Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark Revealed

The actual number of people visiting Ark Encounter — the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia — has always been a mystery. Ol’ Hambo was predicting more than 1.4 million visitors for the first year, but he has never provided actual numbers.

Four months ago we saw an unofficial figure of one million visitors for the ark’s first year which had just ended, and we blogged about that here: Ark Encounter Ticket Sales Figures Released. We’ve been hoping to see figures from the state of Kentucky, because they’re going to pay Hambo a kickback of 25% of the sales tax the ark pays to the state. So far, nothing has been seen from that source.

But there’s another potential source of information. As you know, the City of Williamstown, where the ark is located, has assessed a tax of fifty cents per ticket sold to ark visitors. The last time we wrote about that subject was Ken Ham Caves on the Ticket Tax.

Our clandestine operative in Kentucky — code-named “Blue Grass” — has obtained what appears to be publicly available information from the City of Williamstown. He assures us that this information is freely available through the Kentucky Open Records Act, and he sent us copies of the documents he obtained from the city. Here’s the story, starting in July when the city’s tax first went into effect:

July of 2017: 142,626 tickets sold
Tax ($.50 per ticket) was $71,313.00

August 2017: 106,161 tickets sold
Tax ($.50 per ticket) was $53,080.50

September 2017: 83,330 tickets sold
Tax ($.50 per ticket) was $41,665.00

October 2017: 93,659 tickets sold
Tax ($.50 per ticket) was $46,829.50

Observe that ticket sales drop substantially starting with September, when kids go back to school. Presumably, the three summer months will be the best, while the rest of the year will be between 83,000 and 93,000 per month. Assuming lower numbers in the winter, that’s nine months averaging 85,000 tickets sold each month, which is 765,000 tickets. Plus three summer months when 142,000 tickets are sold (using the ark’s best month), that’s 426,000 tickets, for a grand total of 1,191,000 tickets per year. That’s less than Hambo’s original estimate of 1.4 million visitors, but it’s still a good number.

Adult tickets cost $40.00, and kids’ tickets are much less. We don’t know the ratio of adults to kids, so we won’t even try to estimate the total revenue, but it’s substantial enough to keep the ark afloat — so to speak. Whether sales can continue at that volume into the future remains to be seen.

Our clandestine operative plans to request the figures every three months, so we’ll keep you advised.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

17 responses to “Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark Revealed

  1. So… how are the ticket sales verified? It’s certainly in their interest to under report on this one. And because the sales tax rebate would include gifts and food, they could always just cook the books to shift funds and still get the same amount?

  2. Hambo is getting pretty good numbers. If you use the Creation museum as an indicator of the longevity of an attraction like this you’d have to figure the Ark Encounter has at least 10 years of dwindling but significant attendance. It is likely that the shoddy façade of the Ark will fail before the rubes stop coming.

  3. @Our Sensuous Pollyanna: “Presumably, the three summer months will be the best, while the rest of the year will be between 83,000 and 93,000 per month.”

    I find your conclusion that the Ark Encounter will even come close to 80,000 in ticket sales for each of the months of November, December, January and February to be enormously flawed and hopelessly optimistic.

    (Hambo, of course, would consider you to be somewhat of a Debbie Downer for low-balling it so.)

  4. Random says my estimate is “enormously flawed and hopelessly optimistic.”

    Hey, I’m hoping that Hambo will be able to pay off all those bonds you bought.

  5. Appreciate the thought. We’ll all need a safe haven when Trump’s bubble bursts.

  6. Speaking of Hambo — he has another source of income totally unrelated to attendance — there’s a cell phone tower right next to the Creation Museum, between the museum building and Ham’s zip line towers, so it is definitely on Ham’s land. The museum is right on I-275, Cincinnati’s circle freeway.

    Ham also has freebie advertising paid for by the state. There are two official brown attraction signs, stating “Creation Museum Exit 11”, one for each direction on I-275. We just happened to notice all this as we drove by on Wednesday.

    BTW, I think Random is right about winter attendance estimates. All the locals interested in the Ark have seen it; very few people will venture from afar in the winter just to see the Ark. There is nothing else for them to see or do anywhere nearby. Not only are the winter estimates high, but I can’t imagine the summer attendance rate will hold in 2018 or beyond. It has to be pretty much a “once and done” attraction, especially at $40/head.

  7. The fact that the numbers are this high proves P. T. Barnum (a distant relative) was right: there really is a sucker born every minute.

  8. @RSG winter does seem challenging, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of attendance Hambo gets. If I was interested, going at a time when when there aren’t a lot of “guests” would be ideal. Waiting in a queue and getting bumped and packed would be a motivation for a winter visit.
    What is the reason for Hambo’s Creation Museum success? Could it be preachers pushing it from the pulpit?
    (If I was running the Ark I’d have winter and summer rates or possibly even a winter shut down. Many amusement parks close in the winter, and renovate during the winter. Hambo’s solution allow them in to buy souvenirs and see the exterior and sock ’em for parking…probably OK for the first winter)

  9. All those ticket sales have to pay for parking, so that equals more income on top of ticket sales.

  10. I can’t imagine the kiddies are going to be pestering their parents to take them to either the Creation Museum or the Ark, at least not for a second helping. Unlike amusement parks, there’s really nothing for anyone to do at Ham’s scams except look and read. And Cincinnati has a decent theme park, Kings Island. But unfortunately for Ham, it’s in the opposite direction from Cincinnati, about 70 – 80 miles from the Ark Park. Besides Kings Island, there are two other great amusement parks to draw visitors from Ohio or Indiana — Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio and Holiday World in southern Indiana.

    Now, if you’ve got kids and your vacation time and dollars are limited, you’ve got to be hard-core creationist to pick one of Ham’s places. And a good percentage of the hard-core creationists in the region don’t drive cars — just horse & buggy.

  11. Ross Cameron

    Sorry, Eric, whether it was Barnum, Bessimer, Hannum or Mark Twain (see Wikipedia) is debatable, but you are right–there is one born a minute, and there`s always a wolf waiting to swoop.

  12. Ross Cameron says: “there`s always a wolf waiting to swoop.”

    And the Curmudgeon says: As the moth seeks the flame, the simpleton seeks the charlatan.

  13. Dave Luckett

    Wolves don’t swoop. “Vulture” is closer.

  14. RSG,
    Can’t believe I am going to state of positive (really lack of negative) point in favor of the Ark but if I were looking for things to do with kids, I would feel a need to avoid all things Sandusky. Regardless of any Nittany Lion associations or lack there of.

  15. I know some folks from Indiana who visited this past year and plan to make a return trip. Probably lots of one-and-done but there are some folks who will return – hard to imagine that anyone would go more than twice, but conservative Christians are a baffling bunch.

  16. Wolves pounce.

  17. Are your clandestine operative’s initials the same as those for a twin killing in MLB?