Ark Park stats

Dan Phelps just sent me the attendance numbers for Answers in Genesis.

I just received my KORA package from Williamstown. The winter has not been kind to Ken Ham in spite of his twitter posts concerning people “pouring in” to the Ark Encounter. I don’t see how, even if they have fantastic attendance for the remaining months, they will make 1.4 million visitors as Ham and AiG have repeatedly claimed. Here are the numbers I just received:

November 2017: 51,914
December 2017: 36,472
January 2018: 13,250
February 2018: 17,961
March 2018: 62,251

Last Fall I obtained the following numbers:

July 2017: 142,626
August 2017: 106,161
September 2017: 83,330
October 2017: 93,639

The total for July 2017 to March 2018 is: 607,604

To make 1 million visitors for the year, they will have to average 131,000 visitors per month for April, May, and June 2018. That is not impossible, but unlikely (note July 2017 had more than 142,000 visitors, their best month since figures have been available to the public). To reach 1.4 million visitors in the year since figures have been public record, they will have average about 264,000 visitors per month for April, May, and June 2018. AiG appears to have a lot of money, but one can’t help suspect the Ark is bleeding money.

Those would be respectable (but not spectacular) attendance numbers if Ken Ham hadn’t been setting extravagant expectations. Also, the ten-fold reduction in attendance between July and January is notable — it’s a very up-and-down business.


  1. blf says

    One advantage of being housed in a ship is they can pull up anchor and sail to a new port and new set of marks.

    Oh, wait…

  2. nomdeplume says

    Looks impossible. The 142,000 figure is irrelevant to the prospects for this year – the trend is obviously down after attracting some curiosity early on. I make the average of the last 5 months about 36,000 a month. Presumably it will just settle down to a small core of fundies (and their children) being shipped in each month.

  3. evodevo says

    I live just down the interstate from the Ark Park. We just this week had a Letter to the Editor from good ole Ken in our local paper ( ), thanking the local State Senator for “being pro-business” lol….and touting all the revenue they pull in and the local benefits thusly accrued. I am trying to decide if it’s worth it to send in a rebuttal …. Hey! Ken! Whatever happened to that commandment, what was the number again? Eighth? Ninth?

  4. timpayne says

    I despise Ken Ham, everything he stands for, everything his attractions represent. The collapse of the Ark Park and the Creation Museum would warm my heart. But these attendance numbers are just that, some numbers…Are they good, bad, or indifferent? Do they say anything about the financial health of the endeavors?

  5. Mark says

    The California Academy of Science currently reports about 1.4 million visitors per year. I’ve been there 12 times. I doubt Ark Park gets much repeat attendance. Isn’t that the problem with a one-trick pony?

  6. unclefrogy says

    # I agree completely repeat business is key to any attraction, I would think that one long boring look would be enough to last a life time, they better add some other attraction if they want to continue, but I guess it’s really is some kind of a fake church really without any services kind of a self guided sermon.
    eventually to be turned into some kind of real-estate deal.
    what kind of weather happens around there? anything “Big”?
    uncle frogy

  7. says

    What I get from the numbers is that they aren’t going belly up just yet, but there’s a trend going downward which will lead to their inevitable doom. Unless they do what they did with the Creation “Museum”: build a new major attraction like the Ark Park to offset their declining numbers. Problem is that probably cannibalizes the numbers for the prior attraction, and they have to keep going bigger and bigger, making the eventual crash even more catastrophic.

  8. Matrim says

    I imagine their numbers will improve going into summer. More people with free time, more vacations, more availability for churches to bus in loads of kids on spring break. But, yeah, I’d be surprised if their summer numbers are anywhere as good as their last summer. The downward spiral will almost certainly continue.

  9. Matrim says

    Summer break, I just finished watching a movie that takes place over spring break, must’ve still been on my mind

  10. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    I’d be interested to know how many of these are unique visitors versus the same bunch of bible-thumpers coming back again and again with their families or church groups.

  11. ashley says

    Whenever atheists discuss either attendance levels at the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, or AiG’s employment practices for seasonal workers, they are inevitably ‘lying’ (except that Ken Ham refuses to explain – when I asked him at the British Centre for Science Education community forum and again via their website – exactly how ‘Friendly Atheist’ and maybe ‘Paulogia’ were ‘lying’ about the employment practices as he alleged earlier this month on Facebook and on Twitter). It seems to have been one of those cases of ‘the atheists were lying it’s what they do’. (I used to be a Christian and I am unsure whether I am an ‘atheist’ but I am certainly no young earth creationist and it was never part of my previous evangelical Christianity.)

  12. blf says

    Using the place where I live (on the southern coast of France) as an analogy, trying to determine what is happening using less than one year’s-worth of data is risky. Perhaps not so much in Ken “piglet rapist” Ham’s case, as I gather there is not a wide range of reasons to visit (and re-visit and re-visit yet again) there, unlike here. Anyways, here in the immediate locale, there is very obvious pattern: “Dead” in Jan & Feb, stirrings of life in March, gets up in April (it’s noticeably busy at the moment), walks about in May & June, runs about in July & August, slows down in Sept & Oct, dotters along in Nov & Dec. (There are “blips” for certain local events and similar.) That is not unlike the pattern which seems to be present in the OP’s data, with the notable exception July was much busier than August (in France, it’s the other way around, in part because the cliché / stereotype the French take their annual vacation in August(-ish) has a basis in reality).

    It would not surprise me too much if some pattern, perhaps not quite the local French one but some pattern, were to emerge over multi-year data. However, as others have suggested, I concur the overall yearly trend has no compelling reason not to be downwards. Next July / August seems plausible to be lower than last July / August, albeit still the busiest (two?) months. It’s cyclical, presumably with the yearly totals going down, down, down…

    Glug, glug, glug !

  13. Matt G says

    Well the Rapture is on Monday, so we won’t have complete data for April, and no data for May and June.

  14. timpayne says

    @7 Thanks. I’d read quite a bit about the financial and legal maneuverings used to fund the project, but didn’t recall anything useful to put real attendance numbers in some kind of perspective.

  15. says

    @Mark #5

    But what keeps you going back to the academy, namely a rotating schedule of exhibits, is the Ark’s worst problem. Static displays with the same information month after month. It’s not like we’re going to get another new testament, unless Ham starts following Joseph Smith.