Kentucky might just flaunt the largest timber-frame structure in USA, courtesy of a huge Biblical theme park with the ‘centerpiece’ of Noah’s Ark – being designed by Indiana-based firm Troyer Group. Christened aptly as the Ark Encounter, the theme park will visually showcase the story of the great flood on a grandiose scale. Suffice it to say, the giant installation will complement other creationist accompaniments, including the proximate Creation Museum in the city of Williamstown. And in case you are wondering, the ambitious project is patronized by Answers in Genesis, a Christian fundamentalist organisation that had successfully raised over $24.5 million for the overall $86 million budget of the endeavor.
Painstakingly crafted by Amish carpenters, with the aid of contemporary techniques, the humongous Noah’s Ark in question will boast an impressive 155 m (508 ft) of length and 24 m (79 ft) of width, thus accounting for an area of 3,720 sq m (or 40,000 sq ft) and volume footprint equivalent of two football pitches. Interestingly, while replicating ship-components like a curved bow, stern and sides, the three-floored structure will also feature seemingly ‘open-minded’ displays of model dinosaurs.
Other than just the sheer size scope, the designers have also looked forth to sustainability in their imposing project. To that end, the huge quantities of timber required for the effort is claimed to be sourced from specific forested zones damaged by plagues of beetles or from other sustained woodlands. But the main aim of the project is to endow a modern version of the Noah’s Ark, with the dimensions only replicating the Biblical proportions of the famed ship. As a Answers in Genesis spokesperson made it clear –
The ark is based on the dimensions recorded in the Bible and was designed in accordance with sound, established nautical engineering practices of the biblical era. Through the construction of a massive full-scale Noah’s Ark, the Ark Encounter will present America and other nations with a reminder of the Bible’s account of the ark and the faithfulness of Noah.
Of course, while the gargantuan Noah’s Ark will pose as the piece de resistance within the 324-hectare park, there will be other accompanying structural specimens with the Biblical flair. The planned list includes feature themed restaurants, a petting zoo named as Noah’s Animals, a replica of the Tower of Babel, an aviary with walk-through paths, and a model of a 1st century village with a Middle Eastern setting.
Lastly, beyond the grand visual ambit of the project, the Ark Encounter theme park is also expected to bring some substantial economic benefit to the region, with its goal of employing over 900 people. In that regard, the park in itself will commence business from July of next year, and is expected to draw around one-to-two million visitors in the debuting year. And once again alluding to the symbolic side of affairs, the park will remain open for forty days and nights in the summer – thus equating to the number of days of consequent rain mentioned in Genesis 7:12.