How To Do The Ark Encounter: Tips for Family Vacation

We’ve all read Noah and the Ark, but after experiencing the rich story telling of the exhibits at The Ark Encounter, I have a renewed reverence to this part of humanity’s history. Classical educators talk about living books; this is a living experience!  The artistry, craftsmanship, and clear desire to share Biblical truth is inspiring.

Here’s some tips to making your trip to the Ark Encounter the best ever!

If you would like to watch the recap video of this trip, go click here to view it on our YouTube Channel!

  1. Come in September! There were so few people there, it was remarkable! We could linger as long as we wanted all along the way without fear of people waiting behind us.
  2. It’s quite a journey to get to The Ark. Once you have arrived on the property, there’s parking, a required shuttle ride by bus, then another 5 minute walk to get to the entrance of the Ark. So don’t accidentally leave something in your car! Even on a super light day, this process took 25 minutes.
  3. When you first step off the shuttle, there is a big building to the left that serves as a meeting place, but also has a lot of souvenirs. Many of these items are the exact same as what you can buy in the Ark gift shops. Take a look inside this building and make a mental note of what they have for sale. Plan to buy what you can there in your way back to your car. There is usually a wait for the shuttle, so it will give you something to do and  will save your arms from carrying around your new treasures throughout the rest of the attractions, which includes a petting zoo, zip line, gem dig, playground, and food huts.
  4. You enter the Ark in what I would call the belly of the ship. There are beautifully maintained flowers and plenty of shade, so don’t worry about standing in the hot sun.
  5. Once you are inside, there are 3 full floors to visit. The most stunning feature was looking up into the skylight in between the floors. Every inch inside the Ark is filled with life size exhibits of animals, what their cages may have looked like, potential ideas for how Noah’s family lived inside the ark; including food storage, a ventilation system, work areas, a kitchen, and bedrooms. There were gift shops on every level. Some of them to hold unique items, but for the most part, everything can be bought in the main gift shop on the bottom floor- many of these gift shops support those in need in 3rd world countries.
  6. There is so much to see inside the Ark, that I would suggest allotting a full day to be there.
  7. We were encouraged and thankful for how important it is to Answers in Genesis that the Gospel message be shared. They had a large museum style exhibit of a comic strip telling a story of redemption. At the end of it, they had Gospel tracks free for people to take.
  8. Part 2! The outside stuff! Once you have had your fill of the Ark, there are all the other things to do. Take note: The outside activities close a full hour before the Ark does. We weren’t aware of this and had to rush through to do the few things we had told the kids we would spend money on. Petting the animals is free, but camel rides, digging for geodes, and the zip line are not.





Creation Museum Tips

This past September we ventured to the great unknown of Kentucky. There aren’t a lot of reasons for us to visit this beautiful state; however it is home to what is becoming the most popular attraction for Christians: The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. This is a brief synopsis of our time just at the Creation Museum.  Although they are owned by the same company, Answers in Genesis, and have the same mission to share the gospel message through Creation and the Fall, I wanted to make sure that you know they are very much two different places separated by 43 miles of highway.

We went Wednesday, September 16- what seems to be the most ideal day to go. There were zero lines, it was pleasantly hot, and all of the attractions within the museum were still running (nothing was down for off season maintenance- this did happen to us at other places along our road trip.)

The most impressive part of this museum is the palpable desire for the world to understand how deeply sin has affected humanity and how much they want people to know the love of Jesus.

Be prepared: there’s A LOT to do. Bookstore, zip line, feeding animals, and other little places to buy things. The location is somewhat remote, so if you plan to eat, bring your own food or be prepared to eat at the café. It has decent prices, but not as cheap as McDonalds.  You can spend some serious cash here!  Homeschool moms- the curriculum is not cheaper in the bookstore than it is online, so no need to save luggage space for next year’s science curriculum.

There are exhibits of all kinds: butterflies, dinosaurs of course, and other animals, and artifacts. I wasn’t prepared for some of what, I would consider, mature content. When we first walked into the exhibit, there were large posters of the Holocaust and 9/11. These are great representations of sin, but for a 6-year-old, they might be alarming- and right at their eye level. Also, Adam and Eve could have been covered a little more.

The outdoor gardens are beautiful. You could spend a full afternoon here if you choose. If you want to enjoy your time at the Creation Museum and all of it has to offer, you need to plan to be there from open until closing. We didn’t have time to spend two full days in Kentucky, so we chose to make our visit a quick 2 hours.  To see a 4 minute highlight video visiting the Creation Museum, check out our YouTube Channel here.

We will have a review of the Ark Encounter up next!

Also, there is a fun little zoo not too far from here if you want to dig deeper into the animal kingdom! It’s called the Down Under Zoo. You can pet kangaroos and all sorts of animals from Australia. They also have a mini-cave on the groups. If you want get a feel for the caves in Kentucky, you can get it here without dealing with the crowds and costs at the more well known cave places nearby.