I’ve visited the Creation Museum several times. It’s amazing! Then my mom asked me if I’d like to plan a trip to see the new Ark Encounter. Would I! It’s impossible to keep a balanced perspective when I am over-the-top impressed by what I’ve seen from a distance as it was built. Here goes the up close perspective.
The motel across the street told the truth–they are within sight of the parking lot. Just a note, the place has been described as “dated.” It is, but it’s clean and the staff is friendly and helpful. We met several people visiting the Ark Encounter at breakfast and pooled our knowledge. We’re glad we arrived the night before and started early. Adding to the tourist base for the area is a vote for the Ark. Hint: Remember to leave a tip! The breakfast staff shouldn’t have fallen over in shock when we tipped them.
The shuttle bus
As stroller-pushers we boarded a special bus that also took wheel chairs. I love how accommodating for handicapped people helps in many ways! The very smooth ride again let us meet people who expanded our knowledge base for the day ahead. We talked so much we couldn’t hear the speaker on the intercom, but that didn’t bother anyone. We love our new friends.
Then we caught sight of the Ark. Everyone did at the same time. Wow! It seemed to grow as we came closer. As we offloaded, we barely noticed the rest of the crowd doing what we were doing–walking toward the Ark in almost a trance. Not only is it humongous, it’s beautiful.
We decided to check out the zoo first to avoid the line on the ramp. My mom had hurt her foot, and walking was difficult for her, but she kept up. I had read that the Ark placed benches and chairs everywhere. That is an understatement. Never in the way, but always there when you want one. We loved it! My parents very much appreciated the innumerable benches cunningly set at just the right places all day long.
Li’l Sis had scoped out a bunch of tours on You Tube as I packed the day before. She set her heart on a camel ride. We were disappointed it didn’t open until 11 since we had hoped to do that at the same time. That meant another walk back for my poor mom who should have let us bring a wheelchair. But the zoo was fantastic. The animals looked so healthy, happy and clean. We could smell animals smells, but they didn’t overwhelm us. If anything, they reminded us that Noah and his family lived over a year on the ark with perhaps as many as 7,000 animals. We enjoyed discovering the mostly biblical names that endeared the zoo animals to us. The signage shared very interesting facts. I have to admit I’ve never met such calm goats. They seemed to be bred to live in a petting zoo where hundreds of children and adults would lovingly brush them every day.
We headed back to the Ark and again felt dwarfed by its incredible size. My dad said, “It looks just like the boats I watched being built in the shipyard when I was young.” He studied the huge supporting beams very thoroughly. When you walk away, the size stays with you.
The first rush of visitors had entered, leaving the queue fairly empty. We enjoyed the video of the building of the ark in “fast forward.” The noise and music added a lot of ambiance on the first deck. We almost expected gentle rocking on the waves. The attention to detail astounded at every turn. Also, the sheer number of people visiting in connection to the incredible cleanliness of the floors, bathrooms and food services seemed impossible. With so much to take in, I think those who would deface or damage the displays or walls, are kept involved in viewing everything instead. I did not see one bit of graffiti or food wrappers blown into corners. Even dust was missing. Compared to other museums….there just isn’t a comparison. This is how Christians do it!
I thought that watching videos of Ark Encounter tours and seeing articles in magazines or online could satisfy my imagination. Wrong! Seeing the Ark opened up my imagination to the reality of the Flood. Real people lived on the ark. They ate there, slept there, worked there, and survived the greatest catastrophe the earth has yet known.
I love the science behind the Ark displays. They’ve run the numbers, thought through the problems, and found the answers line up with what the Bible describes. They tell you if they mix in opinion or make logical guesses beyond what we can actually know with certainty.
They showed how they had to rework the inner spaces to provide a venue for us. Then they modeled the real thing the size of my car, cut it open to show the innards and explained how it worked. It’s called the “Half-Ark” I wish I could have spent more time studying it. Since I had lost my family at that point, I had to press on.
To be continued….
Next week I’ll tell you about my family’s favorite spots, highlights, Emzara’s Kitchen, and a few things we didn’t like. I’ll have another blog post after that with a super special project we did while we were there.