Ark Encounter, Kentucky
On 7 July 2016, the Ark Encounter opened to the public in Northern Kentucky, USA. Described as a 'one-of-a-kind historically-themed attraction', the 800-acre biblical theme park's centrepiece is a full-size version of Noah's Ark. Standing at 25 m (81 ft) tall and 160 m (510 ft) in length, it is the largest freestanding, timber-frame structure in the world.
The project has been led by Ken Ham, the founder, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, a creationism group which advocates 'Biblical literalism', that is, the Book of Genesis is historical fact and the Earth is only 6,000 years old.
The Ark was constructed to the biblical dimensions using approximately 7,800 m3 of timber from renewable forests and following LEED-certified methods, including geothermal heating and rainwater capture.
More than 1,000 Amish craftsmen were used to build the ark, adopting timber framing techniques that, wherever possible, replicated those that would have been used in the ancient era, including manually bending the timber rather than steaming it. However, not all the proposed techniques passed building standards – such as the original plan to use wooden pegs instead of steel fasteners.
The first phase of the park cost $100 million and the park's operators plan new additions, including a model of the Tower of Babel and a replica of a 1st century Middle Eastern village. However, it has been beset with controversy for receiving an $18 m tax incentive, for its hiring standards, and for presenting 'anti-science arguments' to children.
For more information, see Ark Encounter.
Images courtesy of ALR Communications.
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