This may become a monthly event. Last month we wrote Ark Encounter Ticket Sales — What’s Going On?, in which we discussed unverified claims about “attendance” (not ticket sales or revenue figures) at Ark Encounter, the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo).
Today we have another in what may be a series of monthly news stories about attendance at the ark. The Fox News website has this story: 400,000 visit Ark Encounter in 3 months. We should compare that to what was being reported a month ago, when Mike Zovath, co-founder of Answers in Genesis, was quoted as saying: “Just nine weeks after the Ark Encounter opened, it has already greeted 300,000 visitors.” That’s more than 33,000 visitors per week.
To keep things in perspective, we should remember that according to ol’ Hambo’s pre-opening estimated attendance figures, the ark should attract 1,400,000 visitors a year — see Why No News about Ark Ticket Sales? That means the ark should be getting over 116,000 visitors a month. Regarding revenue, we should keep in mind that adults pay $40 each, children’ tickets cost “only” $28 (free if under the age of 5). Plus $10 for parking — unless they come by bus.
Details are important, but they aren’t being reported. Are all the visitors actually ticket buyers? If so, how many are adults and how many are children? One hundred adults arriving in fifty automobiles would generate $500 in parking fees and $4,000 in revenue from ticket sales — a total of $4,500. In contrast, one hundred children (all over the age of 5) arriving in two school buses would result in the sale of 100 kiddie tickets for $2,800, and perhaps no parking revenue.
Anyway, let’s find out what Fox News is reporting today. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Since opening its doors in July, nearly 400,000 people have walked inside the 510-foot-long Ark Encounter from all over the world.
That’s the number of people who have “walked inside” the ark. Were they all ticket buyers, or does that figure also include Hambo’s employees, food vendors, safety inspectors, repairmen, reporters, etc.? We’re not given that information. Then we’re told:
“It was Saturday in July we had almost 8,000 people. Tongue and cheek I called my boss and I said boss I think we need a bigger boat,” Director of Operations Patrick Kanewske said. “That’s a tremendous response. Our market study told us that we would be about that. Really this fall we didn’t think that we would continue to have the numbers that we have this fall, It’s been tremendous.”
The next few paragraphs describe the facilities available for visitors, about which we already know. The news story ends with this:
“Come next year though we will be breaking ground though we will be breaking ground on a theatre a large theatre a 1200 seat theatre to show movies,” Kanewske said.
That’s the whole story. What do we make of it? Well, we don’t have audited figures, so nothing we’re told can be verified, but taking the employee’s statements as accurate (always a dubious practice when dealing with creationists), they’ve had another 100,000 “visitors” in the past month. If — a very big “if” — they were all adult ticket-buyers, that would be $4,000,000 in revenue, plus maybe another $500,000 in parking fees (two adults per car). That’s the maximum. If they were all kids arriving in buses, that would be $2.8 million in ticket sales, and a far smaller amount (if any) for parking fees. Even that is a dubious figure — don’t forget what we reported three months ago: Ken Ham Offers $1 Admission for School Kids.
As we said before, we don’t know what to believe. Your Curmudgeon is one of those prudent people who prefers verifiable data, rather than mere assertions. We’d like to see the actual sales tax figures, or some authoritative statement from the outfit’s accountants, or maybe something from the underwriters of the bonds that financed the ark’s construction. But nothing like that is being released. So make of it what you will, dear reader.
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.