Blog post by Jody Ingalls
A Review of the Ark Encounter: Life-size Noah’s Ark
Ready for a roadtrip? The Ark Encounter is 126 miles ( 1 hour and 56 minutes from Elizabethtown, Kentucky)
A two-hour drive from Hardin County, Kentucky’s Ark Encounter is a perfect day or weekend trip for the whole family. The life-size Ark captivated our group of grandparents, parents, teens, and eight-year-olds, making the Ark Encounter one of our favorite Kentucky outings.
The world’s largest free-standing timber structure, the exquisitely-crafted, 510-foot-long re-creation of Noah’s Ark, packed with state-of-the-art exhibits, showcases the wonders of God and the startlingly-beautiful rescue story illustrated and foreshadowed by Noah’s Ark. The Ark Encounter reveals the familiar floating zoo as a scientific and engineering marvel, covering all aspects of the Genesis account, from how the animals arrived on the Ark, to how creatures survived on board, to how life thrived during the year-long adventure.
My favorite part of the Ark was the exhibits that showed how Noah and his family managed feeding, care, and waste disposal for the Ark inhabitants, because, let’s face it, as a mother of five, these are the things that monopolize a lot of my time.
Thankfully, the state-of-the-art Ark Encounter doesn’t just do a top-knotch job of showing how life on the Ark was possible; they also do a fantastic job of making sure your family can arrive, survive, and thrive on your own Ark adventure.
Ample parking lots greeted us at our 9:00 a.m. arrival. Lines at the ticket windows in the parking area had already started to form, undaunted by the day’s rainy chill. (And really, if a family weekend-getaway is going to be threatened by rain, you’d like for it to be the outing to the Ark.) Efficient ticket windows and continuous shuttles to the Ark made check-in easy. Families with strollers had plenty of room on the shuttle, and our party had no trouble locating a wheel chair on arriving at the Ark.
Ticket lines continued to swell after our check-in, making an arrival before 9:00 a.m. or after 11:00 a.m. preferable on busy days.
In the Ark itself, colorful exhibits and life-like re-creations kept even the youngest engaged, and well-placed benches and strategic snack bars, along with a theater event in the middle of decks two and three, helped us pace our group of young to elderly.
The wealth of information unfolded throughout the three full decks was created with obvious consideration for all ages, with fascinating facts accessible to children, complex systems clearly displayed, special exhibits for kids, and thought-provoking concepts for all ages.
The recommended five hours for touring the Ark was pretty acccurate for our crew, giving ample time for those of us who like to view on the run but enticing the ones who like to read every word to walk back through a second time.
Though our group found one day enough to tour the Ark itself, the world of adventure available outside, from Emzara’s Kitchen (a two-story restaurant with a spectacular view of the ark) to the adventure zip line to the petting zoo, camel rides, and fossil dig, provides plenty of fun to justify a two-day pass for a perfect weekend outing from Hardin County. A combo ticket that gets you into the Creation Museum, the sister attraction 40 minutes away in Petersburg, KY, is available for purchase as well.
Throughout the Ark Encounter, painstaking detail re-creates how animals not only survived but also thrived on the Ark.
As we toured, evidence that the Ark Encounter audience is thriving as well was everywhere. A 50-year-old man deliberated with his friend, a mom pointed out a bird frozen in flight to her back-pack-toting 5-year-old, and a guide laughed with a group of red-hatted ladies as scenes from the pre-flood world, the busy Ark interior, and the post-flood rebuilding sprang to life before our eyes.
A video display on the digital sculpting behind the spring-to-life animals on the Ark Encounter captured my attention. One of the sculptors on the video put the dazzling details of the Ark Encounter in perspective: countless hours of creativity and craftsmanship have been invested in the Ark Encounter in an attempt to capture creatures and explain an event that God created and orchestrated with a simple command.
Time passes quickly at the Ark. Weaving in and out of exquisitely-accurate re-creations of life on the Ark, thought-provoking facts and statistics, and interative models of the Ark’s intricacies, its hits you that for the past several hours of entertainment and engagement, you have been walking the breadth and height and length of the Ark…and still not gotten to the end of it.
Not unlike the wonders of God.
If you and your family want to make a trip here are some details to make it a little easier for you.
Address: The Ark Encounter, 1 Ark Encounter Drive, Williamstown, Kentucky, 41097
Website: The Ark Encounter – LEARN MORE
Hours of Operation:
All hours are Eastern Time. Operating hours are subject to change.
Last shuttle bus to the Ark from the parking lot departs 1½ hours before closing (gates for incoming traffic close 15 minutes prior).