More Bad News for Hambo’s Ark Park

Things were already spiraling out of control for the Ark Encounter project promoted by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

You already knew that Ken Ham’s Ark Park Loses Tax Incentives. Then we told you about how the press was turning against him — see Kentucky Newspaper Turns Against Hambo’s Ark.

Now it looks even worse. In the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum) we read Report lowers Ark Park attendance projections. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The proposed Noah’s Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky would attract between 425,000 and 640,000 visitors in its best year, according to a consultant who studied the project’s economic impact for the state. That’s far less than an estimate of as many as 1.24 million visitors by the consultant in 2011 when a larger theme park was being planned, and less than project developers have said will be drawn to the attraction in Boone County.

Wow — the old projection predicted a high of 1.24 million visitors, and the new one shows a high of only 640,000 — that’s about half what was originally projected. What happened? We’re told:

The study was commissioned by the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet as part of its review of Ark Encounter’s application for up to $18.25 million in state tax incentives. Although the project is smaller and would attract fewer visitors the previously estimated, the consultant concluded the project met the state requirement of having an economic benefit qualifying to the state incentives.

Yes, but the state won’t give Hambo the sales tax kickbacks because of his discriminatory hiring practices. So now, not only has he lost all those anticipated millions from sales taxes, his projected visitors are vanishing. It’s a secularist conspiracy! Let’s read on:

Mike Zovath, coordinator of the Ark Encounter project, could not be reached immediately Wednesday for a response to the estimates within the Hunden report. [The Hunden Group seems to be the outfit that conducted the new study.] But Ken Ham, chief executive of Ark Encounter’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis, said in a posting on his organization’s website last October that “the full-size Noah’s Ark, when it opens in 2016, is estimated to attract up to 2 million visitors a year.”

Two million visitors a year or 640,000. Who cares? Well, maybe the project’s owners care. Maybe their bondholders care. But do we care? Yes, but only if it sends Hambo into a sputtering frenzy. Another excerpt:

The Hunden Group’s report in 2011 on the initial, larger proposal estimated attendance at between 871,383 to 1.24 million visitors per year.

Aha! Hunden made both projections. It should be interesting to see Hambo’s response. Our response is BWAHAHAHAHAHA! But wait — there’s more:

The group’s new report on the smaller project considered two scenarios. One anticipated a “a mainstream approach to the attraction,” and a second that assumed “a more religious-focused approach that may present a specific viewpoint” more associated with the Creation Museum, an existing attraction owned by Answers in Genesis in Boone County.

Under the “mainstream” scenario, the report estimates the project would draw just less than 500,000 in its first year — a number that would rise to 640,000 visitors in its third year, then level off at about 400,000 in the seventh year.

What about the other scenario? Here it is:

Under the other scenario where the public considers the attraction “more religious-focused,” the project would attract 325,000 visitors in its first year, a little more than 425,000 in the third year, then settle at about 275,000 in year seven.

That’s not good for ol’ Hambo. He’s got to react to this. Stay tuned to this blog!

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23 responses to “More Bad News for Hambo’s Ark Park

  1. “Stay tuned to this blog!”
    Sure I will! I wouldn’t want to miss the spectacle of Ol’ Hambo going down worse than the Titanic. Schadenfreude is a German word and us being neighbours there is an excellent Dutch translation for it. Literally translated it’s harm entertainment.

  2. “One (scenario) anticipated a “a mainstream approach to the attraction,” and a second that assumed “a more religious-focused approach” – I’m sorry, but this is a bleeding replica of Noah’s ark, right? What bleeding “mainstream approach” could they possibly envisage?! A “more religious focus”? How could you get any more religious than bleeding Noah’s ark? Scheduled appearance from Noah himself from the bleeding afterlife? I can’t believe the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet gave this project any consideration at all – look at the tax dollars already wasted on these silly Hunden reports. Fortunately I don’t think I’ve ever even stepped foot on Kentucky soil.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    @ejwinner I think by ‘secular’ they mean that you won’t get a bible shoved down your throat or waved in your face when you get ready to leave the park. I might go to see the ark but NO [redacted] way if I have to run the gauntlet of seminary students hired to talk to visitors at the grand egress.

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Easy way to understand the math of the consultant: smaller park means distance travelers will spend just one day at the park, not two. Hence, one cuts the numbers in half. ‘Seen the boat … check. Asked Noah about all the poop … check. Tomorrow lets go over to the Louisville Slugger Museum.’

  5. Best attractions in Kentucky:

    1. Mammoth Cave National Park. Longest cave system in the world — by far.
    2. Cumberland Falls State Park.
    3. Natural Bridge State Park.
    4. Red River Gorge, Dan’l. Boone Nat’l. Forest
    5. Any one of the many bourbon distilleries in the state. To be called “bourbon”, it must be distilled, aged, and bottled in Kentucky.

    skipping a few numbers, we come to:
    2,345,673. The Creation Museum.

  6. About 500,000 first year visitors is realistic and would be on par (a bit more actually, the ark is a “better” exhibit) with the best years of the Creation museum.
    So might the intellectually curious be interested to see the ark? Possibly, but the price and travel time would likely make that a non-starter.
    Sorry, Hambo!
    Now if Hambo got a Roller coaster (a deluge themed coaster inspired by flood water for example maybe called “Yahweh’s Revenge”) that might bring them in.

  7. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    This little lie of mine
    I’m gonna let it shine
    This little lie of mine
    I’m gonna let it shine
    This little lie of mine
    I’m gonna let it shine
    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

    Don’t let Secularism (whoof) it out
    I’m gonna let it shine
    Don’t let Secularism (whoof) it out
    I’m gonna let it shine
    Don’t let Secularism (whoof) it out
    I’m gonna let it shine
    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

  8. Unfortunately, a huge fraction of the U.S. population, as much as 47 percent in some polls (Mitt Romney, call your office!) believes in Genesis straight-up, so Hambone’s park is a lot closer to “mainstream” than we here might prefer.

    Genuine devout Christians may have less trouble with the idiot theology the Ark Park embodies than with its crass commercialism. What’s next, a Christian torture-porn flick about the Crucifixion, with the dialogue in the original Aramaic? Oh, wait–Mel Gibson did that one already.

  9. The Ark Park is, in essence, a shrine to the greatest holocaust the world has ever known – if you believe it happened. It glorifies it.

    Were the children in the world at that time evil doers? Were the babies? Were the fetuses evil? Were their puppies and kittens demon possessed?

    If god existed, and if he were unhappy with the actions of humans, he could simply have poofed them out of existence. He is all-powerful, after all, and can do anything. He could have appeared to them and told them he was unhappy with the way they were behaving – the appearance of an angry god in the town square would be highly effective. There are endless things god could have done to address his problem that would have been much less cruel and unjust than conducting a planet-wide purge of everything on land.

    So why celebrate god’s most despicable deed? This is a story Ham should sweep under the rug. There is something unnerving about people who think this was a good thing.

  10. Ah, but Ed, this god can do no wrong. If s/he could, Kentucky wouldn’t be saddled with the prospect of Kanny Humbug’s blighted eyesore.

  11. Troy: “Now if Hambo got a Roller coaster (a deluge themed coaster inspired by flood water for example maybe called “Yahweh’s Revenge”) that might bring them in.”

    Well, maybe. But he’d have stiff competition from nearby King’s Island, a major amusement park just the other side of Cincinnati from his proposed ark.

    It would seem Ol’ Hambo has bitten off more than he can chew.

  12. “It would seem Ol’ Hambo has bitten off more than he can chew.”
    So it seemed to me from the very beginning. After the success of his museum declined Ol’Hambo has decided to flee forward – a sure sign of desparation. To our infinite joy it’s going to be a long and painful process. Of course in the end he will blame it on atheist opposition. What interests me is if Ol’Hambo will be able to maintain AIG. It will take a few years before we get the answer, something I don’t mind at all.

  13. The 47% may be Ark Believers but they’re Cheap Ark Believers, too. Hambo sited the Creation “Museum” to be within driving distance of major population centers. That’s why it’s not along some state highway in New Mexico where it belongs.

    The original project included the Ark, Seven Plagues of Egypt ride, Tower of Babble, petting zoo (apparently, not a Catholic clergy attraction), Bible Times village and “strolling attractions” (apparently not Skylar, Jewel, Amber and Cinnamon). No booze, either, to dull the pain.

    Misconceptions aside the reduced Ark Park Mark I scraps everything except the zoo and the Ark.

    It’s quite possible that morbid curiosity will bring in visitors the first year, but who would go a second time? Arrive, see the ark, eat an Ark Burger and go home. Boom. Done and done!

    The description of the Seven Plagues ride sounded perfectly horrible: river of blood, room of frogs, bug-orium. It doesn’t have the excitement of the Mr. Toad ride at Disneyland. Again, people will ride it once, say “that was a waste” and never again.

    So, the Ark Park will be dead after the first season.

  14. RSG, you have a good point, but the Hambo strategy of getting parents and grandparents to bring in their offspring and churches to bring in the faithful would work better if there was something kids actually enjoyed. I suppose the ziplines are a low tech and inexpensive substitute. I always think of the failed “Autoworld” as a way to make Flint a tourist destination. In that context I’ve always been impressed Hambo’s boring “museum” gets any traffic at all and is still solvent.

  15. Ark burgers, well that explains what happened to the dinosaurs.

  16. Diogenes Lamp

    So the Genocide Amusement Ride was planned to have one room for each of the plagues of Egypt?

    So they’d have a whole ROOM devoted to dead firstborn children? A room full of dead babies?

    “Honey, let’s drive 500 miles and take the kids to see Ken Ham’s room full of dead babies.”

    “Uh, could we go some place more cheerful instead? Like, say, Auschwitz?”

  17. Charles Deetz ;)

    Imagine if the ‘more secular’ approach was that you could pick your tour guide, and a choice would be a secular/scientist who would explain to his groups all the shortcomings and unknowns that the ark story has. Kind of like how some of the adhoc evilutionst tours of the Creation Museum have been posted online. Curmie could get a new job!

  18. WondrousTermagant

    Hambo’s rant has been posted!!

  19. I read Hambo’s rant. It sounds like he hired a business to do a scientific study on possible attendance, so I defer to Hambo’s numbers.

  20. Troy says: “I read Hambo’s rant.”

    I just got around to it. It’s here: Propaganda War Against the Ark! He blames the latest news about lowered projections on the atheists — and the devil! But I don’t think it’s worth blogging about.

  21. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    @Diogenes Lamp

    So the Genocide Amusement Ride was planned to have one room for each of the plagues of Egypt?

    So they’d have a whole ROOM devoted to dead firstborn children? A room full of dead babies?

    Yeah, Disneyland already pulled this one off as part of the “It’s a small world” ride with the singing dolls. I rode it as a kid and I’m pretty sure that and the little warrior spirit doll from Trilogy of Terror gave me PTSD.

  22. Sorry – you already know you are joining with the devil in a ‘propaganda’ war against the hoped-for land-bound Ark (along with Panda’s Thumb, P Z Myers etc) …