Skimpy attendance at the Ark Park?

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 Comments

  1. George
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Are you implying that all those Kentucky tax dollars were not well spent?

    • Dave
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      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.

  2. Posted September 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    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

    • somer
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      notice though no windows or airholes – so they must have had A/C and artificial lights in Noah’s day

  3. busterggi
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

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

    • John Conoboy
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Probably employee parking.

      • somer
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        there seemed to be a shuttle coach from carpark to ark, and no doubt more later on

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          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!

          • somer
            Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

            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)

      • Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        That makes it even worse!

    • steve oberski
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      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.

  4. somer
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

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

  5. sshort
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      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.

  6. Damien
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    It looks like people are supposed to park and then take a shuttle to the Ark.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      Okay, but what about the animals? Are they expected to trot for miles on that hot pavement?

  7. George
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Different subject – Caitlin Flanagan reviews Wolfe’s latest in NYTimes – writing in Wolfian style. Just like Jerry. Although both pieces were submitted some time ago.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/books/review/tom-wolfe-kingdom-of-speech.html

    She calls it a “qualified success.” Barely mentions evolution – focuses on Noam Charisma.

  8. Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s a poor replica even if the ark were real. That thing certainly won’t float.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      But you do have to admit that it has a well-designed, streamlined hull that promises minimal drag as sits motionless in the water with no propulsion system.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        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.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      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.

  9. gabriella garzon
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

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

    • busterggi
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      All that blacktop would make for a dandy solar energy collector base.

  10. Kevin
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Do the ark owners own the air space above the ark? Would they shoot down a Piper Cub?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:47 am | Permalink

      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.

      cr

  11. Alex Shuffell
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry, you mentioned that already. I’ll sit quietly in the corner.

    • busterggi
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      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.

  12. jeffery
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Probably cost a million dollars just for the blacktopping….

  13. nickswearsky
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Shouldn’t that park be closed on Sundays? Making employees work on the day of rest is a bit ungodly, no?

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I thought; and the employees have to be Christians! Don’t they know about the guy in the Bible who was killed for picking up sticks on the Sabbath?

      • Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        They probably think it gets a pass, being god’s work, and all. Rather like conducting a church service.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Picking up sticks wasn’t profitable.

        • compuholio
          Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

          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.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      If they followed Biblical instructions, the day of rest would be Saturday.

  14. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    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.

  15. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Is that free parking for forty days and nights?

    I wonder if he has flood insurance?

    • Leslie
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      You win the Internet today 😃😄😅

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

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

    Mostly thanks to Bill Nye, the Oops Guy.

  17. Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    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?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      Thinking is not a positive trait in his business. You gotta believe.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      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.

  18. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • somer
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Luv the Olde Worlde white concrete

    • Dave
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Well, we have to remember that gawd didn’t give a shit about the environment either.

  19. Dave
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    How many trees and animals died to allow this monstrosity of a boat that could never float.

  20. Leslie
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Ham’s plan was based on Mel Brooks’ movie, “The Producers”?

  21. keith cook + / -
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Billy Bl.
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      What a waste of nice-looking countryside too.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      Elegant metaphor.

    • Posted September 3, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      “To give purpose to an arc, it needs a certain debt”*

      *debt/depth

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      I wondered if that little pond was supposed to symbolize all the water.

  22. P. Puk
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    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.

  23. Posted September 2, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  24. Scote
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    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…

    🙂

  25. Posted September 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know they knew about 20th century bulbous bow design in 2500 BC. Noah was a brilliant engineer.

    • Stevenh
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      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?

    • Richard
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      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…”

  26. Roger
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    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.

  27. nicky
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    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.

    • compuholio
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      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.

      • nicky
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 6:01 am | Permalink

        Well yes, my sentiments too. Note I said ‘almost’.

  28. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    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.

    cr

    • Stevenh
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      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?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 4, 2016 at 1:18 am | Permalink

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

        cr

  29. Mike
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Seen one Ark, you,ve seen em all.

  30. D horn
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    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 !

    • Filippo
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . thoroughly enjoyed it . . . .”

      What did you thoroughly learn in an objective, evidence-based way?

  31. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

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

  32. Posted September 3, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    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.

  33. Erik Wiseman
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:34 am | Permalink

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

    • Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:36 am | Permalink

      Thanks; I’ll post this!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      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…

      • Posted September 4, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        You’d think, to avoid embarrassment, they’d ban drones from the grounds. Probably they will soon.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 5, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          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.

  34. Joseph Lapsley
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    That seems like a fair amount of cars. Far more than the “museum,” or whatever it is, warrants.

  35. HaggisForBrains
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    sub

  36. Bob
    Posted September 5, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Half full on Labor Day weekend Saturday is not much business.

  37. Kevin Grant
    Posted September 6, 2016 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    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.

    • Posted September 7, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

      You apparently missed the other posts in which we posted videos taken when the park was open, and not on Sunday. What a pathetic commenter. A ha ha ha.


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