People are flocking to a new attraction at a Kentucky theme park of biblical proportions. The life-sized Noah’s ark replica, Ark Encounter, has taken its viewing experience to new heights with a virtual reality attraction.
The new high-tech $3 million feature, called the “Truth Traveler,” allows visitors to experience the creation and launch of the ark. It employs state-of-the art VR headsets, with studio quality headphones and seats that vibrate, move, and interact with the passengers. Further enhancements even include wind gusts and scents.
The feature’s first presentation is called “A Flood of Reality,” which travels back over 4 millennia to when Noah and his men first built the the gargantuan ship. Guests then witness the animals being brought onboard, two-by-two, and then experience the flood itself from the safety of ark, perched among the Ararat mountains.
“I’m excited about this fantastic high-tech VR addition,” said Ark Encounter CEO Ken Ham, CBN reported. “As people have come to expect at the Ark Encounter, the bar of excellence is set extremely high, as it is again with this experience.”
Ham adds that the immersive experience is like what one would expect from a Disney or Universal production. “A Flood of Reality” aims to present biblically history as historical fact.
The attraction in Williamstown, which opened July 7, 2016, cost $102 million to build. The 120,000-square-foot museum is owned and operated by Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis, a Christian group that aims to spread the message of the Bible.
Inside the museum, exhibits feature lifelike depictions of life onboard the ark, including an animatronic Noah and lifelike models of the wildlife described in the Book of Genesis. The museum designers even added a creative flourish, including dinosaurs in the exhibit, as “young earth” organizations such as Answers in Genesis believe that dinosaurs co-existed with humans.
The ark was designed by LeRoy Troyer, founder and president of Troyer Group, who built the huge wooden boat according to directions in the Book of Genesis. In the story, Noah built a vessel that was “300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits tall.”
“There’s very little instruction in Genesis,” Troyer told Architect Magazine.
However, they knew that a cubit represented the length of a person’s forearm from elbow to fingertips. So, they estimated a cubit to be 20.4 inches, resulting in a replica that is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet tall.
Though it is believed that Noah brought over 1,400 species of animals on board the ark, the museum only features about 30 pairs of animals.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ham said this is because the designers had to make room for restrooms on every floor.
They also had to scale back their original idea, which was to include live animals inside the ark instead of stuffed animals. However, that only lends to the creativity of the display, as they were based on what specimens might’ve existed at the time of the biblical flood.
“The reason we are building the ark is not as an entertainment center,” said Ham. “I mean it’s not like a Disney or Universal, just for anyone to go and have fun. It’s a religious purpose. It’s because we’re Christians and we want to get the Christian message out.”
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