Ken Ham’s Creationist Empire is Foundering

We learned about this news from a post at PZ’s blog, and it’s so interesting that we have to write about too. It concerns the Creation Museum run by Answers in Genesis (AIG), described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page.

At the website of Cincinnati CityBeat, which Wikipedia says is: “an independent local arts and issues publication covering the Cincinnati, Ohio area. It has the second largest readership in the Cincinnati area behind the daily Cincinnati Enquirer,” we read this fascinating story: Creation Museum Attendance Drops for Fourth Straight Year. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., created quite an uproar in 2007 when it opened with exhibits showing early humans co-existing with dinosaurs. Five years later, the public fascination with that take on paleoanthropology seems to be fading.

Fading? Egad — how can that be? You want to know more, don’t you? Okay, the news story continues:

This week, the museum told CityBeat that attendance for the year ended June 30 came to 254,074. That amounts to a 10 percent drop from last year’s 282,000 and is the museum’s fourth straight year of declining attendance and its lowest annual attendance yet.

Four straight years of declining attendance? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

Michael Zovath, senior vice president for the Creation Museum and its parent organization, Answers in Genesis Inc., offered nothing to blame but the brontosaurus-slow U.S. economy and pterodactyl-high gas prices.

Cleverly said. Nevertheless, attendance is down. CityBeat continues:

On its 2011 federal income tax return, Answers in Genesis reported a 5 percent drop in museum revenue to $5.1 million. Worse, AIG slumped to its first-ever financial loss — $540,218. As of deadline for CityBeat’s print edition, AIG hadn’t provided financial results for fiscal 2012, which ended June 30. Zovath said the museum itself isn’t losing money.

A half-million dollar loss? How is that possible? Here’s more:

To ensure its financial health, the Creation Museum raised admission prices on July 1, to $29.95 for adults, up from $24.95. Zovath said the 20 percent jump hasn’t slowed down traffic.

If traffic hasn’t slowed down, then why is attendance is declining? Anyway, that’s the news. Oh, while we’re on the subject of “foundering,” you already know that Hambo’s proposed replica of Noah’s Ark is having financial difficulties — see More Money Problems for Ken Ham’s Ark.

It’s gonna take a miracle to keep ol’ Hambo’s empire afloat. But then, all the sinners laughed at Noak’s Ark, and you know what happened to them. Don’t worry about AIG — miracles are their stock in trade.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “Ken Ham’s Creationist Empire is Foundering

  1. Charley Horse

    The imported Ham is creative. He’ll come up with
    something. Maybe a Hooter’s franchise or a unicorn
    fossil display….

    I think the creationists have given up on ever finding any
    real evidence for their beliefs. I mean, all they ever had could
    fit in a phone booth or outdoor toilet…the book of Genesis.
    That’s not exactly real evidence….in my book.

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    If I do the mathz right, looks like no one will be going there in just 5 years.

  3. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.

  4. Ellie says: “Couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

    Yes, but aside from that, it makes sense that attendance would decline. There are a lot of people who want what Hambo is selling, but I imagine that the market for return visits is almost nil. Once you’ve seen Adam & Eve, who wants to go back next year to see them again? It’s not like Disney World, where the kids always want to go back for another ride through the Haunted House.

  5. Hambo must know that he has to continually repackage the old manure in a new bag because it’s the same old manure. So, AIG begat the creationism museum and, lo, in the fullness of time it did begin to stank. So, AIG begat the Ark Park and it was good and brought in donations for pegs and planks but, alas, in the fullness of time it, too, did began to stank. And like the anti-Midas everything the old Hambo touched did begin to stank. And old Hambo did care not because he was going to find out who stole the strawberries if it was the last thing he ever did!

  6. I would almost hate to to see them stranded on Ararat. They have been such a great source of entertainment for the sane crowd. I wonder what the Hapless Hambo would do if he could no longer afford his luminaries, Biblical Benton and Part-The-Waters Purdom.

  7. The curious locals have had their look, and now the museum is making it’s money on people who actually travel to see it. That number could never have been very large. If it were located in a decent sized metropolitan area, it could sponsor evening events, attract home-schoolers on field trips, etc., but they chose to locate in the sticks.

    Also, if AiG is losing money, it will be hard to come up with capital to build new exhibits to attract the regulars each year. Donors are not likely to invest significant money in a losing proposition.

    The ark appears to be taking on water…

  8. Gabriel Hanna

    It’s not so much that their audience is declining. It is that their appeal is becoming more selective. Doesn’t matter anyway, Petersburg isn’t a big college town.

  9. Ed: “If it were located in a decent sized metropolitan area, it could sponsor evening events, attract home-schoolers on field trips, etc., but they chose to locate in the sticks.”

    Actually, the Creation Museum is just outside Cincinnati, about ten minutes from the airport. If Ham got creative, he could arrange fly-in charters to bring creationists in from all over the world to see his wondrous museum. I think Curmy got it right — no return visits. My guess is that there’s probably little positive word-of-mouth as well. Who wants to pay $29.95 to be hit over the head with some religious rant — again?

  10. Especially considering how narrow Ham’s views actually are. He’s very specific as to what people should believe. Considering the vast number of christian denominations I’m pretty certain he’s managed to offend most of them by now.

    The ark park might also be cutting into the museums profits. Why go to the old museum when you can go to a amusement park. (that will never be built) His Ark scam could be contributing to his undoing.

    Or the Ark scam could be the only thing keeping him afloat. Does all that “donation” money count as profit? He has received several million and the donation forms say that Ham gets to keep all the money even if the ark park is never built.

  11. What amusement park? There are no amusements! There’s one “ride” which is like a Tunnel of Hate and the rest is the Biblical village (dullsville), the Ark (ho hum) and a petting zoo. You’re done in 10 minutes! It’s all a huge boondoggle designed to get credulous donors to give money to old Hambo and the state legislature was taken in by it! Yes, by all means, let the Hambo fleece the idiots! Fleece away, Hambo!

  12. Spector567 “Or the Ark scam could be the only thing keeping him afloat.”

    How appropriate!

  13. He should include a casino and bar a la the Church of the New Revelation in Stranger in a Strange Land. Use sin to finance salvation.

    I have been trying to convince the other faculty that our university needs a casino. We could offer to give up what remains of our state funding in exchange for the license.

  14. I’d be heartbroken if Ham went out of business before I’ve had an opportunity to visit his magnificent Bemusement Park!

    Perhaps he can cut a funding deal from Disney for the film rights to his creationist attractions? I can see a whole franchise here of revisionist historical films about Darwin, and Kitzmiller, and even the original Scopes “Monkey” Trial.

    Anyone for Parasites of the Tennesean?

  15. @retiredsciguy: I didn’t realize he was so close to the airport. You’re right, it’s probably the high cost of admission. For $30, visitors should at least get a couple of drink tickets and admission to the Sodom & Gomorrah lounge.

  16. Curmudgeon: “It’s gonna take a miracle to keep ol’ Hambo’s empire afloat.”

    Fortunately I do miracles in my spare time, so here goes:

    “Yo, Ken, give up the YEC nonsense and go with ID’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when’ scam. Make all the exhibits about ‘Darwinism’ and how it ‘failed,’ and leave the mutually-contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis to the imagination of the visitors. Add something like the Holocaust museum, but make sure to note everywhere that it’s all ‘Darwin’s fault.’ Replace statues and pictures of Noah, Moses, Jesus, etc., with those of more contemporary Jewish people like Ben Stein and David Klinghoffer. To spice it up, add an audience participation game called ‘Expelled!’, whereby the loser, who can’t memorize enough misrepresentations of science, gets ‘expelled’ from the game, while the winner gets free tickets for another visit.”

  17. I also suspect that part of the issue is the nasty economic situation the US and much of the world is in right now. They opened up right before a major recession began – horrible timing.

    On the other hand, the top ten resort locations in the US have all managed to either stay even or rise over the last four years.

  18. Reality TV shows seem still to be a big hit….never mind.

  19. He definitely would have had better luck if he had located near a number of established draws, such as Orlando, Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (Smokey Mtn. NP; Dollywood), or Branson, Mo. Each is still surrounded by creationist demographics, and he could piggy-back on the other attractions’ popularity, so he wouldn’t have to rely on repeat business.

    Scam artist …yes. Shrewd businessman …eh, not so much.

  20. I’m amazed he gets that much business. Any theme type of venue needs to appeal to basic instincts. Our reproductive instincts–as in sex sells, adrenaline rush in a variety of roller coasters, but could be virtual reality or something like that. The most important is novelty, something a bit hard to do with limited funds and an unchanging holy writ. I’m sure some of his success is the guilt trip from some of the fundie clergy out there, but he is up against what is known as a mature market. He’d be better off perhaps doing what the “Bodies” exhibit did and move from place to place, otherwise he won’t be around much longer.

  21. Troy writes: “He’d be better off perhaps doing what the “Bodies” exhibit did and move from place to place, … ”

    I find myself pondering the possibility of viewing a “plastinated” Ken Ham as it tours around the country. I might pay to see that, especially if it has him riding a plastinated dinosaur.

  22. Maybe we should clam up about how Ham could improve his business model. He probably reads this blog.