Hambo’s Ark Encounter Attendance Figures

We’ve all been waiting for news of the latest figures about people visiting Ark Encounter — the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. Our last post on this topic was back in December: Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark Revealed.

Today, thanks to the work of our clandestine operative in Kentucky, code-named “Blue Grass,” we were alerted to a news story at the Cincinnati Enquirer, which has a comments feature — there are only two so far, one pro, one con. Their headline is Ark Encounter reports 1 million visitors in second year. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Northern Kentucky’s Noah’s Ark replica attracted one million visitors during its second year of operation, officials said. Answers in Genesis (AIG), which owns the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum, reported a 20 percent jump in attendance year over year for the ark.

The news story gives us only Hambo’s figures, not official figures from the state, based on which Hambo’s organization receives a kickback of 25% on the sales taxes collected. We’ve seen nothing from that source. Our clandestine informant tells us:

Note that Ken Ham repeatedly stated that they would have MORE Ark visitors the second year. His estimates were 1.4 to 2 million plus. I plan on doing an open records act in August so we will have “official” numbers from July 2017 to July 2018. They may have far less than 1 million paid visitors and be claiming a million because of free tickets and people using season and lifetime passes. If so, despite their spin, this is a precipitous drop in attendance.

Perhaps so. This is the only other information of interest from the Cincinnati Enquirer

To put attendance to the Ark Encounter in perspective, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden reported 1.6 million visitors in its last annual report. Kings Islands had an estimated 2017 attendance of 3.47 million, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. The Newport Aquarium averages 700,000 visitors a year, according to its website.

As you can see at Hambo’s website: Ark Tickets, adult tickets cost $48.00 for adults, or $38 for seniors, and kids’ tickets are much less. We aren’t told the ratio of adults to kids, so even if Hambo’s figure of “a million visitors” is accurate, we can’t even try to estimate the total revenue, but it seems to be enough to keep the ark afloat — so to speak.

Addendum: A year ago we posted Ark Encounter Ticket Sales Figures Released. One of Hambo’s own people said the figure for the ark’s first year was only 1 million, not the 1.4 million they had been predicting. But if Hambo’s figures for the current year are accurate, it’s only 1 million this year too. No problem. Creationists have had lots of experience re-interpreting reality to make it be what they want it to be. Last year’s figures have gone down the memory hole and — Behold, it’s a miracle! — they’ve had a 20% increase.

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26 responses to “Hambo’s Ark Encounter Attendance Figures

  1. Mark Germano

    Another example of a guy who thinks that expertise in one field carries over in to another. Just because Ken Ham is an expert at fooling rubes in to spending money at his museum of pseudoscience, it doesn’t make him an expert at getting the rubes to spend their money at his park of pseudo-amusement.

  2. So, 1.1 million the first year (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/04/21/ark-encounters-latest-attendance-numbers-are-ken-hams-nightmare/)

    and Ken’s own claims:

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/ken-ham-ark-encounter-attendance-limited-lack-hotels-190927/

    And 1 million this year. Flat at best, but probably a decline. Just keep spending money on that thing Ken! It will help you go under faster.

    But then he uses different numbers (800K) to claim a 20% increase?

    And here is another article where he states 1 million:

    https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/ark-encounter-ticket-sales-figures-released/

    So what is it, Ken? Was it 800K or 1 million?

    He must have had Nathaniel Jeanson do the math for him!

  3. You see, we all start with the same math, it’s just that Ken, as a Bible-believing Christian, interprets the math differently.

  4. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    “We aren’t told the ratio of adults to kids” I think reducing the child price and yet adding $8 to adult and $7 to senior makes that obvious.

  5. Could he be pro-rating the first year to get two, equivalent, 12 month, years. That would be one way to claim a big increase – because of a shorter year#1.

  6. bewilderbeast

    Christians are ALLOWED to lie (and boy, they do!). Especially if it’s for a good cause, like raising money for a brick ark or a Cessna Citation jet aircraft. But the best good lies, which can get you straight into heaven, is lying to kids.

  7. Kosh points out conflicting figures for the first year’s attendance. So does my clandestine operative, so I went back to take a look. Sure enough, a year ago we posted Ark Encounter Ticket Sales Figures Released. One of Hambo’s own people said the figure for the ark’s first year was only 1 million, not the 1.4 million they had been predicting.

    Now, assuming Hambo’s figures are accurate, it’s only 1 million this year. No problem. Creationists have had lots of experience re-interpreting reality to make it be what they want it to be. Last year’s figures have gone down the memory hole and — Behold, it’s a miracle! — they’ve had a 20% increase.

  8. It’s kind of like figuring out the number of animals that were on Noah’s ark. You keep changing it till you get something you can promote as factual.

  9. Heck, he’s not even lying about it consistently this week. From today’s FB:

    “The ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of Ark Encounter was 2 years ago today. Now, 2+ million guests later, Ark visitors continue to increase and pour in from across the globe. The attraction has greatly expanded (and continues to). It’s been a resounding success—praise God!”

  10. I have to say I’d be impressed if Hambo kept his numbers for the Ark Encounter flat. But of course if Hambo is good at one thing it is producing hot air. We’ll soon know the amount of exaggeration when the safety fee numbers are released. Visitors coming in on their “boarding pass” they got for donating to the ark aren’t going to be taxed (though they SHOULD be, since they might need medical and emergency services just like anyone else), but Hambo will count them (and probably count them multiple time if necessary).

  11. You might check out: https://www.grantky.com/content/safety-fee-assessment-projections-fall-short
    It seems that in the past 11 months, the ark park only collected $374,295 for the safety assessment, which at $.50 a head means only 748,590 paid admissions. So either little kennie has padded his numbers considerably, or his counting must be way off. The only way he gets to even 1,000,000 is to have an incredible June. He’s still way off his projection of 1.4 – 2.1 million for a second year in operation. The city is wisely backing off projections for the future.

  12. @Ted Herrlich – GREAT find, TYVM!

  13. Thanks! Personally I think the reason little kennie didn’t want to pay the safety assessment is exactly this — actually attendance figures. It’s hard to artificially inflate things when there is something more objective in the public eye. . . not that it will stop him.

  14. Just wondering here. I’m not aware of the total time “Noah” and his family had to build the “ark”. I’m also not aware of the total man-hours(using modern equipment and construction techniques) it took to build a “replica” including gift shops, movie theaters, restaurants, service areas and restrooms. HOWEVER, I think that this might be an important piece of data to have. Of course “Hambo” will find a miraculous explanation for the disparity between the amount of time and manpower Noah had and what Hambo had, but it would be a fascinating statistic, wouldn’t it?
    I’m going to research this. ,,,,,,,Cheers Fellow Curmudgeoneers

  15. I think Ken Ham pulls those visitor figures from the same space where the Flood water allegedly came from: the Great Deep (Gen 7:11).

  16. @och will –

    “Of course “Hambo” will find a miraculous explanation for the disparity between the amount of time and manpower Noah had and what Hambo had,”

    See, that’s the interesting/catch part for him.

    To answer complaints about his use of technology on the Ark Encounter, he has already speculated about the pre-flood civilization being technologically advanced, etc etc. But then he has no explanation for why it took Noah so long to do it!

    Maybe he’ll claim it was fund raising…..

  17. Or government interfering with his religious freedom! “War on Noachians!”

  18. Kosh said to Ted Herrlich: “GREAT find, TYVM!” In case I’m not the only one who had to look that up, it means: Thank You Very Much.

  19. “In case I’m not the only one who had to look that up, it means: Thank You Very Much.”

    LOL. FYI… YMMV

  20. @Ted Herrlich
    The $374,700 collected was combined from the N’ark, Williamstown Family Fun Park and Main Street Gardens. Doesn’t say how much from each.

  21. @Paul S

    when I rechecked on the link, the article had been expanded to detail the others were like $400…..

  22. Actual it does, the $374,295 was little kennie’s share, the rest didn’t amount to much . . . which was one reason little kennie whined so much about it.

  23. guess I spoke to late 🙂

  24. @Kosh,
    I see that now. Looks like the Family fun center filed for bankruptcy. Having the same activities as the ark it doesn’t bode well for the Hamster’s zip line as a saving grace.
    Expecting $715k and getting $374k isn’t good for Williamstown either. That won’t pay for the firetrucks and EMTs needed when the big gay boat goes up in flames from a corn-dog grease fire.

  25. @Paul S
    Williamstown can always increase the fee.

  26. Forget the visitor count. Hambo is planning for Ark U.

    Every theme park needs to develop and expand. Hambo is planning for “a 2,500-seat auditorium and a 36,000-square foot basement with classrooms”. These are not for the run-of-mill tourist. What kind of organisation would need a big auditorium, classrooms, and space to house the classroom students? Hambo is planning to build a university.