Ministry of Controversy

Kentucky’s Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock



The re-creation of Noah’s ark, sitting in dry dock, six miles from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, looks like a gargantuan Pez dispenser laid on its side.

The ark sits in the distance across a dry lake meant to be symbolic of the Biblical flood, but the lake doesn’t hold water. Weeds claimed dominion over the lakebed by mid-October.



Gardens that might be planned will have to wait.

If “gardens are an “expression of faith” and “the embodiment of hope,” then the Ark Encounter, in Northern Kentucky, is in desperate need of salvation.

There is no tree of life at the Ark Encounter. There are scarcely any trees at all. The bedraggled landscaping is now a cheap, boring and paltry mix of chrysanthemums, begonias and kale that you might see planted at any fast food joint.

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground…”

Northern Kentucky was once completely tree covered.

Ask yourself what will keep tourists coming back once they’ve seen the ark. Consider praying for epic gardens.


In contrast, Kentucky Kingdom, in Louisville, has invested heavily in plantings and maintenance. You could visit Yew Dell in nearby Crestwood, Kentucky for inspiration. The Cincinnati Zoo, 44 miles from the Ark encounter, has exceptional ornamental displays. All of these tourist destinations rely on respected gardening talent to design, plant and maintain their gardens.

These gardens and parks are loved by every color and creed.

And trust me, the creedless love gardens, too.

The Ark Encounter, with dozens of educational displays, many with exaggerated claims, is a shrine to the beloved tale of Noah. Kentucky taxpayers support the $100 million dollar project from stem to stern. Amid much controversy, the court decided the Ark Encounter, was a for-profit business—no different from any amusement park.

Noah, a righteous man, began his family when he was 500 years old. (There is no mention of Noah’s wife in the Book of Genesis, but the name Emara pops up later.)

Noah was a hearty soul. (He lived to be 950 years old). God, it is believed, handpicked Noah to build a big boat. Eight family members came along for the ride. Noah loaded it with pairs of every imaginable animal, including 85 species of dinosaurs according to the Ark Encounter

Baby dinosaurs.

Otherwise, with a bunch of colossal adult dinosaurs, there wouldn’t have been room for kangaroos or groundhogs.


Creationism leaves plenty of room for story telling.

Never mind the science.

The original ark was built of gopher wood. No one knows the source of gopher wood.

The Kentucky Ark has a steel frame covered with plywood and Tyvek vapor barrier. It is clad with Accoya® treated pine (Pinus radiata) from New Zealand. The impressive, structural timbers are made from salvaged Colorado Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) that had been killed by beetles.

The Kentucky Ark, measuring 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high, is the world’s largest timber-frame structure.

After the flood, Noah returned to dry land and planted a vineyard. One day, Noah drank too much wine and passed out. His sons found him naked, lying on the ground. His son Ham disrespected him. An angry Noah retaliated and condemned Ham’s son, Canaan, to a life of slavery working for Shem, Noah’s favorite son.

Shem’s Snack Shop is down the road from the Ark Encounter.

Posted by on October 26, 2016 at 7:05 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.
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17 responses to “Kentucky’s Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock”

  1. Laura B says:

    I pass a church in Northern CA (only moderately less drought-hammered) with an enormous lawn. The only time I ever see anyone on it is when it is being mowed. The have a huge Egyptian festival every year – in the parking lot. Grass remains untouched. I, too, dream of a meditation grove. Or a labyrinth in native plants. A miniature Garden of Eden. Something other than acres of water and soul-sucking turf that no one uses.

  2. Chris N says:

    Colorado Timberframe has some interesting information on the building of the ark at

  3. hb says:

    I pass a nearby church with an enormous lawn (this in drought-hammered Southern California) and always think a simple meditation grove of olive trees, such as Jesus prayed in, would be a very appropriate use of the area, in ways both climatic and spiritual. It takes a few people with a vision to make a special garden. Perhaps a plant-lover or two will come forward with the leadership to make a garden grow there.

  4. hb says:

    I pass a nearby church with an enormous lawn (this in drought-hammered Southern California) and always think a simple meditation grove of olive trees, such as Jesus prayed in, would be a very appropriate use of the area, in ways both climatic and spiritual. It takes a few people with a vision to make a special garden.

  5. Perry Mathewes says:

    If you are looking for a source of gardens (specifically public gardens) I suggest these two sites. both have interactive maps and list state by state.

  6. Allen Bush Allen Bush says:

    Excellent point, Chris! I think the big Engelmann spruce timbers support the whole thing., but there is ample steel girding.

  7. Chris - PEC says:

    How can it be “the world’s largest timber-frame structure” if it “has a steel frame?”

  8. Joe Schmitt says:

    Those measurements in feet jump out at me. Any fool knows the righteous do their math in cubits. Just my two shekel’s worth.

  9. […] Kentucky’s Ark Encounter Stalled in Dry Dock originally appeared on Garden Rant on October 26, 2016. […]

  10. anne says:

    As a creedless garden lover, I’d consider going just to look at the big boat. And heck, I love a good fairy tale as much as the next person! But I’d probably boycott Shem’s…

  11. Allen Bush Allen Bush says:

    Judy, do me a favor and name a single lie?

  12. Judy Colegrove says:

    This is all a lie. Go visit for yourself. This exhibit is booming with visitors and a huge success. Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

  13. DC Tropics says:

    This thing has cost over 100 million dollars so far; what a shame they didn’t dedicate a bit of that money to landscaping. I wonder if it’s seaworthy? Regardless, I wish they’d actually stocked their replica Ark with two of every species of animal on the earth (don’t forget 7 pairs for all the “clean” animals!), along with enough food and other supplies for them, and a crew of just 8 people to care for them for 10 months. Now THAT would have been inspirational! Alas, Ken Ham is a creationist nut who insists the earth is only 6,000 years old but apparently didn’t have the courage of his convictions. Instead he created a theme park dedicated to indoctrinating people with patently false “science”. I wonder how much good have been done with all that money?

  14. Paul H. Schneider says:

    Unbefreakinglievable!! And I have heard that one has to pay to get into this colossal Ship of Fools…. all this and Mitch McConnell too!! Mind boggling!

  15. Nancy says:

    Thank you for the heads up. Sad when the Ark is a disappointment to those good folks looking for a special experience.
    I wonder if there could ever be a site, state by state where gardeners could post the best of their garden travels and sources. Just a thought.
    Nancy Stone

  16. Bob Hill says:

    You are going straight to heck, Buddy.

  17. Crow Hollister says:

    Perhaps it needs a flowing native grassland undulating all around it a reaching right to its mighty hull. And to maintain it an annual conflagration. Oh wait….