Courtesy of Ark Encounter

August 1, 2012

Investors of the Lost Ark

Enthusiasm for Ark Encounter tempered by news of fundraising troubles, construction delays

After Daniel Phelps — president of the Kentucky Paleontology Society — stops to admire a display of meteorites, a polite 13-year-old volunteer guide inside the Creation Museum shares that King Arthur’s sword was made out of a meteorite, which he called “sky iron.”

As we turn to walk past the “Dragon Hall Bookstore” — featuring a new T-shirt proclaiming God created fire-breathing dragons on the sixth day, and a mural depicting the legend of St. George slaying a dragon — my follow-up question cannot be suppressed.

“Did Arthur kill any dragons with that sword?”

“I’m not sure if he did,” he replies, “but Beowulf killed three dragons.”

The boy describes the final dragon as being able to fly and breathe fire, saying it “was probably a Pterosaur,” the flying reptile that went extinct about 65 million years before “Beowulf” was written.

When asked if those are just fictional stories, the boy says they’re real, as tales of dragons are actually documented history of humans’ interactions with dinosaurs.

Children believing such fantasies as scientific and historical fact is the mission of the man Phelps and I are here to see speak: Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis ministry. Ham’s “museum” and merchandise empire view dinosaurs as “missionary lizards” that will help entice young people to overcome the influence of a secular and Godless culture, pulling them back to a belief that every word of the Bible is true, the Earth is 6,000 years old, and the scientific consensus of Earth’s history over billions of years is the world’s most elaborate conspiracy of fraud.

Those kid-friendly lizards also make him a lot of money.

Today, Ham will give a sneak preview and update on his newest evangelical project, Ark Encounter — the Grant County park featuring a “life-sized” re-creation of Noah’s Ark, depicting the true story of a 600-year-old man wrangling two of every mammal, bird, insect and dinosaur onto a boat a few thousand years ago during a global flood sent by God.

While Ark Encounter has grabbed headlines nationwide since its announcement in December 2010 — along with a full-throated endorsement by Gov. Steve Beshear and approval for up to $43 million in potential tax breaks — the project has since been mired with delays and fundraising problems, including an announcement that the project must be completed in phases over 10 years, rather than all at once in advance of its scheduled opening in spring of 2014.

Though Ham and his colleagues spend much of the day unveiling more features at Ark Encounter, that excitement is tempered by a fundraising update that reveals groundbreaking for the park — which was supposed to begin last spring — could still be years away as the project is a hefty $44 million from its goal.

Following a loop of videos promoting his merchandise — including a book warning parents that their kids are in danger of abandoning the church for a life of abortions, coke-snorting and suicide — Ken Ham presents Ark Encounter as a way to counter society’s villains (scientists, the Supreme Court, President Obama) who undermine the Bible and America’s Christian foundation.

The ultimate goals of the park are to prove that Noah’s Ark could be built (with the animals fed and cared for) and to convert non-believers into “true Christians” — as well as make a fortune from millions of tourists from around the world.

Ham also claims that PBS will air the first of a three-part documentary about the making of Ark Encounter this fall, further promoting the park and enabling it to get up to 2 million visitors in its first year — attendance that would rival King’s Island in Cincinnati, despite the park having only one ride (planned for its ninth year), a slow-moving track celebrating “the 10 plagues of Egypt.”

Patrick Marsh, Ark Encounter’s director of design, previews each of the proposed exhibits for the first phase of the project, which would mostly be inside the three floors of the 500-foot landlocked boat.

Throughout the boat — featuring a restaurant on top, as well as bathrooms and elevators — visitors will see Noah’s family feeding and caring for the animals. Graphics in an accompanying packet show a dinosaur in one of the cages, despite the fact that when Ark Encounter officials were applying for state tax incentives, they hinted that they might leave dinosaurs off the ark.

The final room for visitors inside the boat is the “Christ the Door” Theater, where a film compares the safety inside the Ark to the eternal safety of accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. Marsh makes it clear that they expect “non-believers” to do just that before leaving the boat.

Outside the ark, Marsh details the proposed “parade of animals,” in which Noah leads dancers and musicians dressed as animals “in a spectacular choreographed hybrid of ‘world dance’ and music to create the unique flavor and experience of a pre-Flood culture,” all while being heckled by actors playing Pagans who doubt Noah.

The floor is then turned over to Joe Boone, the project’s director of advancement in charge of soliciting private investors. While Boone paints a positive picture in terms of future attendance and profits for the park once it opens, he reveals that fundraising difficulties could push opening back to 2016.

The first phase of the project will cost $73 million to build, and $6 million has already been spent on land acquisition and design. So far, Answers in Genesis has raised $7.5 million, with private investors pitching in an additional $15.5 million to the LLC, leaving $22 million left to raise before they have enough money to break ground, and $44 million left to complete the project. Boone estimates it will take 12-24 months to secure the funding to break ground, then it will take another 24 months to complete construction.

The company will then have to raise $53 million for additional phases of the park throughout next decade.

Such a delay in construction makes the potential for a full $43 million in tax incentives impossible, as the state will only rebate sales taxes for 25 percent of what they’ve spent constructing the project by May 2014. This in turn could hurt private investment for the park, as there is no longer the virtual guarantee of $4 million in rebates every year.

Boone directs interested accredited investors in the crowd to get more information following the presentation at a table outside the auditorium, as well as those willing to sponsor individual exhibits, most of which cost more than $100,000.

A DVD provided in conjunction with Boone’s presentation suggests Ark Encounter would have 1.2 million visitors and $42.4 million in revenue in its first year, with those numbers steadily increasing.

For an investor buying the $100,000 minimum unit of ownership, Boone projects a 20.6 percent financial return for investors, who would keep 60 percent of their yearly cash disbursements, with the other 40 percent being kept for future capital improvements for the park.

Crosswater Canyon Inc. — a subsidiary of Answers in Genesis — would maintain at least a 20 percent ownership of the company and have total control over operation of the park.

But this optimistic rate of return assumes both healthy sales tax rebates and astronomical attendance. A packet for investors reveals the numbers provided by their feasibility study are only estimates and gives fair warning the project has the potential to flop, with investors losing money.

During a Grant County town hall meeting Last August, however, Ark Encounter officials presented a much prettier picture. At the meeting, which LEO attended, Mike Zovath — Answers in Genesis co-founder and vice president, as well as executive director of Crosswater Canyon — told residents that fundraising was almost complete, groundbreaking could begin in two months, and that local residents could expect a $590 million economic impact for Grant County in the year following its spring 2014 opening.

“God’s raised up investors,” Zovath told the eager and receptive crowd. “We have 75 percent of our funding committed right now. That’s over $100 million. And very little left to raise in order to break escrow and start construction on this project.

“And everybody, there’s going to be an economic boom here.”

While the state has already allocated $2 million for infrastructure improvements off the Interstate 75 exit in Grant County to accommodate millions of visitors — with the potential for $9 million more in road construction on the way — that boom still remains very much in doubt. 

Seriously

By mac
All of these people employed by AG are just blindly making Ham rich. He relies on stupidity.

Ham also claims that PBS

By passionlab
Ham also claims that PBS will team building strategies the first of a three-part documentary about the making of Ark Encounter this fall, further promoting the park and enabling it to get up to 2 million visitors in its first year — attendance that would rival King’s Island in Cincinnati, despite the park having only one ride (planned for its ninth year), a slow-moving track celebrating “the 10 plagues of Egypt.”

I must acknowledge you for

By sakertmodern
I must acknowledge you for the information you have shared. I acquisition this information actual advantageous and it has appreciably saved my time.Thanks a lot, http://raspberryketonesideeffects.webs.com http://meratol.tripod.co.uk http://proactol.tripod.co.uk http://capsiplex.tripod.co.uk http://raspberryketonesdroz.webs.com http://www.raspberryketone.webs.com http://raspberryketonedosage.blogspot.com http://raspberryketonecapsules.webs.com

Cooking can make a girl full

By dorababy
Cooking can make a girl full of the energy to attrat others,if you don't know how to cook you can finish cake games online for example before in real kitchen ,it will teach you how to cook the food you like,in fact cooking games have been introduced as girls of all ages find extreme pleasure in cooking.

Everyone's childhood is

By dorababy
Everyone's childhood is always associated with her beautiful doll, so cute right? My little girlfriend always play cat games when I visit her,especially,before she could reach school age,she like to school games so much,it is simple and she can learn how to make up to be a school girl! The right hair style will give the right impression that you need,and a great hairstyle can change the way people perceived you, hair games will help you make your way. Dora is so cutie and make you want to touch her head and make her happy,now you have the chance to play dora games to dress this lovely girl up and make her much pretty then.

great blog

By jogindar
Your article definitely worth looking through. I recently found the application well dictated and then quickly logical. I must personally we understand the time you devote to create the application. I’m sure very gratified in addition to lose time waiting for your blog post. http://ecommercewebdesignindia.com

Izdelava spletnih strani gfa

By ankurs127
I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for great information. wholesale stores wholesale jordans wholesale cosmetics Izdelava spletnih strani gfa

Still there is room for

By ankurs127
Still there is room for greater development and I would recommend more emphasis on research and of course it will bring a better situation. Thanks for sharing a nice read. kamagra

He was quoted saying it

By ankurs127
He was quoted saying it would be much better that we use neighborhood items which can be construct from their website and also you ought to wok more about these kinds of path exactly how this could function, However our own desires arrived accurate weight loss taken part in out demo specifically by Mister.cheap Facebook fans

Thanks for taking the time

By ankurs127
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. golvslipning

Thanks so much for writing

By ankurs127
Thanks so much for writing all of the excellent information! Looking forward to checking out more posts! payday loan

Kabar bola klasemen liga inggris Liputan6.com

By beritaterbaru
Cara nonton tv bola gratis di acara Nonton TV Online di NOBARTV

siaran langsung bundesliga jerman di http://nobartv.com/jadwal/7/bundesliga-jerman NOBARTV
siaran langsung la liga spanyol di http://nobartv.com/jadwal/10/la-liga-spanyol NOBARTV

I really like your writing

By jazonewil
I really like your writing style, great information, thank you for posting :D. "I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am." by Joseph Baretti. the original wife lovers south carolina real wife lovers, phone dating business florida dating end the phone call, single older women looking for men massachusetts meet single women, wife story mississippi lonely wife thumbs, lonely wifes personals alaska married and looking personals

I really thanks for the

By winayanti
I really thanks for the valuable information on this subject. Keep working like that. kamera digital mini

Yachtbooker.com is the

By 9cxvdrj
Yachtbooker.com is the world's largest reservation system for yacht charter. Here you can find reviews and last minute discounts for more than 4000 yachts worldwide. Compare prices and book online! yachtbooker

And indeed, I’m just

By patterson204
And indeed, I’m just always astounded concerning the remarkable things served by you. Some 4 facts on this page are undeniably the most effective I’ve had. Langkah Cara Cepat Hamil

I am commenting to let you

By patterson204
I am commenting to let you know what a terrific experience my daughter enjoyed reading through your web page. She noticed a wide variety of pieces, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an awesome helping style to have the rest without hassle grasp some grueling matters. Harga HP Samsung Seri Galaxy Note

smartphone

By jhonabundance
thank you for share this information. i like smartphone

yamaha

By jhonabundance

It is our intention to drive

By reshhia
It is our intention to drive the first Electric Van for approximately 90 days and discover all of the nuances that might come with an EV or if there are any design changes we would like to have included with future vans,” said Robichaud. “It is then our intention to start the transition at two per month. Logistically it takes time to swap out a technician to a new van and we do not want to overwhelm ourselves, although the sooner we switch the sooner we start saving. why not try here

As you can see on

By ralet
As you can see on MMIMarine.com everything can become recreational or a hobby nowadays. Regarding Noah's Ark, people can make something fun and learn about the Bible in the same time and this is a great way to combine religion with fun.

potenzmittel

By Lucky127
Great blog. All posts have something to learn. Your work is very good and i appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. potenzmittel

I just found this blog and

By jimy5500
I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1t13ru_DMo

a good plan for a tour of

By rini
a good plan for a tour of beautiful scenery. Indotophosting.Com Hosting Unlimited Dan Domain Murah Terbaik Di Indonesia I think it will be a lot of tourists that come here if the location is already so and operate properly. Good luck always. Asus zenfone Smartphone Android Terbaik good article guys.

This camera would be good in

By sarazara2
This camera would be good in a post-apocalyptic world that has no electricity but where batteries can be bartered for precious drinking water. why not try here

Assess Systems

By james123
Here I would say my big thanks to the writer of the site for having such nice collections which are totally intresting and informative for me.Thanks a lot again! Performance improvement and evaluation

It was a very good post

By robert1122
It was a very good post indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it in my lunch time. Will surely come and visit this blog more often. Thanks for sharing. https://rebelmouse.com/thegirlfriendactivationsystem

I think you should look for

By negruvoda
I think you should look for other experts in the field because the project doesn't progress well. You should use the services from http://www.st-barts.com/service-dept/ and you won't have any problems afterwards.

I was searching for

By sarazara2
I was searching for something like this for quite a long time and at last I’ve found it on your blog. It was definitely interesting for me to read about web applications and their market situation nowadays. glass office partitions

I was curious if you ever

By alone17
I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written. web design manchester

This is highly informatics,

By ashleydanielle
This is highly informatics, crisp and clear. I think that everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. car insurance in Dubai

I was curious if you ever

By robert1122
I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written. best gift ideas

I was curious if you ever

By robert1122
I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written. best gift ideas

I will make sure to be

By jimy5500
I will make sure to be reading your blog more. You made a good point but I can't help but wonder, what about the other side.. thanks https://www.rebelmouse.com/michaelfiore/

I am hoping the same best

By davidalan1122
I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing skills has inspired me. hsk 5 grammar

Kids aren't the only ones

By iuliancezar
Kids aren't the only ones that believe in stories like this. Fantasy is a part of each person's life and it is very healthy to believe in something that somehow doesn't really exist. It proves that you have a healthy mind and body. And speaking of a healthy body you can check the guys from AlarioBros because they have amazing objects that combine function with fantasy.

This is a great article

By robert1122
This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post. I will visit your blog regularly for Some latest post. free starbucks gift cards

It is extremely helpful and

By jimy5500
It is extremely helpful and interesting and very much looking forward to reading more of your work.. https://www.rebelmouse.com/capturehisheartclairecasey/

I found your this post while

By jimy5500
I found your this post while searching for information about blog-related research ... https://www.rebelmouse.com/spraypaintsecrets/

Kits help you in improving

By alone17
Kits help you in improving your writing ability. The main idea when you are consulting the kits is not just to lift the contents that are written in those documents. accountantslondon.org

Thanks for sharing this

By sakertmodern
Thanks for sharing this useable article - I really increase your acquisition.it is really very informatic post for young people, and hope they will enjoy well after reading this post. raspberry ketone side effects | Meratol | proactol | capsiplex

This site includes a desire

By khare
This site includes a desire system review and buyers guide that provides an insider's look at the program and answers frequently asked questions about Dr. David Tian's unique and controversial seduction system.

manaview tycoon gold addon

By khare
manaview tycoon gold addon please click this link for rebelmouse.com rebelmouse please click this link for rebelmouse.com

how can i easily lose fat 4

By khare
how can i easily lose fat 4 Cycle Solution: Shaun Hadsall Reveals The "Not Seen Anywhere Else" Macro Patterning And Carb Cycling Strategies For Rapid Fat Loss That Let You Eat All The Carbs You Want And Never Store Them As Fat...

location The Panorama Ang Mo

By khare
location The Panorama Ang Mo Kio – Unit Mix. 1 to 5 bedroom apartments with quality finishing. The Panaroma Ang Mo Kio – Superb Location. The Panorama Ang Mo Kio is within 1 km of popular st. Nicholas girls' School at ang mo kio avenue...

http://chordlirikterbaru.blog

By Nosuxasi
http://chordlirikterbaru.blogspot.com/ I immediately ain't hitting." by Yogi Berra.

www.rebelmouse.com Desire

By khare
www.rebelmouse.com Desire System: David Tan (Tian) Reveals The Holy Grail Of Seduction Techniques That Uses Emotional Contagion To Make Any Woman Horny On Command And Compels Her To Work For You, Chase You, And Make The First Move While Thinking Sex Was All "Her Idea" (But You'll Know Better...)...

Its a great pleasure reading

By ashleydanielle
Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. mobile Web Design

cheers for the actual

By zane1122
cheers for the actual article i have recently been on the lookout with regard to this kind of advice on the net for sum time right now so many thanks het nieuwe werken