As part of the growing "Ark Encounter" theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, Christian fundamentalist Creationists are building a real-life Noah's Ark that is scheduled to open to the public in July 2016.
The theme park is a project of "Answers in Genesis", a non-profit fundamentalist Christian organisation, supporting young-Earth creationism and opposing evolution. The ark is a 510-foot-long, 85-foot-wide, wooden ship that can occupy up to 10, 000 people, its makers claim.
President and CEO of "Answers in Genesis" Ken Ham has reportedly claimed that the park will attract 16, 000 guests each day and over 1.4 million people annually. Apart from the Ark, the park will have a replica of the Tower of Babel, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a journey into history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, and other Christian attractions.
The team also expects to eventually have daily live mammal and bird shows, an extensive interactive children's area, live entertainment, and several themed restaurants, creative food outposts and shopping in the park.
Upon completion of all phases of the Ark Encounter, it expects to employ 900 full and part-time staff. It has claimed that the project will be one of the largest "green" construction projects and should become the largest timber frame structure in the United States.
However, Ham and his team are short of their $91 million goal, with funds arriving from bond offerings, donations, and people purchasing "lifetime passes" to the theme park.
Furthermore, "Answers in Genesis" was revoked $18 million in tax incentives, probably due to plans to only recruit religious employees, and not gay or non-Christian persons.
It also has a lawsuit against the Kentucky state, alleging that the latter has unfairly discriminated against it under the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act", Vice reported.
Through the full-scale Noah's Ark, the Ark Encounter will present the United States and other countries with a reminder about the Bible's account of the Ark, an official statement said.