I agree with this review of the Ark Park

This article on the Ark Park is exactly right, and hits on all the same impressions I had when I visited it.

  • It’s grossly overpriced.
  • “It’s just a large building in a shape you don’t typically see large buildings in.”
  • The “extremely optimistic queueing area” — you wend your way through a maze of fences intended to restrain a mob…and you’re one of the few people there.

  • “The first proper exhibit on the Ark is a room containing lots of wooden cages with model animals in them.” It’s another pointless waiting area. A lot of the cages don’t bother to have fake animals in them — they just play animal noises.

  • “But, unfortunately, with the exception of three dioramas, all of that is depicted using a bunch of pictures and text on boards stuck to the wall.” There are virtually no real exhibits inside.

  • “Once you’re done reading the signs on the wall of the pre-flood world section, you head on to the next attraction: a bunch of signs on walls.”

  • “The Ark has two screening areas that, during my visit, played two movies on loop.” I skipped the movies. From the description, I didn’t miss anything.

  • Did I mention the signs on the walls? “Room after room after room of signs. More signs than have ever been gathered in one place before.”

  • They have a new addition! “One of the newer additions to the Ark is an exhibit made to look like a graphic novel that tells the story of some college kids questioning their faith (spoiler alert: God turns out to be cool, actually).” Unfortunately, it’s just another variation on a theme. “Ken Ham described the exhibit as “like walking through the pages of a book.” An alternative description would be “like reading a bunch of signs stuck to a wall.””

Aside from the incompetent, boring collection of didactic exhibits, they note another feature of the content: it’s all written by regressive, homophobic Christian fundamentalists.

Anti-LGBTQ bigotry is a big attraction at the theme park, and is smattered generously throughout.

All people who volunteer or work at the park are required to sign a “statement of faith” which explicitly prohibits them from employment if they’re gay, bi, or a person who has “attempt[ed] to alter [their] gender by surgery or appearance.”

During my visit, I saw multiple ads for something the Ark is hosting called “Sacred: Embracing God’s Design for Sexuality” which appears to be some sort of transphobic gay conversion event.

It’s no wonder that attendance has been declining, but there’s an interesting tension here: they are catering to narrow audience that doesn’t want information or entertainment, they want nothing but affirmation that their rotten beliefs are valid, and the Ark Park is a massive, expensive false signal that they’re right. It hasn’t collapsed as fast as it should if it were judged on its merits as a museum and a park, but that’s not what it is or ever has been. It’s a costly signal for a dying, contemptible culture. It will continue to draw in revenue from the fading tatters of that group.


  1. says

    Well I hope you’re right but they don’t seem to be dying out right now. They control all three branches of the federal government and turn out enormous crowds to their enormous auditorium churches which make their pastors wealthy. They seem to be doing just fine.

  2. DanDare says

    I tried thinking of how you could make the ark interesting. It should at least have a petting zoo. And a spider exhibit.

  3. says

    “All people who volunteer or work at the park are required to sign a “statement of faith” which explicitly prohibits them from employment if they’re gay, bi, or a person who has “attempt[ed] to alter [their] gender by surgery or appearance.””

    Is that really necessary? I mean, why would any LBGTQJEEZTHATACRONYMISADOOZYCANTWEFINDABETTERWORD-person work or volunteer for those pricks?

  4. quotetheunquote says

    @dandare #2:
    If it were a petting zoo for Australian redbacks, that would DEFINITELY make it interesting!

    “All things bright and beautiful…”

  5. cmotdibbler says

    Years ago my wife wanted to go to the Creation “Museum”. I refused to go to that trainwreck but went along for the trip. We stayed at a nice BnB that was fairly close and very reasonable. The owner said her husband quit his well-paying job in Cali, sold all their stuff to start a BnB. The reason for this financial hit? God “told” them to do this so that poorer families could attend Ken Ham’s festival of stupidity. These are the people we face. I admire their dedication even if I abhor the rationale behind it.

  6. unclefrogy says

    It will continue to draw in revenue from the fading tatters of that group.

    is it enough or is it really just a matter of time and the inevitable collapse will be a long drawn out melodrama.
    the other question I have is when will the vainer of faith slip to reveal the naked ambition, greed and lust for power lurking in Ken’s heart.
    uncle frogy

  7. jrkrideau says

    As a follow-up to @ 3 Erlend Meyer

    “All people who volunteer or work at the park are required to sign a “statement of faith” which explicitly prohibits them from employment if they’re gay, bi, or a person who has “attempt[ed] to alter [their] gender by surgery or appearance.””

    That’s legal?

  8. jrkrideau says

    Come to think of it PZ, are we sure that you did not write that review under a nom de plume?

  9. microraptor says

    jrkrideau @7: It’s legal when you’ve got the courts stacked with religious conservatives.

  10. angela78 says

    @11 abbeycadabra

    we just correct other people’s misperceptions.

    well, no. You alter your body to fix because unfortunately it’s not how it should be to let you have a fulfilling life. And I don’t see a reason not to do that. Just like when I had laser to correct my eyes, and now I’m much happier.

  11. angela78 says

    About the ark park…bah. I mean, at least make it funny for children, if you want to attract people to your beliefs. Religions have this weapon on their side, they can make great stories and emotionally satisfying stuff -if you just switch your brain off-.
    Making the Park a boring old-style museum is really bad marketing strategy…

  12. Dauphni says

    @angela78 #12
    abbeycadabra is totally right. Trans people generally don’t alter their genders.* Sure, we may alter our bodies to help live a more fulfilling life, but bodies aren’t genders, that’s just Trans 101.

    *Genderfluidity and the like exist after all

  13. angela78 says

    @14 Dauphni

    abbeycadabra is totally right


    Trans people generally don’t alter their genders

    …so what? Who said that they do? I only wrote that you don’t “correct other people’s misperceptions” (this is where abbey is wrong). What you do is, you correct your body. Not your gender. Not other people’s minds. Your body. That’s just Logic 101.

  14. angela78 says

    Just to be clearer: I think a trans person should have no fear at all in declaring that the body he/she was born with has a defect that must be corrected. The defect doesn’t lie in people’s perceptions, it lies in the fact that you were born in a body that doesn’t match who you are. It’s not a shame, it’s not something to hide, it’s a very normal and common situation for many of us.
    Denying that you have a problem and throwing it onto other people is not a good approach. The important thing is to be very clear on the fact that the issue to fix is with your body, not with your gender/identity/self.

  15. Dauphni says

    Are you sure you want to tell an oppressed minority what their experiences are ~actually~ like?
    Personally I’d rather listen and try to learn something instead of ignorantly shouting over them.

  16. angela78 says

    @17 Dauphni

    Mmm…let me think…yes, I’m very sure. Even not counthing the fact that I’m myself part of (another) oppressed minority, I’m sure that I didn’t tell how trans experience are: I simply stated facts, that you do not in any way dispute, I notice. I’m sure that having surgery on your own body is performed to change your body, not to correct someone else’s “misperceptions”. I’m sure that playing the card of you-cant-talk-of-this-because-we-are-oppressed-so-shut-up is a silly position and a weak argument that easily bring to solipsism (because, how you dare to tell me, more discriminated than you, what I can say?).

    Your first answer was utterly wrong, putting in my mouth something I never told -or thought.
    The second one is just a hideway defence.

    Being trans is nothing to be ashamed of. Trans are totally, exactly like non-trans people.
    This, of course, also means that trans can say stupid and irrational things, just like everyone else, and just like you did.