Noah's Ark theme park in Kentucky to open July 2016: founder

Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:17pm EST
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By Steve Bittenbender

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - A controversial Noah's Ark-themed amusement park in Kentucky will open on July 7, 2016 and should attract 1.4 million people annually, the park's founder said on Thursday.

Currently under construction in Williamstown, northern Kentucky, Ark Encounter will include a full-sized wooden replica of the ship from the Biblical story of Noah and the great flood.

Ken Ham, president and chief executive of Answers in Genesis, the Christian organization behind the project, announced the opening date at a press conference and said the park will be able to accommodate 16,000 guests per day.

"It'll certainly be one of the biggest Christian attractions in the world," he said from the site of the park.

In the summer of 2014, Kentucky officials awarded the park’s developers tax incentives, potentially worth more than $18 million over 10 years. However, state officials in December pulled the credits after developers said they would only hire workers who shared their fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

Ark Encounter officials then sued the state in federal court in February to get the incentives reinstated.

The opening date for the park was based on a verse from the book of Genesis - the seventh verse of the seventh chapter details when Noah and his family entered the ark, Ham said.

Because of the perceived high interest in the park, he said attendance will be limited for the first 40 days and nights, tying the opening again to the Noah story, Ham said. Those tickets will be available for purchase in January through an online reservation system.   Continued...