"We're basically presenting what the Bible has to say and showing how plausible it was," said Patrick Marsh, design director for the park, which will feature a 500-foot-long wooden ark and other Old Testament attractions, including a Tower of Babel and a "Ten Plagues" ride. "This was a real piece of history - not just a story, not just a legend."
The project is currently in the design phase. Not enough private donations have come in to start construction, and building permits will not be ready until November, according to Ark Encounter co-founder and Senior Vice President Michael Zovath.
The project has $12.3 million in hand and $12.7 million more in committed donations; it needs $23 million more to start building the ark alone. Zovath does not know when that will happen.
Like Noah before the Flood, the builders are in a bit of a time crunch, since Kentucky tourism tax incentives for the project are set to expire in May 2014.
The longer it takes to start building the $150 million park, originally planned to open in spring 2014, the less the project stands to gain from the rebates, which allow it to receive up to 25 percent of project costs over 10 years from sales taxes generated by the business. ...
Barry Lynn, a United Church of Christ minister who heads Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the planned park promotes "junk science."
"You don't pay for the ministry of people out of the taxpayer's collected dollars," said Lynn, who said his group will consider a lawsuit if the tax breaks for the ark ever kick in.Noah's Ark theme park wants to show the Flood was "plausible"