The Ultimate Guide To The Ark Encounter

The Ultimate Guide To The Ark Encounter

Kentucky
The Ultimate Guide To Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter, a life-size reconstruction of Noah's Ark!

Ark Encounter, one of the world’s most massive timber structures, built precisely according to the specifications mentioned in the Bible!

Ark Encounter, located in Williamstown, Kentucky, features a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark and three floors of world-class exhibits inside the Ark. The Ark, measuring 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, is a man-made wonder and an exemplary piece of engineering and craftsmanship! Inside the Ark are three decks with several interpretive and interactive displays featuring the Great Flood, the animals, and household things Noah brought along with him on the Ark!

The Ark and everything inside the Ark represent the events that took place before, during, and after the Great Flood as captured in the book of Genesis. God said to Noah, “I am going to destroy all flesh because the world is full of violence. Build an ark of gopherwood, with rooms inside, three decks, and a door. Cover it inside and out with pitch.” (Genesis 6:13–22) Noah did exactly what GOD asked him – he built the Ark, took his family and furnishments needed to survive inside the Ark, and sailed with different species of animals who would repopulate the earth once the Great Flood was over. 

Marvel at the colossal timber structure and experience the history of the Bible come to life at the Ark Encounter in Kentucky! 

The Ark Encounter and its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, also located in Kentucky, about 45 miles north of Ark Encounter, are often visited together and are very enriching, educating, and entertaining! The Ark Encounter also features a zipLine, the Ararat Ridge Zoo, a kid’s playground, a gift shop, Fossil Find attraction, and family dining in Emzara’s Kitchen, making it an excellent destination for the entire family and one of the most popular attractions in Kentucky! 

Here is my ultimate guide to the Ark Encounter, featuring essential trip-planning information, main attractions, Ark Encounter attractions map, things to do, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near the Ark Encounter!

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Things To Do At The Ark Encounter

Ark Encounter Attractions Map

Ark Encounter Attractions Map

With so much to see and explore, one can spend hours and even a couple of days at the Ark Encounter theme park exploring all the three levels of exhibits inside the Ark and its several other outdoor attractions, including the Ararat Ridge Zoo, Children’s Zoo, Zipline Tours, Aerial Adventures, Fossil Find, Virtual Reality Experience, and Journey of the Animals carousel. However, without proper planning, it’s easy to lose track of time and miss out on some of the most compelling attractions at the Ark Encounter. Therefore, I’ve listed the significant highlights of Ark Encounter to help you plan your day there and make the most of your visit.

Upon arriving at the Ark Encounter theme park, you would need to pay for parking on your way to the parking lot or show your parking tickets if you already bought your parking tickets online while purchasing your admission passes. Once parked, you can buy your admission tickets at one of the many ticket booths located near the parking lots, if not already bought online, and then ride the shuttle bus to the Ark and other attractions at the Ark Encounter. 

The Ark Encounter shuttle busses offer to and fro service between the ticket booths and the Rainbow Arch Entrance, from where all attractions are within walking distance. Undoubtedly, the Ark, with its three levels of spectacular exhibits, is the primary attraction at the Ark Encounter, so definitely start there, and once you are done exploring the Ark, make your way to the other outdoor attractions of your choice. 

Here’re the main attractions at the Ark Encounter, starting with the Ark and its three levels of exhibits, and then covering other outdoor attractions at the Ark Encounter!

Rainbow Arch Entrance

Rainbow Arch Entrance | The Ark Encounter

Rainbow Arch Entrance

The Rainbow Arch Entrance is the first thing you will see after getting down from the shuttle bus, and it’s the main entrance leading to the Ark and other attractions inside the Park. The colorful Rainbow Arch Entrance is a relatively new addition to the Park, and with the backdrop of the enormous Ark, it has become one of the most popular photo spots at the Ark Encounter!

The Ark - Deck 1

The Ark – Deck 1

The Ark entrance, located on the west side of the Ground Level, leads to a short ramp, which takes you to Deck 1 of the Ark. Deck 1 offers insights into the incredible size, animal habitats, storage, and narratives of the biblical Ark, through its several immersive exhibits, including Small Animal in Cages, Ark Storage, Bat Kinds, and Model Ark.

Ark Deck 1 The Ark Encounter

The Ark - Deck 2

Ark Deck 2 The Ark Encounter Kentucky

The Ark – Deck 2

Deck 2 offers a glimpse into the pre-flood era and more animal kinds and then takes you on a detailed journey into the life of Noah and how God might have equipped him for his immense undertaking through its several awe-inspiring exhibits, including Noah’s Study & Library, Noah’s Workshop & Blacksmith Shop, Animals in Cages, Pre-flood World, and the massive Ark Door.

The Ark - Deck 3

The Ark – Deck 3

On Deck 3, you can explore the living spaces of Noah and his family through the Living Quarters exhibit, learn about flood geology and the events after the Great Flood through Flood Geology, Ice Age, and Ancient Man exhibits, and visit the Museum of the Bible exhibit. Once done, you can walk down the ramp to the Ground Level, where you will find a gift shop and the Ark exit.

Ark Deck 3 The Ark Encounter

Ararat Ridge Zoo

Ararat Ridge Zoo The Ark Encounter

Ararat Ridge Zoo

Featuring various animals from all over the globe, the Ararat Ridge Zoo is the second most popular thing to do at the Ark Encounter! The Ararat Zoo has a Children’s Zoo, Kangaroo Walkabout, and also offers Animal Shows, Encounters, and Keeper Chats, which are included with your admission. However, Camel rides and camel encounters do have an additional cost.

Journey of the Animals Carousel

Journey of the Animals Carousel

Journey of the Animals, one of the latest additions to the Ark Encounter, is an Italian custom-made carousel featuring several biblical animals you could ride and mural panels depicting scenes from the great flood. The Carousel is wheelchair-accessible and included with your Ark Encounter admission. Undoubtedly, it’s a fun ride for kids and grown-ups alike!

Journey of the Animals Carousel The Ark Encounter

The above experiences and attractions are included with your Ark Encounter theme park admission, and it would take almost an entire day to explore all of them leisurely. However, a few other amazing Paid Experiences are also offered at the Ark Encounter, including Mining Sluice & Fossil Find, Zip Lines & Aerial Adventures, Camel Rides, Virtual Reality Experiences, and several Educational Programs.

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Planning Your Trip To The Ark Encounter

Planning Your Trip To The Ark Encounter

Flying into Hebron or Louisville in Kentucky and then driving to the Ark Encounter, staying overnight in the nearby town of Williamstown or Dry Ridge, and visiting the nearby Creation Museum is the best way to get the most out of your trip to the Ark Encounter! 

Best Time To Visit The Ark Encounter: Though Kentucky has cold winters with some snow, the Ark itself is temperature-controlled, making it a year-round destination. However, summer is the busiest season at the Ark Encounter and also the best time to enjoy the attractions outside the Ark, including the zipline, kid’s playground, and zoo. If you don’t mind slightly cooler temperatures, visiting in fall, winter, and early spring is a great way to beat the crowds at the Ark Encounter. 

The Ark Encounter theme park operates on a seasonal schedule, with opening and closing times varying throughout the year. Additionally, the Park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, so I recommend checking the Park Hours and Event Schedules online and then buying your admission passes online to bypass long lines at the ticket booths on arrival.

Time Required At The Ark Encounter: While half a day is sufficient to explore the Ark and its several exhibits, I recommend spending an entire day at the Ark Encounter, leisurely exploring all three decks of the Ark, Ararat Ridge Zoo, Journey of the Animals Carousel, and dining at one of many excellent dining options offered at the Ark Encounter. You definitely need more time if you plan on exploring other paid activities and attractions at the Ark Encounter, including Mining Sluice & Fossil Find, Zip Lines & Aerial Adventures, Camel Rides, Virtual Reality Experiences, and Educational Programs.

Getting To The Ark Encounter: The best and the most convenient way to get to the Ark Encounter is by flying into Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport in Kentucky, located about 35 miles from the Ark Encounter, and then renting a car and driving to the Park. Alternatively, you could also take an Amtrak train or a Greyhound bus to Cincinnati, Ohio, and then drive to the Ark Encounter.

  • Flight: The Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Hebron, Kentucky, approximately 35 miles from the Ark Encounter, is the closest international airport to the Park. You could also fly into Louisville International Airport (SDF), Louisville, Kentucky, around 90 miles from the Ark Encounter.
  • Train: The closest Amtrak station to the Ark Encounter is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is about 45 miles from the Park.
  • Bus: You could take a Greyhound bus to Lexington in Kentucky or Cincinnati in Ohio, both located about 45 miles from the Ark Encounter.

Parking & Admission Passes At The Ark Encounter: There’s a large parking lot at the Ark Encounter offering paid parking to its patrons, and this is also where you would purchase your admission tickets if not already bought online. You would need to pay for parking on your way to the parking lot or show your parking tickets if you already bought your parking tickets online while purchasing your admission passes. Once parked, you can buy your admission tickets at one of the many ticket booths located near the parking lots, if not already bought online, and then ride the shuttle bus to the Ark and other attractions at the Ark Encounter.

While purchasing your admission passes, you could also buy tickets for other paid attractions at the Ark Encounter, including Mining Sluice & Fossil Find, Zip Lines & Aerial Adventures, Camel Rides, and Virtual Reality Experiences. I highly recommend seeing the Creation Museum when visiting the Ark Encounter and getting discounted combo tickets for both attractions.

Lodging Options Near The Ark Encounter: While you will find a ton of luxury hotels and resorts in Cincinnati, Ohio, about 50 miles from the Ark Encounter, the lodging options close to the Ark Encounter are limited to a few chain hotels and bread and breakfast. Here’re my top picks for hotels near the Ark Encounter

Dining Options At The Ark Encounter: The Ark Encounter offers snack stands inside the Ark and quite a few excellent dining options outside the Ark! Inside the Ark, you can get snacks and beverages at the snack stands located on all three levels. Outside the Ark, there are several dining options, including Emzara’s Kitchen, a family diner serving buffet-style food with great views of the Ark; The Village Smokehouse, offering delicious sandwiches and BBQ; Southwest Grill, known for its authentic Mexican food; Zofar’s, featuring comfort food, including burgers, hot dogs, and pizzas; and Village Ice Cream and Sweets a popular spot for some yummy ice creams and treats!

Other Attractions Near The Ark Encounter: When visiting the Ark Encounter, I highly recommend visiting its sister attraction, the Creation Museum, situated just 45 miles north of the Ark Encounter. You will also find a ton of other things to see and do in Northern Kentuck, which you can find in my Kentucky Travel Guide.

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Other Kentucky Attractions & Related Posts

Ark Encounter | KentuckyI hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To The Ark Encounter, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to the Ark Encounter. You can find other attractions in Kentucky in my Kentucky Travel Guide.

Happy feeding your soul!
Shreyashi

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2 comments

Christine Taylor September 6, 2022 - 10:21 am

Can I buy parking ticket online, I already purchased tickets

Reply
Travel The Food For The Soul October 9, 2022 - 2:35 pm

Hi Christine, The Ark Encounter parking tickets can be bought online only when purchased with the admission tickets as an add-on item from the checkout page. However, only parking tickets are not sold online, and if you already have the tickets, you must get your parking ticket on-site. I hope this helps!

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