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    Being raised in a Christian household meant I heard Bible story after Bible story from my parents, my grandparents, my Sunday school teachers and the volunteers at my church's Vacation Bible School every summer. And though my young heart loved the Biblical story about Jonah being swallowed by a monstrous whale and also the timeline of Jesus' birth, my favorite was always Noah's Ark.

    How does a kid not fall in love with the idea of living on a giant houseboat with two of every animal? 

    So even though the complicated tax money controversy gave me mixed feelings about Answers in Genesis' new Ark Encounter, I was kind of stoked when my family decided to take a trip to see Kentucky's latest attraction. And after boarding, exploring and leaving the freshly-built behemoth, I can honestly say it was nothing like what I had originally expected.

    Here are five thoughts I had at the Ark Encounter.

    1. I thought it would be bigger. 


    Image: Carly Garcia

    Located in the middle of a large field in - let's be honest - the middle of nowhere, the giant replica of Noah's Biblical ark sits proudly. And though it is undeniably gigantic, it's really not as big as I had imagined it would be. Built according to Biblical records, the ark replica is approximately 510 feet long and only about 50 feet tall. I was expecting a structure bigger than my imagination. But then again, the purpose of the Ark Encounter is to give today's generations a realistic view, so a giant ship may have been out of the question.

     

    2. What an adorable police dog!

    Tip: If you're planning to do drugs at the attraction or to bring something suspicious, I suggest you don't. Like other tourist attractions and theme parks, the Ark Encounter requires all personal bags to be searched before entering. However, unlike most other attractions and theme parks, personal bags are searched not by a security guard at the entrance, but by a police-trained German Shepherd. It was definitely the first time I had my H&M satchel searched by a canine, but with levels of security increasing all over the world, especially spots with as much controversy as it's had, I'd be surprised if it's the last. 

     

    3. What am I even looking at?


    Image: Carly Garcia

    As a child, I imagined Noah living on the ark with every breed of dog, every rare bird and every other conceivable type of animal out there. But, according to Answers in Genesis' Biblical research, Noah only brought two of every kind of animal onto the ark. And according to the Bible, a "kind" refers to an entire species. This means each set of animals reproduced to create the breed varieties of each species we know now. So perhaps no Chihuahuas or Labradors were on the ark, but rather just a couple of prehistoric wolves. However, if you don't read the informative posters all over each wall of the ark to learn this fun fact, you might find yourself confused at exactly what animal you're looking at.

     

    4. Noah's sons were kind of hot.


    Image: Carly Garcia

    Sure, the Ark Encounter details what the living situations for the animals were like during the Biblical voyage, but what would a realistic experience of Noah's ark be without depictions of the human living quarters too? Though actors would have been a fun and interactive option for these exhibits, I'm definitely not complaining about the muscular wax figures of Noah's sons. 

     

    5. What do you mean we can't zip line?


    Image: Kentucky Tourism

    The ark has three decks full of exhibits, which overall takes about three hours to explore. And with each adult ticket costing a whopping $40, the Ark Encounter advertises much more than a museum of Biblical facts. Outside the ark is a restaurant with a small menu full of family-friendly options, a mini zoo and a petting zoo. Camel rides are advertised, but are not yet open to the public and will cost an additional fee when they do become available. An exciting zip line course is advertised as well, but is also not open to the public just yet. 

     

    With all things considered, the Ark Encounter made for an interesting experience. More like a museum than an amusement park, the Ark Encounter touches on everything from the ice age to the negative impact of fairy tale versions of the story of Noah's Ark. And whether you're religious or not, many of the claims made at the attraction by Answers in Genesis are presented with some kind of science, which will give everyone something to analyze and consider.

     

    Image: Carly Garcia

     

    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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