Skimpy attendance at the Ark Park?

September 2, 2016 • 1:47 pm

I’ve heard various rumors that Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter, better known as the “Ark Park”, isn’t drawing the huge crowds of goddies—or young goddies-to-be—that it predicted. According to The Friendly Atheist, Ken Ham said the park would lure 2 million visitors a year, or 5,500 visitors a day, but it didn’t even get those numbers the first week it opened. Maybe Ham was lying to draw funds for his venture (after all, he lies to draw people to his ministry), or maybe he was overoptimistic.

Now, according to DeadState, things look even more dire. The site gives some drone footage (video below) taken of the Park’s parking lot last Sunday. Sure enough, it looks like the opening session of the National Procrastinator’s Association.

To be sure, DeadState notes that this footage was taken 30 minutes before the park opened at noon, so it’s not all that convincing. Maybe all the good Christians were in Church that morning and would show up later. Still it’s worrisome—to Ham, not me, as I’m delighted. Who wants big attendance at an exhibit devoted to purveying lies to children?

Well, whoever sent that drone over the Park: please do it on a weekend afternoon. That would be more telling.

h/t: pyers

82 thoughts on “Skimpy attendance at the Ark Park?

    1. You would think that, in a rational world, those who granted the tax incentives would have demanded to see the data backing up attendance claims.

  1. I had never seen a picture from the back before – at last we can see the AC units that Noah must have used to keep the temperature tolerable for the penguins and polar bears

  2. G’wan, that video can’t be real – no one parks that far away from the gate with that many parking spots available.

        1. In the last bit of the car park there are 4 unused buses parked up across parking bays and only on on the road.
          I estimate the number of parking bays at a bit upwards of 3000. So for a nice nuclear family of Mum, Dad and 2.2 children (if that’s realistic), they’re sized for over 12,000 visitors a day, if everyone is there all day.
          Very weird if they built such a huge car park so far from the amusement park. I can’t think of when I’ve seen a car park so big you need buses to get around it – except at airports. But nonetheless, the park is not even 10% utilised, which given my estimates above puts the visitor numbers closer to 1000 than 5000. If there is staff parking there too (or do they get the shuttle bus in from town?), then paying customer numbers are even lower.
          What this really needs is someone to sit there with two counters – in and out – and record the numbers every half or quarter of an hour so you can get attendance in people/day and approximately people-hours/day. The latter would be a metric for shredding their income from advertising. Not that I’m implying that a bit of bog-standard economic warfare would be appropriate. It looks like it’s going to be haemorrhaging money quite satisfactorily.
          Remember, Ken, if Jeebus existed AND loved you, he wouldn’t let you go bankrupt. So you’ve got to back this with every cent you can, to prove your faith in your Lord!

          1. Maybe the staff park under the ark?
            Maybe they can build a massive shopping mall over the existing car park mega space (or a dinosaur theme park)

    1. Perhaps that end of the parking lot is closest to the local strip club, which is a more plausible explanation for where all the xtians are on a Sunday morning.

  3. Yay!
    What a hideous construction, AC towers and all. All power to the empty carpark (assuming its still representative an hour later)

  4. I’m still a bit confused….did god tell Moses to install zip lines as well?

    I understand it could facilitate the transfer of smaller animals and supplies, but I can’t find it in scripture. Much less the AC’s mentioned above.

    1. Well, this article helps. However, there is a good cartoon/meme about this, showing a cutaway of the ark project, and all the modern technology that is being used to build it, which unfortunately I’ve been unable to relocate on the interwebs.

      1. Now that you mention it, methane gas would be a substantial by-product that could be used for propulsion. As long as the dog food held out.

    1. Apparently, it was faith-propelled, the proverbial faith that can move mountains.
      I agree, however, that if this thing can float, then a bunch of helium-filled balloons can make a house fly as in the Up movie.

  5. They should just turn Arc Park into an airport or better yet, a lounge facility for Nasa, to put it to some positive use…

  6. I am surprised the drone did not get shot down.

    It’s hard to think what to use the building for once the business folds. A lot of churches make great places for chamber music. Maybe a repository for discarded weapons and once full, just seal off and leave for two thousand years.

    1. Kinda hard to see, let alone hit with gunfire.

      Are guns permitted in the Ark Park?

      Also hard to justify legally… ‘invasion of privacy’ probably doesn’t work in a park open to the public. ‘Trespass’ might hold if the drone operators hadn’t paid an entry fee, but that still (probably) wouldn’t entitle the park owners to destroy property.


  7. I do not wish to defend the park in anyway but it doesn’t open for another 30 minutes.
    That was filmed at 11:30am on a Sunday, the Park hours start at noon. I want to see another video taken a few hours after this.

    Seeing the back of the ark makes the whole thing look like a bad factory. It is much uglier than I thought it could be. I thought it was meant to at least be a replica.

    1. Doesn’t open for another 30 minutes? Yeah, no one every got anywhere early so they could get a better parking place and not have to wait in line.

      Why most of the theaters around here are empty until the last five miutes of the movie is on.

        1. Well, it looks like running an ark themepark isn’t profitable either.

          Which of course is what everybody who was not blinded by faith predicted in the first place.

  8. I will still maintain that even if attendance were good they will still start losing $ since there is little incentive for repeat visits. That is what big entertainment parks require to survive, and this one aint entertaining enough.

  9. Ham’s new retirement scam project looks better than his last [which was as a prisoner].

    Mostly thanks to Bill Nye, the Oops Guy.

  10. I wonder what they were thinking. Who would want to drive far to see a bunch of stuffed animals? How can this “attraction” ever be viable? Even when the motive is dodgy, to evade taxes and collect public money somehow, they want to make it in such a way that it doesn’t look (too) bad on them. But this method is under public scrutiny. Not really effective. What were they thinking?

    1. Maybe they thought this was an example of “intelligent design”. And by the way, if there had been a world wide flood, Noah and all his kin and animals would have been out of luck in wooden ship like that.

  11. What a remarkably ugly blot on the landscape! The structure on which the ‘ark’ sits looks rather like a tailings dam at a mine site. I wonder if there was an environmental impact statement required to get permission for the development.

  12. How do you sink an ark without water?
    float it on money?
    it will roll about for a while and then sink under it’s own debt, really deep hopefully.

    What a waste.

  13. The best thing about the internets is that we can mock Ken Ham and be relatively certain that he’ll pop in and read the mockery.

    Hi Ken!

    For without the internets our scorn would be wasted on the choir.

  14. Well, to be fair, Ham only needs 8 people to attend the ark park. The millions in attendance predictions can all be descendants of those 8 some time in the future…


    1. I had wondered about that also! But a bulbous bow is only of any use if you are actually moving through the water and, since Noah forgot to fit a rudder and sails, maybe, in this case, it was installed for some mystical reason. Perhaps Ken could explain the purpose?

    2. That was my thought as well. And what’s that structure rising up at the stern? Is it the bridge? Why would they need a bridge for something that’s not propelled or steered?

      Shem (as OOW): “Hey, Dad, there’s a mountain in our way!”

      Noah: “Don’t worry, son, we’ll just swing the rudder hard over and steer around it.”

      Shem: “What rudder, Dad?”

      Noah: “Drat, I *knew* I’d forgotten something…”

  15. Awww shucks I didn’t know they had a neat little pool there. Presumably it is for drowning people in it? Please tell me they don’t drown people in it.

  16. Although I admit to some glee at seeing this enterprise failing, I also feel bad about any enterprise failing. One would almost pity Ham.
    Oh how much better could those millions have been spent, even from a pure business pov.

    1. I have absolutely no sympathy for Ham when this whole enterprise fails (and it will).

      I only feel sympathy for the taxpayers who are effectively bankrolling this project. Their money should have been used for building and maintaining infrastructure and public services. Instead it got flushed down the toilet by incompetent officials.

  17. Why has the Ark got a ram bow?

    There are/were only two reasons I know for a ship having a ram bow. One was in ancient times, on galleys, for ramming an opponent and holing them below the waterline.

    And the other is a modern development, not known to marine architects until the 20th century I think, that the underwater bulge at the front actually decreases the resistance to motion through the water. (Though I suppose G*d, being omniscient, could have told Noah to do it).

    It’s a little bit difficult to understand which of those would apply to the Ark, though.


    1. Your ram bow had to project ahead of your prow to be of any use, which it does not do in this case. It must be something mysterious like God’s way is claimed to be. Perhaps Dog has free will?

      1. Well, calling it a ‘ram’ bow may be a misnomer in a modern context. I’m not sure if there’s a ‘correct’ terminology.


  18. We visited the Ark a few weeks after opening .along with our 2 grandkids (3&5yrs) My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it although the kids did not ! The petting zoo was not quite ready and the zipline just wasn’t for them . Hopefully in the near future a few more things for youngsters to do ! We will definetly visit again next year to see the changes !

  19. I really like the drone footage however. You get a nice look at the lovely forest surrounding the hideous ark.

  20. How about shooting the video on a Saturday or a weekday after the Ark Ecounter is open? I despise Ken Ham and his monuments to ignorance, but this video shows/proves nothing.

    Who is Ham’s target audience? Evangelical Christians.Where will they be at 11:30 AM on Sundays? Church.

  21. Jerry, your wish is apparently the drone pilot’s command – video shot at 1 pm Saturday on Labor Day weekend, lot 1/2 full:

    1. You’d think, to avoid embarrassment, they’d have a smaller parking lot so it would look like a big success. Then again, maybe the idea was, when the first visitors tell others that the Old Testament is true…

        1. I don’t think they can legally ban drones or low flying AC. They’ll be stuck with the embarrassments ’till it’s shut down and boarded up.

  22. Ah ha ha ha

    You post footage taken when the park is not even open, and on a Sunday morning when most Christians would be in church. What a pathetic article.

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