Williamstown, KY (July 7, 2021)
As the Ark Encounter celebrates its fifth anniversary today (July 7), the internationally popular life-size Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky is seeing record crowds—with attendance returning to pre-pandemic levels and beyond—and is announcing future expansion plans which include a Tower of Babel attraction that will tackle racism issues, showing how all people groups have developed from one biological race.
Ken Ham, founder and CEO of Answers in Genesis, owner and operator of the Ark Encounter and its sister attraction the Creation Museum, noted: “Compared to other national attractions right now, we are blessed. We don’t know of any that are seeing numbers equivalent to or better than their 2019 attendance. Ark attendance will only increase as more international visitors resume traveling and as bus tours return to levels we’ve experienced before, such as up to 50 tour buses in a day. I believe this summer will be our best season ever, particularly with our 40 Days & 40 Nights of Gospel Music, August 2 – September 10.”
On recent Saturdays, the Ark has drawn over 7,000 daily guests. As a result of excellent 2021 attendance, area hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses are booming. “An incredible number of visitors are coming to the Ark and Creation Museum and hotel occupancy in the region reflects that,” said Julie Kirkpatrick, president/CEO of the tourism group meetNKY. “Florence hotels ran close to 77% occupancy in May; the national average was 59.3% as reference.”
Last week, the Ark Encounter, which features a 510-foot-long Ark as its centerpiece, was named Kentucky’s “most popular attraction” by Attractions Magazine, based on number of Google reviews. In five years, the Ark Encounter and the high-tech Creation Museum in Petersburg have made northern Kentucky the leading faith-based destination in America. With much more still to come on the 800-acre Ark site, attendance and economic impact will continue to grow.
As the pandemic slows, the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are seeing many more people willing to travel. Attendance at the Ark and museum is equal to their excellent 2019 numbers, and on many recent days, record attendance is being set at both facilities. The numbers are even more impressive when noting that very few motor coaches have been arriving— people are only now beginning to feel more comfortable traveling by bus and sitting among other passengers.