Honestly, I think the Ark Park is doing better than I would have expected, and they do have a steady flow of gullible visitors. There’s a regional travel agency that advertises trips from Morris, MN to the Ark Park all the time — they have to load it up with lots of other stuff to make it appealing, though.
The Itinerary: Wednesday, June 15th – Travel to Dubuque, IA Pickup locations: 7:00 AM – Morris, MN 8:15 AM – Willmar, MN 9:15 AM – Hutchinson, MN 10:00 AM – New Ulm, MN Afternoon: Visit Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA Hotel: Dubuque, IA Thursday, June 16th – Celebration Belle full day Cruise Dubuque to Moline 7:00am Depart on the Celebration Belle on the Mississippi River– we’re headed to Moline, IL! Your day can be what you make of it, a learning experience or simply a leisurely cruise down the Mississippi River. Come Hungry, no cruise would be complete without food! You’ll enjoy 3 fresh meals right aboard the boat! 6:00pm Boat docks Hotel: Moline, IL Friday, June 17th – Travel to Petersburg, KY 6:00am Depart hotel (We lose an hour to eastern time zone) 3:00pm Arrive at Creation Museum Hotel: Near Cincinnati, OH Saturday, June 18th –The big day 9:00am Visit the Ark Encounter Late Afternoon Visit Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby Hotel: Louisville, KY Sunday, June 19th –Travel to Moline 8:00am Depart hotel (We will gain an hour with central time zone) 3:45pm Seating for dinner at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse dinner theatre 5:00pm Show – “Beauty and the Beast”- The Broadway Musical Hotel: Moline, IL Monday, June 20th –Travel day 8:30am Headed home! 10:00 – 12:00pm Shopping and Lunch on your own at Amana Colonies Price: $1,299 per person double; $1,199 per person triple $1,099 per person quad; $1,499 per person single
I’m already bored at the starting bus trip from Morris to Dubuque. Would my wife and I pay $2600 for a week of random Midwestern tourism? No, we would not. But then I suspect their market is church-going old people with lots of disposable income, and we don’t meet most of the criteria.
There were a lot of suckers born 60+ years ago, so they do have a constant dribble of yokels bringing shekels to the AiG attractions. But is it the economic boon to Kentucky that they promised? No, it is not, as Americans United points out.
Americans United never opposed Ham’s building of Ark Encounter, but we did stand against taxpayers being compelled to support what is clearly an evangelistic enterprise. We believe Ham and his Answers in Genesis (AiG) ministry should have relied on voluntary contributions from his co-religionists.
Ham justified the raid on the public purse by asserting that Ark Encounter would be a great boon to the nearby town of Williamstown, whose leaders agreed to float $62 million in junk bonds to get the project going. Town officials clearly believed the attraction would benefit the area economically.
You just had to believe! They suckered the Kentucky state government into believing this monstrous monument to ignorance would be a world-class tourist attraction, but it’s not. It’s a senior-citizens-from-Dubuque-class attraction.
“It has never reached even the minimum number of visitors for its first year of operation,” Trollinger wrote. “And with every passing year the tourist site falls farther short of what AiG promised.”
Trollinger and his wife Susan have visited the ark several times, most recently last month. He writes, “After our March visit to the Ark we drove through Williamstown. Six years after the tourist site was constructed, and as documented by the wonderful film, We Believe in Dinosaurs, Ark Encounter has had little noticeable economic impact on the small town that provided the tourist site with such gifts.”
What about all those jobs Ham promised? Apparently, local residents either don’t want them or don’t qualify for them. (Ark Encounter employees must sign a statement of faith saying they agree with AiG’s fundamentalist religious views.) Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, keeps a close eye and Ham’s doings and pointed out recently that Ham has proposed hiring students from nearby Christian colleges and is raising money to build housing for them on site.
Worst of all (for AiG), they can’t recruit the gullible locals to come work for them at low pay, in a job that requires you to swear a loyalty oath to Ham’s version of the Bible. Not even the residents of Kentucky who voted to pay for a giant pseudo-boat are stupid enough to do that. He’s building cheap dorm housing for Christians whose fanaticism blinds their common sense, and now he’s playing the culture war card: move to Kentucky and work for cheap before the liberals teach your children it’s OK to be gay!
The man in the photo is Phil Murphy, the Democratic nominee for governor of New Jersey, and therefore a proxy for Satan. You can see the videos that give conservatives conniptions right here; they’re rather tame, just saying that masturbation and confusion about sex is normal in adolescents. You can see the game he is playing, though, using fear of sex as a tool to get cheap labor for his boondoggle.
I don’t get the point, though. As we all know from the Bible, he only needs 8 employees to keep the Ark running. Less, even, since his Ark is mostly empty with nothing but lots of dioramas and wooden crates full of plastic animals, and isn’t even a boat.
Of course, Noah didn’t need parking attendants and ticket-takers. Or a zip-line! Yeah, that’s probably it, the zip-line is a huge resource sink.
Akira MacKenzie says
Well, they must be getting money from somewhere because a few weeks back I saw a cutesy CGI ad for the Ark Park on Paramount+–during Star Trek: Picard no less!
What a bizarre mix. River cruise and dinner, then a day of rightwing fundamentalist xtian fake news and alt-facts brainwashing, then a Beauty & the Beast musical and a day shopping.
Marcus Ranum says
What about Ham’s lifestyle? Usually these scams are backended with mansions, cadillacs, cocaine, and complicated personal relationships – otherwise, what’s the point in scamming all that money? Someone’s gotta be on the take or the whole exercise is pointless.
I just did a bit of googling and it seems like Ham’s being nonstupid about his scam. No pictures of his mansion, interviews with angry exes, any of that. All that comes up is pictures of him with that stupid phony wood box.
There’s gotta be fertile ground for an investigative journalist there.
johnson catman says
Akira @1: You could have spent a few bucks more for the commercial-free version of Paramount+, then you wouldn’t have had your senses assaulted with that bullshit.
“Send you kids to our Christian School Twelve Stones Christian Academy of Redundancy, where we don’t believe in teaching satanic rules of spelling, punctuation or capitalization! Don’t let the pagan state raise you children! At our Christian School Twelve Stones Christian Academy of Redundancy we know only demon leftists rely on proofreading. We have faith that God will deliver us from typos!”
The Ham can follow the lead of Boris Johnson. Just say “The revenue stream is just around the corner” over and over again, year after year. It works as long as your power base are gullible eejits.
Even if Ham is not snorting cocaine off the buttocks of rentboys, there is a decent chance some of his closest group of accomplices are. If the enterprise is built on deceit, the personnel at the top will reflect it. For chrissake, just look at todays republicans and tories.
If they did cruises along the coast, they could improve their economy by carefully receiving barrels of cocaine, once the light is low (I got the idea from the Florida thriller comedy author, I cannot take the credit myself).
Akira MacKenzie says
I’m a poor underpaid call center drudge.
Raging Bee says
“The Pagan State?” If only!
They didn’t think this claim through very well.
The Ark Park is working very well at its main purpose.
Which is making Ken Ham and his family rich.
This is old news from 2013.
I’m sure Ken Ham’s total package counting perks and tax deferred retirement plans is now maybe $400,000 a year.
More significantly, a whole lot of the employees are…Ken Ham’s relatives. He has 5 children, 4 of which work at AIG.
I’m guessing that his entire family takes home a million or two USD a year from AIG.
Ken Ham’s whole life is a lie.
Creationism itself is just a lie.
I’m a Pagan.
If we controlled the state, I would know it.
I will say, watch your children closely around fundie xians, especially the church officials.
They have well documented sky high rates of child sexual abuse.
I didn’t know we (Iowa) had a non-gambling riverboat.
The comments on that Fox article. Apparently, wanting to teach kids about reality, and supporting those that don’t fit into their nice little boxes is Marxism. I guess the term “Marxism” is just code for whatever is against the government basically being evangelical.
In which case, you should skip the Ark Park… unless you hope to study the art of the grift, and even then there are simpler ways to go about it.
Rich Woods says
For the price of six days seeing fuck-all worthwhile in the Midwest I could fly from the UK to Luxor and have six nights in a decent hotel, while spending the days travelling out to see the serried wonders of ancient Egypt. And still have a bit of cash left over for postcards and souvenir tat.
Rich Woods@15 Yup. I don’t travel much, but if I’m spending that much (which I don’t if you exclude airfare), I expect more than a bus tour of East Bumfuck. Where do they get these people?
Trickster Goddess says
@16: “Where do they get these people?”
Got to ‘Ham’ it up!! Oh, noah?!
After a long hard day battling stupidity, we all could use another silly darwin comic
Somebody should drop a dime to Disney: I’d know those claws anywhere- Ham has swiped the Tyrannotoes poking out of the
Prepare To Believe
sign from the climactic scene of Bambi Meets Godzilla
Owosso Harpist says
If you think this is bad, wait ’till you see Dumb Idiot Ham’s announcement of his junkyard park welcoming his “10 millionth guest” while bragging about receiving visits from Ozzy Osborne, Jimmy Carter, and an unnamed Nigerian King.
I swear he’s making it all up without evidence in hopes of making his places highly legitimate attractions they’re in fact not.
Seriously, What Dumb Idiot Ham brags about is no different than the time he brags about his website getting his one billionth visitor to his site while being oblivious to the possibility of having his site getting visited by fake bots by the billions – exactly what TFG had on his Twitter account before he got permanently suspended from Twitter!
About Ozzie and the unnamed Nigerian King – I will bet that Dumb Idiot Ham made the whole thing up about these two and other celebrities visiting his junkyard park and museum just to get unwanted attention he and his rundowns don’t deserve.
BTW, DIH’s bragging about the king sounds like Ham’s falling for the infamous Nigerian prince scam emails, don’t you think?
Quick correction: Phil Murphy is the current governor of NJ. He was re-elected, barely, to a second term last November.