Protesters Chant Outside Opening Of Kentucky Noah’s Ark Park

About 100 protesters spent Friday morning standing in the heat and rain, holding signs at the exit closest to the new Williamstown attraction, a replica of Noah’s Ark.

The group was closely watched by a cadre of police officers across the street.

The protesters, who had rallied in the name of science in order to decry the mission of “Ark Encounter,” had traveled from all over, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Larry Decker, the director of the Secular Coalition for America, made the journey from Washington, D.C. because he felt it was imperative to make a statement about what he calls the false messages of the Noah’s Ark Encounter: Taxpayer dollars being used to fund a religious organization, discriminatory hiring practices, and the peddling of pseudo-science to children.

“We stand for secular values: Freedom, inclusion, equality and knowledge. This ark doesn’t stand for any of those values.”

Protesters are calling discrimination because all park employees have to be devout Christians.

Patrick Barnett from Westchester, Ohio, agreed with the protest.

“This engenders anti-science attitudes. You are limiting children’s futures by suggesting science is a conspiracy against them.”

Barnett said he worried that even public schools would make field trips to the ark.

Kentucky Department of Education officials said Thursday that they “are working on a directive to public school districts about Ark Encounter that should be ready next week.”

The park, which Dezeen.com calls “part religious education centre, part adventure playground,” is based “on the biblical tale in which God instructs Noah to build an ark to save his family and a pair of each of the world’s animals from perishing in a great flood.”

Designed by the Indiana firm Troyer Group, the ark-shaped structure is allegedly the world’s largest timber-framed building. It was built by Amish carpenters according to dimensions specified in the Bible.

The ark spans over 155 meters in length, 26 meters wide, and 16 meters tall.

The park is located in Williamstown, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. It is run by the Christian fundamentalist organization Answers in Genesis and was designed to be a sister attraction to the nearby Creation Museum.

In answer to the natural question of, “Where are all the animals?” the 800-acre site is home to the Ararat Ridge Zoo, which is host to Tibetan yaks, kangaroos, and ostriches, and offers camel and donkey rides.

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The Noah’s Ark theme park which opened yesterday in Kentucky, USA, has been controversial for many reasons.*… https://t.co/bS4AdDrYyp
— Flying Teachers (@flyingteachers) July 8, 2016

Emzara’s Kitchen, a restaurant named after Noah’s wife, boasts a seating capacity of 1,500.

Construction continues, as plans include a nine-mile zip line, a “Tower of Babel,” and a walk-through aviary.

Answers in Genesis chief executive Ken Ham explained the motivation behind the ark’s construction.

“In a world that is becoming increasingly secularised and biased, it’s time for Christians to do something of this size and this magnitude.”

The park opened on Thursday, amid statewide warnings of flash floods.

[Photo by John Minchillo/AP Images]