A few weeks ago we wrote Hambo’s Ark Encounter Attendance Figures, in which we reported about the contradictory claims regarding the number of people visiting Ark Encounter — the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.
Hambo’s people were claiming that their roadside “replica” of Noah’s Ark had attracted one million visitors during its second year of operation, which was alleged to be a 20 percent jump in attendance year over the first year’s figure for the ark. Before that, Hambo had been making estimates of 1.4 to 2 million, and possibly more.
We’ve been relying on our clandestine operative in Kentucky, code-named “Blue Grass,” who had requested official figures from the state, based on which Hambo’s organization receives a kickback of 25% on the sales taxes collected. Today we have his report. He informs us that these are the actual ticket sales figures for the Ark’s second year of operation, which he obtained from the city of Williamstown, which imposes its own tax on ticket sales:
July 2017: 142,626
August 2017: 106,161
September 2017: 83,330
October 2017: 93,639
November 2017: 51,914
December 2017: 36,472
January 2018: 13,250
February 2018: 17,961
March 2018: 62,251
April 2018: 67,613
May 2018: 73,353
June 2018: 113,901
Thus the total for the Ark’s second year of operation (June 2017 to June 2018) is: 862,471.
Note that those are the figures for visitors who paid for tickets. There may be some free tickets that were given out, and also visitors who were using previously purchased season and lifetime passes. But it’s unlikely that there were half a million of those, so it appears that despite Hambo’s claims, there has been a serious decline in attendance.
What does this mean for the future of Hambo’s enterprise? Who knows? There may be enough revenue coming in to keep the whole thing going, thus providing Hambo and his family with a comfortable living. But if the figures continue to decline, that may change. Anyway, despite claims to the contrary, it doesn’t look like the numbers are increasing, and that’s interesting information. We are grateful to our clandestine operative for his excellent work.
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