In the Spring of 2023 our family was blessed to go and visit both the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum in Kentucky. You can read about a lot of our experience while there in our blog post Ark Encounter and Creation Museum Review Part 1.
Visiting The Ark Encounter
On our second day, we visited the Ark Encounter. The Creation Museum and Ark Encounter are about 30 minutes apart from one another, so plan for that when you are looking at accommodations and planning out your days. As you enter the parking lot for the Ark Encounter, be prepared to be wowed! The awesomeness of the size of the Ark is pretty surreal. After parking, you get on a shuttle that takes you straight to the Ark itself. There is a visitor center with many gifts and books as well as a 4D theater nearby (more about that in a bit).
Upon leaving the visitor center, you immediately begin down a path to the Ark itself. There are multiple spots for some good pictures as you walk. We chose to enter the Ark first and visit the outdoor areas afterwards.
Also on the paths leading to the Ark are several quick eat spots. They aren't open year round, but during the warmer months, they are in full action. These little places have food like hot dogs and fries - think carnival or fair fare.
Inside the Ark
As you enter the Ark, there are rain and storm sounds that really create a fun atmosphere and get you into the experience. Immediately upon entering, the experience begins. All around you are various large barrels storing food and necessaries. Then you walk into areas with cages of "animals". Many are dinosaur types and species with lots of descriptions and ideas about what they could have been like.
Further on, you continue to see more and more animals and then begin to ascend to up levels of the Ark. As you go along, there are wonderful areas to explore that tell all about the families of Noah's sons, as well as their wives and their heritages. It is super intriguing and thought provoking to consider and discuss how all of humanity came from these families after the flood.
In one section, there is a great video that gives context to the story from Noah's perspective. Our boys enjoyed this a lot.
Additional Outdoor Experiences
Once we went through the Ark, we stepped back outside to enjoy the additional experiences there. The Ark Encounter has a small zoo area with kangaroos, porcupines, and camels. You walk in an area directly with the kangaroos. This was especially fun for all of our family. They are just hanging out and there are staff present with lots of knowledge who shared about the kangaroos.
You can pay to feed camels as well as ride a camel if you like. We really had fun watching the porcupines (they were doing mating rituals).
There is an epic playground at The Ark Encounter. It is extremely interactive and so much fun. You can ride various components as well as enjoy multiple areas to sit and picnic. Since food is not allowed into The Ark Encounter, you would need to return to your vehicle and then come back up with your picnic lunch if you decided to do so.
4D Theater Experience
Our kids found this activity fascinating. For an extra fee, you can enjoy this 20 minute 4D video experience. It takes you to the building of The Ark as well as through various views and anticipatory events. If you get motion sickness, you might sit this one out, but everyone in our family loved it!
Final thoughts about the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum
We loved our visit! We traveled with family and enjoyed the cross country trek. Our boys learned US geography along the way and took in new sights. The Ark Encounter was amazing for all of our family. Our boys were 6, 8, and 10 when we went and each of them enjoyed the Ark Encounter.
That said, the Creation Museum is geared towards an older crowd. If we lived locally, I could see visiting multiple times and it making sense to go with younger children. However, my recommendation for those who live further away: wait. Your youngest child should be AT LEAST 8 years old and a good reader to make the most of the Creation Museum. Ideally, it is best suited for 10 and up.