GQ — Noah’s Ark is the first left after the gas station, down the street from the Mexican restaurant.
I know going in that it’s technically called the Ark Encounter, that it’s dry-docked here in Kentucky, and that it’s the work of a creationist organization called Answers in Genesis (AiG). But given that it constitutes a $100 million boat-shaped Bible theme park and the self-proclaimed “largest timber-frame structure in the world,” I’d expected a more dramatic approach. Maybe some animatronics. At least a little traffic. Instead the thing just appears in the distance, massive and curious and facing away, as if it has already started sailing without me.
From this perspective, I can already tell that it doesn’t look a thing like the Noah’s Ark I heard about in Sunday School, which was essentially a Little Tikes pool toy that eluded the laws of physics while ferrying a floating zoo to safety during a rainstorm. As the celestially appointed sea captain, Noah was depicted as a jolly Caucasian carpenter with kind eyes and a Dumbledore beard. He carried a staff, which he used to herd the koalas and llamas, all of which were extremely huggable.
The Ark Encounter is a lot of things, but it’s not huggable. Here’s what’s going on inside the planet’s judgiest, death-iest theme park.