Visiting the Ark Encounter is an unforgettable experience. Nestled in northern Kentucky, this biblical theme park is one of the most unique places to visit in America, regardless of your religious beliefs or background. The Ark Encounter offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Noah and the Great Flood. The site features a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, interactive exhibits, restaurants, and other attractions.
I visited the Ark Encounter with a group of six other people. We had all heard about the Ark and wanted to see and experience it for ourselves. One of the group members had been to the ark several times and acted as our guide. We found the experience fascinating and it far exceeded our expectations.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about visiting the Ark Encounter, so read on if you’re looking for tips and advice on planning your perfect trip!
What Is The Ark Encounter?
The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind theme park attraction that showcases a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, the vessel that saved his family and all the animals during the Great Flood, according to the biblical story. The ark is an impressive sight to see. Built according to the specifications described in the Bible, it spans 510 feet in length, is 85 feet wide, and towers 51 feet high. The ark is the largest wooden timber frame structure in the World and an engineering masterpiece.
The ark is a popular tourist attraction and a magnificent display of craftsmanship, as it was designed to be as historically accurate as possible. The inside of the Ark features multiple exhibits illustrating the story of the Great Flood and its aftermath. Visiting the Ark Encounter is a unique experience and a great way to learn about one of the most iconic stories in the Bible.
Whether you’re religious or simply curious about history, the Ark Encounter offers an unforgettable experience. Visitors can explore the impressive structure and learn how Noah and his family saved animals from the flood. There are also various theaters where you can watch movies about the ark and the Bible. It’s a fascinating piece of history and engineering that will leave you in awe of what humans can achieve.
But there is more! Besides the ark, there are several other attractions, such as the Ararat Ridge Zoo located behind the ark, a zip line, and a virtual reality experience, “The Truth Traveler’s A Flood of Reality.” I enjoyed the petting zoo and the virtual reality experience was great fun. It was like being in the ark during the flood.
Where Is The Ark Encounter?
The Ark Encounter is located in Williamstown, Kentucky, about 40 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio, and north of Lexington, right off Interstate 75. The site is easy to reach by car and ample parking is available.
The site is open year-round, but the hours vary depending on the season, so check their website before you go. Generally, the Ark Encounter opens at 9 a.m. and closes between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., depending on the season.
How Long Does It Take To Tour The Ark Encounter?
A common question that many visitors ask is, “How long does it take to tour the ark?” The answer to that question is, “It depends!” You’ll want to make sure you clear your schedule for a good chunk of the day! While the exact amount of time you’ll need will depend on your pace and level of interest in biblical history, most visitors spend around 4–6 hours exploring the various exhibits, shows, and activities.
The ark is a massive structure that’s over 500 feet long with multiple levels to explore. Many people spend the entire day there. We were there from the time it opened until evening, and we still missed a few things.
There are three decks to view. Deck 1 provides an overview of the biblical ark’s size and teaches where and how items were most likely stored on the ark and how the animals were cared for.
Deck 2 highlights the pre-flood world and focuses on Noah and how God may have prepared him for building the ark.
Deck 3 shows plausible living quarters for Noah and his family, although I doubt they were as lovely as depicted in the Ark Encounter. It also reviews flood geology, what happened after the flood, and a Museum of the Bible exhibit.
There’s just so much to see, from the exhibits and petting zoo to the zip lines and dining options. They even give camel rides. One thing’s for sure — you won’t be bored at the Ark Encounter!
Admission To The Ark Encounter
To enter the Ark Encounter, you need a ticket, which you can purchase online or at the ticket counter on arrival. We bought our tickets in advance to avoid the line waiting to purchase.
The ticket includes access to the Ark Encounter exhibits, restaurants, and other attractions.
The prices vary depending on age, with discounts available for children, seniors, and groups. Kids under 10 are free for 2023. Some attractions like “The Truth Traveler’s A Flood of Reality” have an additional fee.
Dining At The Ark Encounter
The Ark Encounter has several restaurants and food options, ranging from fast food to sit-down dining. You can find typical American fares, such as burgers, fries, and pizza, as well as healthier options, like salads and vegetarian dishes.
When I visited, we ate at Emzara’s Kitchen, a two-story family buffet-style restaurant. The prices were reasonable, and the food quality was excellent. There is also a snack stand near the Ark, where you can grab a quick bite.
Be aware that the restaurants at the Ark Encounter tend to get crowded during peak hours, so plan accordingly.
Tips For Visiting The Ark Encounter
If you’re planning a trip to the Ark Encounter, you’re in for a treat! These tips will help you prepare and best use your time at the Ark Encounter.
Plan A Visit During Off-Peak Times
Try to visit the Ark Encounter during off-peak times. Mid-week and off-season will help you avoid large crowds and make your experience more enjoyable.
Visit The Ark Encounter Website
Before your trip, verify the days and hours of operation before your trip. Check for special pricing options and special events that might make the ark extra crowded on the day you plan to attend.
Plan For A 4- To 6-Hour Visit
Plan to spend at least a half-day at the Ark Encounter. There is much to see and do with various galleries and exhibits, plus an outdoor area. You don’t want to rush through and miss things. We visited for an entire day.
Purchase Tickets In Advance
Purchase tickets online to save time and money.
Wear Comfortable Shoes And Clothes
Wearing comfortable shoes is a priority. You will be doing a lot of walking both inside the ark and outside. The Ark Encounter is wheelchair accessible. There are wheelchairs, scooters, and strollers available for rent. There is a lot of movement, so comfortable clothes are essential.
Beat The Crowd
The Ark Encounter opens at 9 a.m., so arrive early to explore all the exhibits before they become crowded. We arrived around 9 a.m., and there was already a line, but we had purchased tickets in advance, so we didn’t have to wait.
Download A Map
Download the Ark Encounter map (PDF) or pick one up when entering the ark. It provides helpful information and provides instructions for downloading their app.
Bring A Camera
The Ark Encounter has several great photo opportunities.
Bring Sunscreen, Sunglasses, And A Hat
If you plan to be outdoors in the zoo or ziplining, be sure to bring sunscreen and remember to apply it, and wear your hat and sunglasses when heading outdoors.
Consider A Combo Ticket
Consider buying a combo ticket that includes access to the nearby sister attraction, the Creation Museum.
Pro Tip: I highly suggest the combo ticket. Go to the Creation Museum on the first day and then the Ark Encounter on the second. The museum lays the groundwork for the ark information.
Most importantly, remember to have fun! The Ark Encounter is a great place to learn about Noah’s adventure, ride the zipline, pet the animals, and spend time with family and friends.
Visiting the Ark Encounter is an educational, engaging, and awe-inspiring experience. The site has something for everyone with its stunning replica of Noah’s Ark, fascinating exhibits, and diverse attractions. Whether you are a believer, a skeptic, or somewhere in between, the Ark Encounter offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on one of the most intriguing stories in the Bible. So, pack your bags, gather your family or friends, and head to Kentucky for a memorable adventure at the Ark Encounter.