Ark Encounter & Creation Museum Review Part 1

Ark Encounter & Creation Museum Review Part 1

During the Spring of 2023, our family traveled across the country to Ken Ham's Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Our sons were 10, 8, and 6 years old and this road trip was fun as well as educational. Below, you will find the first installment of our Ark Encounter & Creation Museum Review. I will be honest and forthright about our experience, and my opinions as a mother. It is my hope that it will help other families as they adventure together and visit The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. 


Truth be told, lodging is always a tough one for us. We tend to travel with my in-laws and need places that can accommodate seven comfortably. We also really like having laundry access ensuite as well as a kitchen to prepare our own meals.

Prior to any trip, I check out airbnb as well as VRBO and google reviews. You can view the suggestions of The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum as well as special pricing arrangements they have here. We had never previously stayed at Homewood Suites but after much searching, this is where we wound up. It was a great choice. 

First of all, it includes a hot breakfast daily. This means eggs, waffles, baked goods, oatmeal, fresh fruit - we were impressed!

Then, it also includes a manager's reception on Mondays through Thursdays - what is a manager's reception? IT IS DINNER! Yes, seriously. Now we typically stay in airbnbs and cook our own meals, but on this trip, we were thankful that two meals a day were covered for our family of seven. Was it 5 star dining? No, but it was as good or better than a basic restaurant each night. For dinners, we enjoyed stuffed peppers, salad, chicken wings, vegetable soup, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and meatloaf. Honestly, we never used our ensuite kitchen! 

Furthermore, this hotel has an indoor pool, which was very nice for relaxing after long days of walking at the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. 

You can check out the Homewood Suites we stayed at which was about 15 minutes from the Creation Museum and 35 minutes from The Ark Encounter. It was also super close to Cincinnati, where you can easily spend a day by the river, or at the Cincinnati Zoo. 


Our middle son has a beloved monkey stuffed animal he sleeps with and has had since birth. Of course, Monkey was left behind in the room and we were hours away before we realized Monkey had not made it into the car safely. After a quick chat with the Homewood Suites general manager, Monkey was safely retrieved, given a bath, and then shipped home! This was a huge relief to my son and to us. We are extremely grateful to the manager and his staff for this amazing rescue!

Tickets for The Ark Encounter & Creation Museum

Our family chose to purchase a three day park hopper style ticket. In our opinion, this was the best option. Pricing valid as of December 2023 *** Check their website for the most up to date pricing.

Three Day Park Hopper Tickets (you get one week to use them on three separate days)

Adult (ages 18–59) $109.95
Senior (ages 60+) $99.95
Youth (ages 11–17) $59.95
Children (10 and under) FREE
pricing before tax | parking not included


Ark Encounter & Creation Museum combo ticket

Adult (ages 18–59) $94.95
Senior (ages 60+) $84.95
Youth (ages 11–17) $54.95
Children (10 and under) FREE

pricing before tax | parking not included

You can check out pricing and purchase tickets here

Also, be sure and plan to pay for parking. 

Food at The Ark Encounter & Creation Museum

Like I mentioned above, we were really pleased with our decision to stay at Homewood Suites - both breakfast and dinner were covered daily (you can tell I am the mom of three boys, eh?). That said, The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum do not permit outside food to come into their attractions, so we had a choice - pack lunch and go back to our vehicle midday, or hit up whatever restaurants were there in the facilities. 

My husband is a buffet buff, and The Ark Encounter has a buffet style restaurant called Emzara's. All of my kids, my husband, and my in-laws really liked this restaurant and were happy to eat the standard buffet fare. It was clean and included your drink - but I will confess I was not impressed. 

On the plus side, it is a huge establishment with lots of fun stuffed animals to look at as well as dessert. However, if you are a healthier eater, or have allergies, I personally would not suggest Emzara's. At the price point (almost $20 per adult), I would rather eat after we leave. 

There are a few other places to eat at both the Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter, but we found all of them to be lackluster. There were items like fried chicken fingers, ice berg salads, hot dogs, and burgers (all at prices that scream "rip a tourist off"). There is also a coffee shop at The Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, with coffee at prices on par with Starbucks and coffee similarly on par (I am not a SB fan, but this gives you an idea of what to expect). 

The Creation Museum

Okay, I am going to start here because here is where we started. After speaking with other families that had visited The Creation Museum and The Ark Encounter, we decided to hit up the Creation Museum first. Our crew really did enjoy this museum overall, but I will note a few things below that may be relevant as you make decisions about this attraction. 

1. There are various shows and presentations. You get this information as you enter. Check it out, attend whatever you are able. These were highlights for my boys ages 10, 8, and 6. 

2. The exhibits themselves are really heavy on reading - I repeat, really heavy. There are two areas all three of my boys really enjoyed. The first section of the museum at the entrance has dinosaurs. My boys loved this area. There is also a really neat area that replicates the Garden of Eden. They also were very engaged here. Otherwise, unless your children love museums with artifacts and tons of reading, many children will be a bit chagrined and bored in places. Again, I suggest interspersing the programs and theater shows so that they remain engaged and enjoy the Creation Museum. In my opinion, ages 10 and up are best suited for the Creation Museum. 

3. There are some really cool gardens, water features, and walkways surrounding the premises. They are wonderful for enjoying with rambunctious kiddos who need to burn off some energy.

4. Overall, our children liked the Creation Museum and most especially enjoyed the hands on experiences and more extreme exhibits. In my opinion, children 10 and up will enjoy the Creation Museum most. Your child needs to be a good reader and have a decent attention span to be able to make the most of the Creation Museum exhibits. 

Be sure and check out The Ark Encounter & Creation Museum Review Part 2

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