This will shame you, dear reader. You probably thought that Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else, was no more than a crude carnival pitchman, hawking tickets for his creationist attractions and selling trinkets in their gift shops. But you’re so wrong!
It’s true that ol’ Hambo is famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building Ark Encounter, an exact replica of Noah’s Ark. But if you thought those activities were no different from selling tickets to see sideshow attractions like midgets, the bearded lady, and other oddities, then the latest post at the AIG website will change your opinion forever.
The title is Ark Encounter Announces Special Free Events.. That’s right, dear reader. The title says “free.” It’s adapted from a news release, and it has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In response to requests from visitors, the grounds of the Ark Encounter will be open to the public for shopping and dining at no charge (except for the cost of parking), from November 1, 2017, to February 28, 2018.
You read that correctly. “No charge.” Well, except for parking. Then the press release says:
Guests will be able to observe up close the outside of the impressive 510-foot-long Ark, shop inside its large gift store offering extensive fair-trade items and at other artisan stores, and grab a meal at Emzara’s buffet restaurant just a few steps from the Ark. The various stores at the Ark Encounter feature one of the largest inventories of fair-trade items in the US.
The store items and the meals aren’t free, of course, but after you park, it won’t cost you anything to wander around and gawk at what’s available. The press release tells us:
Also at no cost during that time frame, guests can stroll through the ever-expanding Ararat Ridge Zoo and petting zoo area to view their exotic collection. Located behind the Ark, the zoo showcases zebras, red kangaroos, Tibetan yaks, llamas, alpacas, camels, ostriches, emus, and more.
Wow — you can stroll through Hambo’s zoo! The press release continues:
As visitors enjoy the Ark Encounter grounds and zoo for free during this time (parking $10 per car) from November 1 through February 28, they can purchase tickets at the usual price to go inside the Ark and experience the three massive decks of world-class exhibits.
This is great! You can buy tickets if you want to, but it’s not required. You can just wander around outside the ark if that’s your pleasure. Let’s read on:
Each evening, as the Ark is lit up in rainbow lights, guests can purchase a Christmas buffet at a reasonable cost, meet adorable zoo animals, listen to live music, shop for one-of-a-kind gifts, including dozens of fair-trade items, and much more. The gift shops display unique, hand-made gift items that help support underprivileged people around the world.
You’ll have to pay for some of that, but it’s certainly understandable. You can’t expect Hambo to give everything away.
There’s a bit more information, but you’ve got the general idea. Now be honest, dear reader, don’t you feel ashamed about what you’ve been thinking about ol Hambo?
However, it occurs to us that you could save yourself a trip to Kentucky and just visit your local shopping center. You can wander around there for free too — and they probably won’t even charge you for parking. But it’s not the same. Shopping centers are so … commercial. That’s crude and terrible. But if you visit Hambo’s attractions, you’ll have a spiritual experience. And it won’t cost you anything — except parking.
So there you are, dear reader. Whatever you may have thought about ol’ Hambo in the past, you’ll want to revise it in the light of this new information.
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