If you are looking for a fun spot for a mini vacation, a visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, might be just the spot. This attraction is family friendly and offers way more than just touring a replica of Noah’s Ark.
Our family was actually planning on going on a beach vacation this summer. We hadn’t been to a beach for a few years, so we were excited to go. However, it didn’t quite work out the way we had planned. A couple days before we were supposed to leave for our vacation, our air conditioning unit broke—and of course, it was during some of the hottest days of summer! We aren’t exactly sure what happened, but the repairman thought it might have been a power surge that fried the control panel in the furnace. Now, to replace this control panel wasn’t really that much, maybe only a few hundred dollars, but, if it was replaced and the furnace didn’t fire back up, that would mean that we would need a new air conditioning unit and furnace, which would be a multi-thousand dollar expenditure.
We probably could have still gone on vacation, but not knowing the total expense, we didn’t want to strain our budget too much. We scrapped the idea of the four-day beach vacation and started to look for something a bit closer to home. So we decided to take a mini vacation to the Ark Encounter. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Yes, an unexpected expense popped up, and we had to change plans, but we didn’t have to let it stop us from still having a fun family getaway.
**By the way, this scenario is exactly the reason why you should always ask about the cancellation policy for hotels or vacation insurance for flights, so that if something happens last-minute, you aren’t stuck paying for a vacation that you don’t get to go on.**
A Review of the Ark Encounter
We really didn’t know what to expect when we decided to visit the Ark. I guess we thought that it’d maybe be like a museum of sorts. But it was actually so much more. We just got the one-day ticket for the Ark Encounter—which is actually a two-day ticket, because you are able to come back for free the next day if you couldn’t get everything done in one day. At first glance, you may not think that you would need an additional day to come back, but the exhibits are packed full of so much information, an extra day definitely allows you to take your time and not feel rushed, especially if you want to attend the presentations at the Answers Center—and trust me, you will want to attend those!
Tour the Ark
But there is also more to do than just tour the Ark. On each level of the Ark, there are videos which help to tell the Biblical story of the Ark, but gives it a modern times setting. The Ark is set up, interpretively, in a way that may have been similar to how Noah’s Ark might have been. You will learn about animal kinds, how the Ark’s design would have made it possible to withstand the flood, the history of the Bible around the world… and so much more!
Attend a presentation at the Answers Center
There are also presentations and movies happening all throughout the day in the Answers Center. These presentations change throughout the year, so each time you visit, there may be different things going on. When we were there, the Ark Encounter founder, Ken Ham, was speaking at one of the presentations. Honestly, I had never heard of Ken Ham or even knew that he was the founder of this attraction, but I was blown away by his knowledge and ability to explain the scientific evidence and facts that supports the stories and events of the Bible. We also watched a few of the movie presentations about Biblical history as well.
In the book store at the Answers Center, there are several resources for anyone to enjoy, as well as creation based Christian curriculum for homeschooling.
Ararat Ridge Zoo
Just outside of the Ark, is a path that leads through a zoo. It was a relatively small zoo, but you were able to get a clear view of the animals. They also have a petting zoo with smaller, farm animals. You can even ride a camel (although this is an extra charge).
There are also beautiful garden areas and displays alongside the zoo’s walking paths.
Dining Options at the Ark Encounter
There are several places to grab a bite to eat. There is a sit-down restaurant, Emzara’s Buffet, which was extremely crowded, so we decided to get food from the quick-serve shops. My sons had pizza from the Pizza Wings & More restaurant, while my husband and I got BBQ sandwich meals from The Village Smokehouse and Grill. All of the food was good and reasonably priced.
There is also a nice playground for your kids to play on and take a break. And there’s even a small zip line for the younger adventurers!
Zip Lines and Jump Tower
If you are looking for adventure, you can zip line over the Ark Encounter or jump from a free fall tower, you have the opportunity to do so at the Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures; however, this is an extra charge.
Get a combo ticket and see the Bible Museum
There is an option for a combo ticket to also visit the Bible Museum. Buying the tickets together definitely saves you money. We didn’t buy the combo ticket though because of the limited time that we had on our overnight trip.
Christmas Events at the Ark Encounter
We were at the Ark during the summer, but there are also fun things to do at the Ark Encounter at Christmas. There will be festive lights, Christmas shows, and even ice skating.
The Ark Encounter is an experience like no other…
We were surprised at the amount of scientific facts and historical facts were presented at the events at the Ark. Sometimes, it is hard to understand how the Bible, science, and history all overlap, but the presentations and movies make it easy to understand and present a lot of evidence to support the Bible and it’s stories. If you have questions about the Bible and how it fits in with science, history, or even current events, you may just find the answers you have been looking for at the Ark.
Planning a family vacation?
Here are some of the other adventures that we have gone on and some great money saving tips too!
Have some family friendly fun in Chicago, visit some of the best beaches in Oahu, take the baseball fan in your family to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, see the beauty of nature at Niagara Falls in Canada, take a trip through history in Colonial Williamsburg, check out these awesome and free things to do at Virginia Beach, or learn about our nation’s capital with a family friendly vacation to Washington DC!