Louisville Magazine

JAN 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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50 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.16 In the distance, the Ark was perched upon a plateau, as if the floodwaters had just reced- ed. Tree trunks, shaved of branches and lopped at the ends, had been angled up- ward, steadying the boat's corners. From this height, they looked like toothpicks, and the Ark seemed no bigger than a raft drifting below the tidal wave of the sky. I was standing in the parking lot of Ark Encounter, a life-sized re-creation of the biblical Noah's Ark, built outside Williamstown, Kentucky, about an hour and a half northeast of Louisville. is was its opening day, July 7, 2016, and around me people streamed between rows of cars and wooden pillars that held up the roof of a building that resembled an unfinished stable, channeling into a maze of ropes to a wall punched with ticket windows, above which a sign listed the prices: $40 for an adult aged 13 to 59. Cheaper than Disneyland. e mastermind behind Ark Encoun- ter is Ken Ham, the famed public school science teacher from Australia who became a leading proponent of "young- Earth creationism," which holds that God created the universe 6,000 years ago — that Earth is not 4.5 billion years old. After forming the ministry Answers in Genesis, Ham moved to the States and headquartered in Kentucky because it's within a one-day drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population. "America is the center of the Christian world and the business world, and this is a tremendous place to be, geographical- ly," Ham told me over the phone in his gravelly, almost purring Brisbane accent. "Plus, we didn't want to be near other theme parks, like Universal and Disney." On the bus that couriered people from the parking lot to the Ark, the crowds were chattering, and the driver, without an intercom, was practically shouting against the hubbub: "e Ark is built 15 feet off the ground and is seven stories tall….It was completed in 2016; the initial project started in 2007…. Behind the Ark is our fascinating Ararat petting zoo….Please take note of where you parked, because we'll be leaving the modern world and going back in time, to Noah's world…." "Golly," someone said when the Ark came into view. "Oh my goodness." "Four guys built that," another man said. "Unbelievable, isn't it?" e doors flapped open and we spilled onto a roundabout, where a loop of buses unloaded crowds and zoomed out to let in more buses. A sign nearby adver- tised SCREAMING EAGLE AERIAL ADVENTURES ZIP LINE TICKETS HERE. A man in a safari hat holding his little boy's hand pointed toward the Ark: "is is a symbol of the mercy of God and also the judgment of God, because God gave us the world but we ruined it and He saved only the righteous.…" In Genesis, God chose Noah to build the Ark because "he was alone righteous and blameless in his time." He was also 600 years old, and his sons (Ham, Shem, Japheth) helped him with the construction. God commanded that "the length of the Ark shall be 300 cubits, the breadth of it 50 cubits, and the height of it 30 cubits." Answers in Genesis used the ancient Hebrew "royal cubit" (20.4

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