Ark Sails the Coronavirus Seas

Monthly attendance graph
Monthly attendance at the Ark Park since its opening in July, 2017, in thousands. The numbers are estimates based on tax payments and may exclude holders of lifetime passes and children.

The Ark Encounter’s attendance for July, 2020, totals 57,632, according to a recent Kentucky Open Records Act (KORA) request. Of course this figure doesn’t include the hordes (eye roll) of children and lifetime members Ken Ham claims are pouring into the park and need not buy a ticket.

The latest figure is a bit more than a third of some previous years’ July attendance figures (see the graph, above). This low number is understandable considering the current coronavirus pandemic. These numbers do not suggest any massive increase in attendance due to the opening of their new virtual-reality (virtual unreality?) theater adjacent to the Ark-shaped building. Apparently, in the new VR theater one can climb into a special “Truth Traveller” pod and don the latest high-tech VR glasses, then see Noah herding dinosaurs onto the Ark (ain’t “science“ and technology great?). The VR show will cost $14.99 at present (supposedly this is an introductory offer; the price is going up soon) on top of the $49.95 adult ticket to see Mr. Ham’s fantasy. I suspect the VR glasses will be a nightmare to clean between showings.

It is hard to say whether they are hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic; Ken Ham’s fundraiser last spring to “reopen the Ark” netted well over $1.1 million. Moreover, Crosswater Canyon, the non-profit owned by the Answers in Genesis ministry, received between $1 million and 2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money. Their gate receipts for 2018 and 2019, however, must have been in the $30-40 million range, and they will not achieve those receipts again for some time.


Matt Young will be the moderator of this thread. He produced the graph at the top of the page, but the data are entirely the result of persistent effort by Dan Phelps.