Tucked away in the rolling foothills of Kentucky is an attraction that many have heard of, but have yet to see. The Ark Encounter has sparked lively conversations and piqued the curiosity of many.
This full-size wooden replica of Noah’s Ark has attracted visitors from all over the world. It gives guests a glimpse into what life could have been like in the times of Noah and aboard the Ark. We had the opportunity to visit the Ark Encounter at Christmas and got to enjoy the spectacular light display with holiday festivities. Here is what you need to know before boarding the Ark.
Know Before You Go
One of the first things visitors should know is that the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum are two separate attractions. The Ark is actually located roughly 45 minutes away from the Creation Museum in Williamstown, Kentucky. There is not much off the highway exit to the Ark. A gas station, a motel, and a Mexican restaurant.
Parking at the Ark Encounter is $10.00. You can purchase your tickets online or at the ticket counter located in the parking lot. For the 2020 season, The Ark Encounter was granting free parking to seven nearby Kentucky Counties and Dearborn County in Indiana.
Admission into the Ark Encounter can be considered hefty for many, especially if you are bringing your whole family. At $48.00 per adult, $25.00 (ages 13-17), $15 (ages 5-12) admission can add up fast.
My advice is to look for savings or specials to help aid in the cost. If you plan on visiting the Creation Museum purchasing a combo ticket will save you money.
Read more about our visit to the Creation Museum.
Ark Encounter at Christmas
During the holidays ChristmasTime at the Ark has special pricing and offers for guests. The holiday light display and petting zoo are free to the public after 5:00 pm. This does not include admission into the ark, zip lines, parking, food, retail items, or animal rides. This is ideal for guests who don’t want to venture inside the ark and enjoy the holiday festivities.
ChristmasTime at the Ark does have a holiday special for those who wish to explore the inside of the Ark and dinner at the buffet for only $32.99 per adult and youth and $21.99 (ages 5-12) This offer is only valid after 5 pm.
If there are budget concerns this is the time to visit! We also didn’t experience a wait or a crowd and were able to enjoy the Ark at a leisurely pace.
Getting to the Ark Encounter
After you have purchased your tickets you will need to take a shuttle bus to get to the Ark. The buses have a little luggage rack for those who are bringing strollers, diaper bags, etc. They also have wheelchair-accessible buses. The ride time is less than 5 minutes before you are dropped off right in front of the ark. Stroller, wheelchair, and scooter rentals are available at guest services.
About The Ark Encounter
Answers in Genesis constructed the Ark and the Creation Museum to help provide answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis.
The Ark Encounter encourages visitors to develop a biblical worldview as it presents a number of historical events centered on Noah’s Ark as depicted in the Bible.
At 510-foot-long the Ark is the largest timber-framed structure in the world. The Ark is composed of 3.3 million board feet of timber. The impressive craftsmanship and engineering that went into building the Ark are remarkable.
Inside the Ark
There are three decks to explore once you get inside the ark. There is a lot of walking involved so guests with mobility issues may choose to use a wheelchair. Ramps connect each deck and all exhibits are handicap accessible.
Elevators are also available to get between decks. I would allocate 2-3 hours to get through the entire ark. There are restrooms, separate family restrooms, snacks, and nursing areas located inside the ark. There is a lot of literature to read, in the event you get overwhelmed snap a photo on your phone for later.
As you enter the ark it feels as though the flood as just started. Creaking, animal noises and rain can be heard as you make your way through the first deck. I
t is here where you will see how the provisions were stored, the animal’s exhibits and more. An intriguing thought that is brought up is the mention of dinosaurs being brought aboard the ark and that man lived with dinosaurs for many years.
While that topic is highly controversial and can bring about a lively debate, it is quite a fascinating theory. I won’t give away any spoilers on here but encourage you to go and draw your own conclusions.
The second floor of Ark will show you how Noah’s family could have maintained the ark and cared for all the animals during the flood. There are exhibits that will give you a glimpse into life before the flood and the significance of a Biblical Flood.
Intriguing exhibits show how the ark was ventilated, animal waste removed and how they were able to keep drinking water on board for all the living creatures. The Ark Encounter challenges a lot of popular beliefs about Noah’s Ark and the Flood.
Go in with an open mind and take in these different perspectives. It might leave you with a new view of this catastrophic event.
The focus of the top deck is to show the Living Quarters of Noah and his family and how the flood has impacted our world. From addressing the ice age to current geological formations the Ark Encounter tries to answer any questions one may have about the Biblical Flood.
They have a fabulous exhibit called the “Voyage of a Book” which includes original manuscripts of the Holy Bible throughout centuries. Their collection of such precious literature is astonishing.
The final exhibit takes you through why the Bible is True and why one needs to trust in Christ as their personal savior.
Dining Options At The Ark Encounter
If your stomach starts rumbling there are plenty of great places to grab a bite to eat. Grab a BBQ sundae at the Village Smokehouse and Grill or sample the buffet at Emzara’s Restaurant. They have gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options available. The Village Market will leave your belly full of tacos, nachos, pizza, and more. Don’t forget to grab a piece of fudge to conclude your progressive Ark dinner.
But Wait! There’s More!
Once you have seen the Ark there is plenty more to explore! The Monument Walk consists of six monuments that summarize the first six chapters of Genesis in ancient hieroglyphics. Near the Monument Walk, zip lines hang high above beckoning adventurers to soar like eagles.
All ages will enjoy a visit to the Ararat Ridge Zoo which is home to a variety of exotic animals. Tibetan Yaks, kangaroos, and ostriches are a few of the local residents. The petting zoo and fossil find is always a favorite among the younger crowd. There is an additional fee for some of these attractions.
The Ark Encounter At Christmas Time
During the holiday season, the Ark offers a brilliant light display to the public. A Glice skating rink allows guests to skate right beside the life-size ark! Glice skating is $5.00 and includes your skate rental. The petting zoo has moved to a heated indoor location which includes goats in Christmas sweaters!!
Ziplining is available for those who are daring enough to brave the cold. For a slower-paced adventure try a donkey or camel ride!
Things To Do Near The Ark Encounter
After visiting the Ark be sure to check out this great list of other fun things to do near the Ark Encounter.
- Webb Park- Looking for a playground for the children to run off some energy. Webb playground is located on a few minutes from the Ark Encounter.
- Big Bone Lick State Park – Go for a scenic hike, watch the herds of bison while discovering the fascinating history of why mammoths were drawn to this location.
- Kincaid Lake State Park- Plenty of great hiking trails, boating, and camping.
- Explore the nearby city of Lexington by checking out these Top Things to do with Kids in Lexington.
- Discover the Family Fun Things To Do In Nearby Cincinnati.
RV Parks and Campgrounds Near The Ark Encounter
- Big Bone Lick State Park – Our preference for camping near the Ark Encounter would be to get a campsite at Big Bone Lick State Park. Closer to the junction of 71/75, this State Park has herds of bison, a museum, plenty of trails, mini-golf, and more. This is ideal if you are planning on visiting the Creation Museum as well.
- Kincaid Lake State Park
- 1-75 Camper Village
- Oak Creek Campground
- Three Springs Campground
- Whispering Hills RV Park
- DayDream Acres
The Ark Encounter is an attraction that is definitely worth seeing at least once. The Ark itself is a sight to behold. They have pass options available for those who looking for multiple visits. Along with combo tickets/ annual passes to the Creation Museum and the Ark. Read more about the Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis and start planning your visit today!
We would like to thank Answers in Genesis for sponsoring this post. As always opinions are my own.
Looking for another fun road trip? Consider visiting Indiana’s Amish Country.