Have you heard about the amazing Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky? Let me tell you, their websites don’t do them justice! I visited both attractions and was blown away by the experience. If you’re planning a visit, here’s what you need to know: these places are truly thought-provoking and incredibly well-done. You can tackle both in a day if you’re up for it, but I recommend planning for at least two days to fully immerse yourself.
Get ready for an unforgettable journey into the mysteries of creation.
Arriving at the Creation Museum
My dad (81) and I arrived at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, a few minutes before it opened. The parking lot was already getting busy, but we managed third-row parking. The parking fee is $15 per day, and the structure and organization of it and the check-in process reminded me of going to Disney.
As we strolled along a beautiful, nature-filled path, we were in awe of the grandeur of this magnificent place. The lobby, as soon as you step inside, will take your breath away. With captivating exhibits that can easily rival those at the Smithsonian Museum, you’re in for a treat.
If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, head over to the ticket counter for a seamless experience. And if you’ve already got your tickets, just proceed to the friendly ticket taker and let the adventure begin!
We picked up tickets and also a property map and Today’s Schedule showing what the changing events and live music were. Guest Services was most helpful in helping us decide what would work into our allotted time since we were doing both attractions in one day.
The Wondrous Exhibits
I’ve not toured many religious attractions, and not sure there are many. Still, the Creation Museum was as state-of-the-art as any major museum you could visit. The exhibits ranged from thought-provoking to compassionate and informative to draw your own conclusion on the creation science subject.
My dad and I roamed the floor, room to room, soaking up the gist of the materials and taking loads of pictures. Even 20 minutes after opening, the museum was bustling, but the traffic flowed.
Rightfully so, the beginning event in the 75,000-square-foot facility was a walk-through life-size Adam and Eve display. This area probably generated the most buzz amongst the guests during our visit to the property.
The Flood displays dove into the science of how it affected the rocks and geography across the continents and there was an exciting dinosaur skeleton viewing of Ebenezer, the full-size Allosaurus.
We headed back to the Stargazer Planetarium (30-foot-diameter dome) for our show time and watched Created Cosmos, which will run $9 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 10. The show runs eight times a day. I’m all about learning things that will help me answer Jeopardy questions.
This one was high up the food chain with loads of scientific information about astrology and the solar system but delivered it in a way that anyone and all ages could understand. A second show in the planetarium, Aliens: Fact or Fiction? was also playing three times a day.
4-D Theater, a special effects venue, offered In Six Days and Encounter the Wonder.
Did You Know? The Creation Museum dives into the holiday season with Christmas Town, a unique light display, and a living Nativity for experiencing the true meaning of Christmas.
Special Offerings and Tickets at the Creation Museum
General admission tickets are $49.95 per adult for the Creation Museum alone. Seniors save $5. Youth tickets 11 to 17 are $29.95. Right now, kids under 10 get in free; a great deal. If you choose to do both attractions in the same week, one day at each, the price is $94.95, $84.95, and $54.95, respectively.
For $15 more, you can get a 3-Day Bouncer Pass, which gives you unlimited visits to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum for one week, plus unlimited parking at both parks.
Notable events of the day included the Creation Museum’s beloved TrueSong, an all-man band with smooth harmonies and outstanding vocals. When they sang “I’ll Fly Away,” the audience was nearly unglued.
The music programming may have been my favorite part of the whole Creation Museum experience, and these talented musicians have a way with the crowds without making it feel too powerful.
Guided tours of the botanical gardens, speaking engagements on subjects such as extraterrestrials and wildlife, a keeper chat about Kunekune pigs, and powerful drama video presentations were other museum offerings.
The Creation Museum’s botanical gardens feature a stunning three-acre lake, accessible trails, enchanting waterfalls, a delightful butterfly & hummingbird garden, and a plethora of beautiful blooms.
Of the many gardens on the Creation Museum property, my favorite was the Dry Creek Garden, with red maple trees and several colorful flower displays. The Koi Pond Garden offers the best photo ops.
Thrill seekers will appreciate the Screaming Raptor Zip Lines and the aerial adventure course.
Last but not least is the Eden Animal Experience, with wallabies, donkeys, goats, coatis, and alpacas. Don’t miss the dinosaur topiaries designed by Buddy Davis.
Making the Drive to the Ark
The Ark Encounter is roughly 40 minutes from the Creation Museum in Williamstown, Kentucky. While I would typically eat at the museum (museums have excellent food these days), I needed more content about the area, so we went to a local eatery.
I had my eye on the Tousey House Tavern’s Kentucky Hot Brown, the state’s iconic dish, in Burlington, but they were closed for a private event.
Not to fear, next door, the Washington Square Cafe was a great second choice. We ate on the lovely outdoor patio and enjoyed the fresh country air and really good food. I had the grilled cheese with tomato basil soup while my dad feasted on a chicken bacon ranch wrap.
I might add we had excellent service, too. The Washington Square Cafe is in the Joseph Graves historic home, circa 1817, which added to its charm.
Pro Tip: Order a side of the sweet potato fries with a side of the mouthwatering maple bacon bourbon cream sauce. This sauce could win first prize in any contest!
Looking for places to eat and shop at the Creation Museum? Look no further! At Noah’s Cafe, you can feast on delicious burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Plus, they offer gluten-free and vegetarian options.
And if you have a sweet tooth, you absolutely can’t miss Uncle Leroy’s Fudge, made right in a copper kettle. It’s a favorite among visitors and my dad still talks about how good that fudge was.
But that’s not all. In addition to great dining options, there are also three fantastic shopping spots to explore. Check out the Legacy Store, Fair Trade Marketplace, and Dragon Hall Bookstore for unique finds and souvenirs.
The Ark Encounter Tips and Beginnings
My dad and I arrived and parked at the life-size Ark Encounter, a seven-story high and 510 feet long authentic replica of Noah’s Ark, around 1 PM. We made our way to the ticket counter to pick up our tickets, though you can also get them digitally.
Once we were all checked in, we entered the queue for the shuttle bus that delivered us to the pathway leading to the Ark. The scenery through Monument Walk is beautiful, with tall ornamental grasses swaying in the breeze, butterfly-attracting plants, and perfect photo spots for remembering your Ark visit.
I recommend that anyone ride the elevator to the top floor and then work their way down on foot. With this enormous property, there is much to see and do, so you need a plan to keep it from being overwhelming.
On Deck 3, we explored the ark’s living quarters, addressed some of the fascinating stories of the Bible, and learned about the symbolic Rainbow Covenant. The aftermath of the Great Flood was also up for discussion.
Moving down to Deck 2, we transport ourselves to the pre-flooded world, discover who Noah was, marvel at the various animals in cages, and have a chance for a kid-friendly spooky animal encounters exhibit. Plus, you can catch a show in the impressive theater.
Deck 1 is where you’ll find ark storage, gain an introductory understanding of animal kinds, and marvel at a detailed model ark. Take a moment to appreciate the donor wall, as well.
On the Ground Level, fine the pre-show and entry lines, browse an enticing gift shop, and make your exit. There are plenty of restrooms, including family restrooms and nursing rooms for your convenience on each floor.
Displays Throughout the Ark
Each floor of the replica Noah’s Ark is chock full of fabulous things to see, storyboards to read, and ideas to ponder about how Noah and his family survived the 40-day flood. I never really thought about what was at the ark property in Kentucky; I was just excited to see the beautiful structure in person. Wow, what a unique treasure!
Cages with animals are displayed to show their sheer size, and detailed information about how they were fed, managed and cared for really intrigued me. The kitchen area, where the food was prepared for everyone aboard, and the animals, too, was incredible; I could have stayed here soaking up the details and visuals for hours, but we were under a time constraint.
The “meet Noah’s family” portion of the Ark was again reminiscent of several attractions at Disney’s Epcot theme park, with animatronics used for the family members. It was eye-opening to see the size of the bedrooms and the things they might have done to keep occupied during their 40 days and 40 nights onboard the Ark.
A few questions answered in deep detail at the Ark Encounter are how the animals fit on the ship, how it stayed afloat, and whether the ark was real.
Tickets and Special Offerings at the Ark Encounter
Tickets for the Ark Encounter are $59.95 for adults, $49.95 for seniors, and $29.95 for youth aged 11 to 17. Children under 10 are free. See combo ticket prices and information above to tour both the Ark and Creation Museum.
Rentals are available for wheelchairs, strollers, and electric scooters, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Use ArkEncounter for free Wi-Fi.
Kids and families seemed to really love the children’s playground and Ararat Ridge Zoo, with ostriches, sloths, kangaroos, and lemurs. My dad and I walked through and admired many of the exotic animals.
A children’s petting zoo is also available, as are animal keeper chats and shows. Camel rides and encounters are also available for a nominal fee.
Then, there is the Animal Kinds Carousel, which my granddaughter would have loved. There is also a 2500-seat Answers Center theater setting with daily programs and live speakers, films, and concerts. We did not have time to visit this area.
A second thing at the Ark Encounter we did not have time for was the Truth Traveler Virtual Reality, where guests travel back in time to witness Noah’s legacy. Guests must be 40″ or taller to enjoy this attraction. Again, nominal fees apply.
Fun Fact: The ark is made of various kinds of wood, such as spruce, Douglas fir, bamboo, and pine.
Dining at the Ark Encounter
You’ll find food for all tastes at the Ark Encounter. They have everything from tacos and hot dogs to pizza, BBQ, and buffets. My dad and I enjoyed an early dinner at the two-story-themed Emzara’s Kitchen, an all-you-can-eat buffet experience in a lovely and spacious setting.
Just to give you an idea of what the food offerings were, we chose from about 15 sides, 25 salad items, a whole bar of desserts, baked ziti, fried chicken, and baked steak.
The buffet runs $16.99 for adults, $14.99 for seniors 60+, and $8.99 for kids 5 to 10. Younger children are free. Kudos to Emzara’s Kitchen for having food sensitivity options and a kid-friendly buffet area.
Other dining options at the Ark Encounter include Zofar’s, The Village Smokehouse, Southwest Grill, and Olive Leaf Cafe. You will find a great coffee selection (Kezia’s), and more yummy Uncle Leroy’s Fudge at the gift shop, plus a host of great souvenirs and must-have items. You can grab Kettle Corn and ice cream at kiosks outside the Ark.
I loved experiencing both the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, and hope you and your family will have a blast at these unique religious attractions.
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