Unlike Noah’s handcrafted bateau, Ark Encounter will not hold livestock. Photograph: Ark Encounter

In the rolling hills of rural Kentucky, a ship the length of nearly two football fields and the height of a five-story building is rising from the ground.

Young Earth’ Creationists Making $90m Full-scale Ark to ‘bring the Bible to Life’

This isn’t just any ship, but Noah’s Ark, as described in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

The modern-day ark designed by Indiana firm Troyer Group will open in July 2016. Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis, the group behind the plan said that “this Ark will be one of the ‘wonders of the modern world’.

The $90 million boat, dubbed the Ark Encounter, will be the eventual centerpiece of a religious theme park aiming to illustrate the story of the legendary great flood, in which God instructs Noah to build an ark to save his family and a pair of each of the animals in the world. The first phase is expected to cost $73 million.

Ark Encounter Will Be the Largest Timber-frame Structure in the Usa When It Completes in July 2016

LeRoy Troyer, the project’s lead architect stated that, “the vessel, like an Amish barn, is being built with a technique called timber framing, which uses wooden pegs and joints in lieu of nails”.

According to LeRoy Troyer, “the sea-faring craft is being built in accordance with sound, established engineering practices of the biblical era and will be 510ft long, built using solid wood, pinned together and covered with pine tar”.

The wood being used in the construction has come from areas damaged by plagues of beetles or from sustainable forests, according to the organisation.

Construction of the ark's concrete shell
Construction of the ark’s concrete shell

“We believe the construction of the Ark took about 100 years,” added Troyer. “So Noah had to have a lot of faith.”

Ark Encounter will be located near sister attraction the Creation Museum in the city of Williamstown and will feature a curved bow, stern and sides and contain three floors of exhibits.

Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis said “the ark would open for “40 days and 40 nights” from 7 July 2016, a reference to the number of days rain is said to have fallen during the biblical flood.” Ark Encounter is expected to receive one to two million visitors in its first year.

There is also the chance to learn about how the earth was created in six days by God around 6,000 years ago. Scientists estimate the earth is actually around 4.5bn years old, but Dr Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist at Answers in Genesis, said some of the data leading to that conclusion could be skewed.

“A global flood would have dramatically affected geological processes worldwide,” he said. Young earth creationists believe the flood that caused Noah to set sail was around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.

Unlike Noah’s handcrafted boat, Ark Encounter will not hold livestock. Regarding the question of how Noah would have managed to fit two of all the world’s animals into his ark, Jeanson said it was a misconception that all the animals of today were stuffed into the ship’s hull.

Instead, according to young earth creationists, it was the ancestors of modern-day species that were taken by Noah, and the animals we know today descended from these Animals. Although, scientific consensus is that animal life originated from tiny organisms billions of years ago.

The Ark Encounter’s website has a useful FAQ section for those wanting to know more about this undertaking.

Ham says “the Ark Encounter will present America and other nations with a reminder about the bible’s account of the ark as reminders in the world which helped ensure that people would not forget the truths of God’s Word are increasingly being removed from western culture, including the US”.

“Nativity scenes, Crosses, and Ten Commandments displays have been banned from many public places,” he writes. “The words ‘Merry Christmas’ are being replaced with ‘Happy Holidays’. Creation, the Bible, and prayer have been eliminated from the public education system.”

Rebuilding the Ark would provide “a sign (or a reminder) to this world that God’s Word is true”, Jeanson said.

Up to 900 staff are expected to be employed in the vast 324-hectare-park, which will also eventually  feature themed restaurants, the Tower of Babel, the parting of the Red Sea and an expanded large petting zoo in later phases of the park’s development.

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