If you’re looking for a great trip for the family this summer that is within driving distance of Green Bay, the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky is definitely worth consideration.
It is located just south of Cincinnati at exit 154 off of I-75 and a ¼ mile west on Hwy 36. It is approximately an 8 hour drive from Green Bay.
Ark Encounter is a life-size Noah’s Ark attraction. I took my daughters to see it last summer and it was an amazing site to see! The Ark itself is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. It has 3.3 million board feet of timber and is the biggest timber frame structure in the world!! I’ve heard and read Bible stories about Noah’s Ark and The Flood ever since I was a little girl, so to get to see the Ark at actual size was so cool. I knew it was big, but it was so much bigger than I ever imagined!
If you are a Creationist and believe the Bible to be the true Word of God, this is a truly magnificent structure to see. And even if you’re not, or are unsure of your belief on Creation and the Flood, it is worth a visit to challenge your thoughts and offer a different perspective.
I recommend planning for at least 3 hours to tour the interior of the Ark with kids. This does not allow for going through each and every exhibit at length…this is going at a kids’ pace with shorter attention spans. There are 3 decks of the Ark to explore.
Deck 1 takes you through a variety of animal exhibits while learning which types of creatures, and how many of each, were brought on board. The replicas of animals and Noah’s family throughout the Ark are extremely realistic.
Deck 2 is a tour through the Pre-Flood world and an array of exhibits detailing how Noah’s family could have maintained the Ark and cared for thousands of animals during the Flood.
On Deck 3 you can roam through the magnificent living quarters and then go on to discover the impact the Flood had on our world. Conclude your visit on Deck 3 by learning about the trustworthiness of the Bible and its history.
There is lots of education throughout the Ark that supports the Bible and Creation, which is a great way to teach and reinforce this with the kids. During your tour there are also two videos you can watch. “The Noah Interview” is on Deck 2 and “As in the Days of Noah” plays on Deck 3. We watched both videos and found them very interesting. It’s also a nice way to take a rest/break from walking during the tour.
If your kids are like mine, they’re always hungry. But don’t worry–if you or your kids get hungry during your visit, there are snack stands on each deck of the Ark, a larger gift shop with fudge, coffee and snacks at the exit and a full-service restaurant on the grounds across from the Ark called Emzara’s Kitchen. It is a cafeteria/buffet-style restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.
In addition to touring the Ark you can also visit the Ararat Ridge Zoo. This is included with your admission to the Ark. The zoo is still growing and expanding, but you can expect to see Tibetan yaks, kangaroos, emus and ostriches. There is also a petting zoo and you can take a camel or donkey ride for $8 or $6 respectively. There is also a “Fossil Find” activity you can do outside near the zoo for an additional charge.
If you’re looking for some adventure, there is also Zip Lining on the grounds for an additional charge. You can soar down thousands of feet of zip lines while reaching speeds of up to 50mph and heights up to 17 stories! You can try an exhilarating free-fall jump or test your balance on the aerial adventure course. Reserve your tickets early or purchase them at the Guest Services building.
Things to know when you visit:
- Hours are Monday-Saturday 9AM-7PM and Sunday 12-7PM through May 31; starting June 1st through August 31st they are open until 9PM.
- You can rent a stroller, wheelchair or electric scooter for the day from Guest Services.
- The Ark is air conditioned so you don’t need to worry about it being too hot.
- The last shuttle bus to the Ark from the parking lot departs 1.5 hours before closing.
- There is free wi-fi on board the Ark.
- Pay for parking at the parking boxes located at Guest Services. Parking is $10 for standard vehicles or $15 for oversized vehicles.
- You can find all kinds of information on the Ark Encounter website about places to stay, other things to do in the area and etc.
- Ticket prices: Adults 18-59 $48, Youth 13-17 $25, Kids 5-12 $15, Kids 4 & under FREE. Ark tickets expire one year from date of purchase.
- There is a lot to see and do in the area, which you may want to consider as part of your vacation as well. Some other attractions north of the Ark include: Creation Museum (see below for more info), Newport on the Levee, Newport Aquarium, Eden Park and The Serpentine Wall in downtown Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Zoo and Kings Island Amusement Park. Or, if you want to head a little further south, you can visit the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
The Creation Museum is a sister attraction to Ark Encounter. You can visit this as well at a discounted rate when you upgrade to a combo ticket. The Creation Museum is located 45 minutes north of the Ark. We visited this attraction a few years ago and I recommend this one as well. You can read about our experience at the Creation Museum here. Combo ticket prices: Adults 18-59 $70, Youth 13-17 $40, Kids 5-12 $25, Kids 4 & under FREE. Creation Museum tickets as part of combo are valid for two days in a seven-day period.
I hope all of this info is helpful! If you decide to take a trip to the Ark, please comment below with any questions or to share about your experience. Or, if you’ve already visited and have anything else you want to add, please share below as well.
(Please note: all information is accurate as of publication on 4/12/18.)