A giant ark is just the start. These creationists have a bigger plan for recruiting new believers

The founder of a creationist ministry wants to attract believers and nonbelievers to his family-friendly attractions.

Ken Ham built an ark, a Noah-sized ark, in the verdant, landlocked hills of the American heartland.

At the sight of the wooden vessel, tourists — decidedly more than two-by-two, a caravan of buses surrounding the site — gasp in wonder. Christian school students storm the ramps, many completing science quizzes based on anti-evolutionary teachings.

The founder of Answers in Genesis, an online and publishing ministry with a strict creationist interpretation of the Bible, employed 700 workers to erect the $120 million Ark Encounter, which is five stories high and a football field and a half in length, and packs a powerful whoa punch. He had the massive boat designed by a veteran of amusement park attractions, commissioned an original soundtrack to enhance the experience, and stockedthe interior with an animatronic (and freakishly real) talking Noah, along with lifelike models of Earth’s manifold creatures. Including dinosaurs.

And he saw that it was good.

The ark opened last summer and is on target, Ham says, to attract more than a million visitors in the first year.

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