government money has been used to build the Ark,” Mr. Ham proudly declares, as quoted above, that “Answers in Genesis has spent over $100 million in private funding.”
            Well, technically, legally, to my understanding , no . . . Answers in Genesis hasn’t spent even one dollar on the Ark. Technically, legally, AiG was careful to hive off the Ark Encounter into its own separate for- and not-for-profit entities.
            But now we get into matters that remind me of the problems associated with unmarried, cohabiting people. It is my understanding that, before the law, if such persons ever say something that even implies that they are married, then they are married for the sake of “common law.”
            Is Mr. Ham risking similar things when he speaks so loosely at one moment and so technically correctly at another? And how does such behavior play before a watching world? Is this the kind of behavior for which you want “your” ambassadors for Christ to be known?
            Whatever his or your or my views of the age of the earth, is someone who speaks like this a person you want the world to know as a–if not “the”–foremost ambassador for Christ in the world today?
            Mr. Ham certainly likes to claim a leading spot.
            This latest issue–of which I had been wholly unaware until Paul D mentioned it here–and, then, I did my own homework: this really puts me on edge. Forget the “science” or biblical interpretation/biblical authority question. It becomes a question of character.
            If the project goes down, I can imagine the newspaper headlines. They will be something along the lines of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker . . . or Enron. Really sickening to think about.
            And that’s not hyperventilation over a wooden ark.

            Liked by 2 people

        • johnscorner says:

          I wrote to one of the top people at Answers in Genesis to get his take on the TIF:

          I found this article that summarizes—and provides links to—what appears to be $62 million worth of funds released to Ark Encounter, LLC by the town of Williamstown, KY and the County of Grant . . . based on a public bond. The author goes on to say,

          According to Section VIII of the Memorandum of Agreement, in addition to the $62 million, the city and county agreed to other incentives (courtesy of local taxpayers):
          $175,000 would be given to Ark Encounter to reimburse the amount they felt the property was overvalued.
          $19,000 would go to Ark Encounter’s real estate agent, representing 2% of the total purchase price of the land.
          98 acres of Grant County land would be sold to Ark Encounter for $1. . . .

          The author says—and I’d have to say I would agree with him if these things are true!—“These are perfect examples of public funding.”
          So my question.
          Are these things true? And if not, how and/or why?

          My contact marked his response “Confidential.”
          So I won’t quote his words, but I will convey the thrust of his response.
          1) No $62 million of TIF funds helped build the Ark.
          2) The article that supplied the information was so full of falsehoods that he didn’t think it was worth anyone’s time replying.
          I wrote back:

          I wanted to thank you for taking the time to at least begin to provide a response. I’m curious what the “lies” are to which you referred.
          I re-checked the Bond1of2.png and Bond2of2.png links and they sure look legit. So when you say [what you did about TIF funds], are you saying the bonds referenced on that page were never actually issued? Or, perhaps, that Taxable Industrial Building Revenue Bonds are not the same as TIFs, so the author was misconstruing? Or . . . ??
          However you view the situation, I do see—with relief!—what I had not paid attention to before (all caps in the [Bond1of2.png] original): that “The . . . bonds and the interest payable thereon do not now and shall never constitute indebtedness of the issuer or the Commonwealth of Kentucky . . . and neither the issuer, the Commonwealth of Kentucky nor any political subdivision thereof shall be liable for the payment of the principal of, premium, if any, or interest on the . . . bonds. . . .”

          I sent my email Thursday morning.
          FWIW.
          Further information about the TIF agreements between AiG/Ark Encounter LLC/Crosswater Canyon, Inc and the city of Williamstown, KY, and the county of Grant, KY, you can read what appear to be early 2013 minutes from Grant County here. Ark Encounter material first shows up on p. 54 of the large document. Portions having to do especially with the TIF will be found in Section VI.A.5, beginning at the bottom of p. 71, and on p. 75, Section VIII.B.

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          • Thanks for your efforts here. Very interesting. I had seen the documents before but there is so much terminology in them that I don’t understand that it is hard for me to draw any conclusions other than the money is coming from something other than donations for most of the theme park. Donations of land certainly feel like public assistance in the project. I don’t mind the donation if the county thought that they income generated would make up for the loss but why they don’t just admit they got help and there is risk to the public I don’t understand.

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          • thanks for posting that John. It appears the sky is not falling after all, although I am sure some will still persist in their assumptions, others will find some other way to attack Ham personally, and some will (drum roll) actually talk about science!!

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          • johnscorner says:

            Follow-up to my September 2 post. My high-level contact at AiG replied to my last emailed questions and referred me to the AiG article about what they called the Cincinnati Enquirer’s “hit piece.” He said that, what with all the things going on, he couldn’t afford to “get into a detailed exchange” about any of this.

            After meditating on that article quite a bit more, I wrote and sent him the following summary, hoping, if he felt I was misrepresenting anything, he might choose to reply. I sent the letter very early Monday morning. I have heard nothing since.

            I am quite confident about what I have written here, but I do want to note that no one from Aig/The Ark Encounter has “signed off” on its accuracy.Hopefully this is helpful to someone here.

            I wrote, “If I were summarizing what I’ve gathered, it would be something like this:”

            The Ark Encounter is NOT receiving public funds, even though it IS involved in agreements with public entities, and those agreements include reduced taxes for certain periods of time.

            The key points to keep in mind are these:

            a. All funds that have been put into the project have come from private sources. No public entity invested funds into the project.

            b. What the public entities agreed to is what they often do with commercial development projects they want to attract to their areas: they agreed to accept lower-than-might-be-expected incremental (“marginal”—i.e., additional, otherwise [without the project] unexpected) tax receipts for a specified period of time.

            In the case of the TIFs, the City of Williamstown and the County of Grant agreed to let the Ark Encounter project use “75% of the new [expected] incremental increase in real estate taxes for a 30-year period” to help it pay off its bonds. –That’s what TIF (Tax Increment Funding) districts are all about. They incentivize private investors to do what public entities want them to do: develop (or redevelop) properties that are otherwise not able to produce significant tax revenue.

            It really ought not to be the developers’ (i.e., in this case, AiG’s or the Ark Encounter’s) responsibility to explain why taxing authorities, including the City of Williamstown and the County of Grant, agree to create TIF districts. But because the majority of venom in this case seems to be directed against the developers merely for accepting the exact same kinds of incentives that numerous other commercial developers have accepted from other taxing authorities, it makes sense for AiG and the Ark Encounter to summarize the concept . . . and to explain how and why such agreements are mutually beneficial—to the taxing authorities, to the communities represented by those authorities, and to the developers themselves.

            To the best of our ability to understand things, taxing authorities are willing to offer tax incentives for developers to raise and invest funds into certain designated projects and areas because . . .

            a. The taxing authorities will receive increased direct revenues in the short run (i.e., in this case, the next 30 years). After all, 25% of 1800% (the immediate increase in the value of the TIF district: $3.89M assessed valuation to $76M assessed valuation) is far more than 100% of a 0% increase in value. But that’s only including the tax revenue on the real estate itself for the short term. After 30 years, the property taxes are slated to return to normal.

            Beyond the direct real estate taxes that entities like the City of Williamstown and the County of Grant expect to receive, these taxing authorities recognize that

            b. “[O]ther local taxing districts in Grant County—schools, library district, and so on—will receive 100% of the increased taxes [they would normally impose] as those taxes are not pledged to the TIF district.”

            And then,

            c. All of these taxing authorities recognize that, as development occurs in a community, not only will all property values in the vicinity go up (thus increasing real estate tax income), but they and additional taxing authorities—the State of Kentucky, for example, not to mention the U.S. federal government—can expect to receive indirect tax revenues as other businesses and individuals in the area increase their revenues as a result of the new development (and have to pay taxes on those new revenues they receive).

            As the federal court agreed, all of these reasons for a taxing authority—or for multiple authorities—to agree to tax increment funding are just as valid no matter if there is a “message” associated with the development or not.

            Of course, from the developers’ perspective, it simply makes “good business sense” to invest where the financial and other incentives make the most sense. And for AiG and the Ark Encounter, while we believed that southern Ohio and northern Kentucky made good sense, the TIF district offered by the City of Williamstown and the County of Grant tipped the scale to the particular spot where the Ark Encounter has been constructed.

            Only other comment I would make: Those of us who despise the way in which government entities hand out incentives to developers and football team owners (etc., etc.) can object to the governmental agencies (and fellow taxpayers) about their behavior. But as long as they are willing to engage in these kinds of behaviors, who are we to fault business (and non-profit corporation) owners who take advantage of these entities’ largesse?

            NOTE: The Wall Street Journal featured an article about TIFs this very morning.

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Jimmie Montgomery says:

    My argument, if you want to call it that. (more a complaint) It is simple. I have read the Bible, I even understand parts of it. I see a lot of money being spent on an amusement park that is partially taxpayer supported. I want somebody to explain to me the justification for squandering millions for Ham’s “evangelistic” outreach. How is it Biblical?

    That’s all, it fits into the Gospel message nowhere at all from where I sit. I don’t even care about the snookering of the county giving several acres of land for $1 and the TIF. Irrelevant, it’s a monument to Ham’s vision, no different than Creflo Dollar’s jet.

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  14. Over a quarter million visitors in the first month….that’s getting it done.

    “Fewer visitors than anticipated”? On what planet?

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    • That is a quarter million combined between Ark and Creation Museum. Yep, that is a lot. Never said it wasn’t but not what they hoped or prepared for. The expected in excess of 16,000 at the Ark Encounter on weekends during the first 40 days. They didn’t reach half that number.

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      • johnscorner says:

        Where are you guys finding these numbers? . . . Oh. And if AiG is using COMBINED attendance numbers: I seem to recall reading SOMEWHERE what the attendance at the Museum has been. And I vaguely remember that, whoever had those numbers, showed higher numbers attending the Museum than going to the Ark. . . . (???) –For some reason, AiG’s website is unresponsive right now.

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        • Most of the numbers come from hints from Ken Ham’s twitter feed. He alludes to general numbers. If there is an especially big day he makes a big deal about it. Lately he has said very little which means the numbers have not gone up since the early weeks. He often uses combined numbers so it is hard to figure out how many are really there. I think they are getting enough to be quite viable just not the huge numbers they had hoped or projected. Its hard to imagine any increase over the years even with added attractions. One thing that is certain, the Creation Museum has experience a big increase in visitors which was to be expected though I wouldn’t think they are getting more than the Ark. The Creation Museum tickets help AiG more the totals at the Ark.

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        • careful now John. You’re likely to trigger a pandemic of depression here. Try to break the news gently.

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          • johnscorner says:

            Wow, Chuck! (I’m attempting, here, to reply not so much to the specific comment you made here in direct response to my most recent comment, but to your most recent set of comments, and, most especially, comments in response to Natural Historian . . . including your immoderate “who the h*** cares?”)

            Here’s why I care. And my concern is inspired by no “hate” (that, you say, “almost drips off the screen”).

            The reason I care (for what it’s worth; which may not be much) is because of my answer to your question, “Exactly what damage will the ark do that will have any real negative effect on someone’s life?,” your rhetorical question, “[W]hy not just let the people enjoy their delusions[?]” and your comment, “If you are an atheist, it doesn’t make the slightest difference whether the average Jane and Joe believe in six days, a god, worship a dog, sacrifice their children on the altar to Molech. It just really doesn’t matter. We are just molecules bouncing off each other, dancing to their own DNA. Who are you to comment on their dancing?”

            Let me begin by noting that Joel is very clear, in his statement about who he is and why he has created this blog, that he is no atheist. Nor am I. So your rant about atheists is rather off-topic at least for the person to whom you have vented most forcefully.

            But more to the point of your questions about damage.

            I am an evangelical, Bible-believing Christian. At least, that’s what I was raised to believe I was. (Y’know: “The B-I-B-L-E! Yes! That’s the Book for me! I stand alone on the Word of God . . .”–THAT kind of Christian.)

            I thought I was that kind of Christian until I bumped into Ken Ham and several of his followers about 17 years ago. It was at that point that, because I merely questioned some things about his/their interpretation of the Bible, because I asked some questions about their science, I suddenly found not receiving answers to my questions, but, rather, being charged with “biblio-skepticism,” “compromise,” and worse!

            “Excuse me? I asked an honest question and, instead of an answer, you begin charging me with unfaithfulness to God?”

            Move forward several more years. This really isn’t about me. It’s about all those young people (and others) who Mr. Ham himself, appropriately, notes are leaving the church. My question: Are they leaving because “the church” has failed to hold firm to a young-earth creationist view as taught by Mr. Ham and his followers? Or, perhaps, because Mr. Ham and his followers have no real quality answers to those who question them, and, when challenged, instead of offering valid, useful, truly Biblical and scientific answers, all they have to offer is ad hominems, threats, and their unique interpretation of Scripture . . . and the young people (and others) are simply “not buying”?

            More to the point of this particular thread: What truly scares me about Mr. Ham and his followers: they seem unwilling to hold each other accountable to a standard of honesty and integrity that I, at least, would want to see in those who claim to be leaders in the evangelical Christian community.

            Mr. Ham has repeatedly claimed his project is wholly funded through private sources. It truly grieves me to think that, what appears to be true (and I am trying to figure out how to ask Mr. Ham himself how his claims jibe with the public record concerning a $62 million TIF) . . . –to think that what appears to be true actually is true.

            Then what?

            And what happens if and when that falsehood becomes blatant–i.e., if and when the approximately 3,000 citizens of the city that floated that bond are suddenly left with a massive, multi-tens-of-millions-of-dollars debt? And how will Mr. Ham save the rest of his enterprise (most specifically AiG and the museum) when he has repeatedly spoken so loosely about AiG having paid $100 million on the Ark Encounter project, etc.? [I ask that last question based on the legal maneuver known as “piercing the corporate veil.” –As I wrote in my lengthy August 19th comment, there is a strong legal precedent for that kind of maneuver. It’s done with cohabiting individuals who fail consistently to make very clear that they are not married. It can and does, regularly, occur in the corporate realm.

            So how will the kind of behavior I’m talking about–what appears to be Mr. Ham’s behavior–not come back to bite him . . . and, by extension, all the rest of us who claim to be evangelical, Bible-believing Christians?

            “Let not event the hint of . . . impurity or greed” be found among you (Eph. 5:3).

            Where are the young-earth advocates who are calling for Mr. Ham to hold himself to the highest ethical standards?

            Joel and others of us here may not be Mr. Ham’s closest friends. (Indeed, it’s pretty obvious, he views us as virtual enemies.) But that doesn’t mean we can’t be operating as friends.

            What is that verse? “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Prov. 27:6)?

            Who is the “friend” . . . and who the “enemy” here?

            Liked by 1 person

        • obviously a conspiracy by Ham to hide the truth. When will that man be caught? And tried without jury?
          And hung without trial? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!!!!

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          • No conspiracy. He is just a good sales man. His job is promotion and its understandable that he is going to spin every piece of data to promote his cause. There is no reason why he should have to give us exact attendance numbers or tell us the financial figures, though we will learn the latter in another year through IRS reports. Ham has said he won’t say how many are visiting because atheists will find a way to twist those numbers. Ok, but then don’t be surprised when people speculate what “multi-thousands” means. If there were more than 10,000 visiting on weekend days I find it difficult to imagine that Ham wouldn’t be touting that number because it would be great advertising.

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            • Natural, excuse my French, but who the hell cares? Please tell me you have something better to do. What you are doing here is having zero effect on Ham. Ninety percent of those who post on this site already agree with you. It’s not like they are buying into what you see as Ham’s marketing skills. The ten percent who disagree with you (about evolution, not Ham. He’s not that important) aren’t going to give up their beliefs just because you cant stand Ham (green eggs?). So other than venting and offering others a place to vent, what do you accomplish? It’s just a waste of your life. You seem like a nice guy, good family man, lover of life, the earth, and science. Just seems like a vast expenditure of resources for such a paltry return. But hey, ya do what ya gotta do I guess.

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      • and what exactly do these numbers, assuming any of them are right, tell you. Has the ark closed? Has it defaulted? Is the city going under? Are the trials under way yet? Is the death penalty in play here? Yes, i’m being melodramatic. But not much more than others have been. One would think the crime of the century has just taken place, or that Hitler reincarnated has swung a bond deal that will open the gates to hell. Please people, just be real. All of this whining and hand-wringing is based on little more than people disliking Ken Ham so much that their salivating for something to complain about. The fact is, he’s done nothing wrong (as far as I can tell), broken no laws, employed some people, spread his message (and there, i’m sure, is where the crux of the issue lay). I certainly expect no less from the atheists and evolutionists on board at this site. Just par for the course and consistent with their belief system. Stop trying to couch it all under the banner of “concern for the citizens” or “bond issues”. Such deceit is no less than what you accuse him of. You hate his message, and as a corollary, anything he does. Just say it. Save us time. Just say, “we hate Ken Ham and his message and hope he fails.” There now, isn’t that better. Doesn’t telling the truth give you a sense of peace? Much ado about nothing.

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        • Nothing wrong with holding Ken Ham to his word. He makes grand statements comparing himself to Nehemiah, about how the Ark Encounter will save souls and how millions will flock to see it. Its a pretty big deal. In a way he has made it a referrendum on his ministry. His reputation is at stake since this is his personal mission. Nothing wrong with asking if that mission is succeeding or not. I’m not so much interested in the financial side as I am in the battle for people hearts and minds and yes, I do hope he fails there because a mind and soul are a terrible thing to waste.

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          • i am curiously as to what you offer that is, to you at least, better than what Ham offers. Are you Christian? Atheist? Progressive creationist? Exactly what damage will the ark do that will have any real negative effect on someone’s life? If you are an evolutionist and atheist, I can’t imagine what alternative you could offer that would be such a boon to the quality of one’s life. A world without ultimate meaning? A billion years as stardust? A life with no moral moorings other than personal preference or societies latest ethical fads. Existence as a result of random, meaningless, chemical reactions with no inherent worth or external purpose?
            Don’t read me wrong here. You are certainly welcome to your worldview, your own “ism”. And my statements are intended to demean atheism at large, not individual atheists. They can and do perform good and noble works. They can be nice people and good friends and parents. But why? What for? To make the world a better place? Leave a memorable legacy? Who cares? It means nothing in the long run.
            If you are a progressive creationist, a Christian, then one can only wonder where the hate comes from. It almost drips off the screen whenever I read posts on this site. Incredibly sad. Hey (is it Joel?), why not just let the people enjoy their delusions. If you are an atheist, it doesn’t make the slightest difference whether the average Jane and Joe believe in six days, a god, worship a dog, sacrifice their children on the altar to Molech. It just really doesn’t matter. We are just molecules bouncing off each other, dancing to their own DNA. Who are you to comment on their dancing? On what basis do you make your judgements, a basis that anyone else should care to put stock in or see meaning? One can only wonder how many dances you have missed while obsessed with this man, who seems to be doing more damage to you than if he built the ark in your house. You need to let it go my friend. Even if life has no real meaning, perhaps pretending it does will improve your stay. Wishing you the best.

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  15. So many people today it took 2 hours to get from the parking lot to the ark. Pretty sure they are going to keep the doors open.
    Nice to see so many people in our country still believe.
    We will have to return some day when the crowds are smaller.

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    • Yes, I saw that the crowds were pretty good this weekend. Ham is saying 10,000 CM and AE combined. So may be 8000 at Ark. Imagine what it would have been like if 16,000 or more as they predicted there would be had shown up. As I said before, no doubt many will come but they have to have many to stay viable because its an expensive operation. I expect if you return on Tuesday there will 2000 or view which will mean no lines at all but now that school is going on that is pretty much to be expected.

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  16. We just took 14 family members to visit the Ark the weekend of Sept 16th. We got there 15 minutes before it opened. The lines were FULL and by 12:pm when we were finishing up our tour the place was jammed. Word is just starting to get out about the Ark and more and more people that I know are starting to plan trips. It’s AMAZING and very thought provoking. I love reading non-believers trying to rip it apart and make fun of it and gloat because they say attendance isn’t yet what they predicted. They are SO AFRAID of a Christian based attraction being successful. Poor lost souls, just like those that made fun of Noah when he was building the Ark. I feel sorry for them. The Ark is WELL worth the trip and money and so was the Creation Museum which our family did as well. Highly recommend!

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