Hambo Explains the Ark’s Attendance Figures

A few days ago we wrote Hambo’s Ark — True Figures for the 2nd Year, providing the latest official figures on the paid attendance for the second year’s operation of Ark Encounter — the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

Yesterday, Hambo himself posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: What’s To Come at the Ark Encounter. A lot of it is about his future plans for the tourist attraction, but that doesn’t interest us. We’ll focus only on his discussion of attendance figures. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

We’re thrilled with attendance last year for both our attractions. Over one million guests came to the Ark, and sometimes we welcomed 7,000–8,000 visitors on busy days. Up to 12,000 people will visit the world-class Ark Encounter and our popular sister attraction the Creation Museum in Petersburg on a summer day.

That’s nice, but what about specific figures? He says:

Particularly encouraging this past year was the 20% increase we saw in the number of motor coach tours that visited our attractions, even coming as far away as Dallas, Texas—and many buses arrived from states like Iowa. With the growth of these organized tours, and with “raving fans” [Hee hee!] going back into their communities and encouraging others to visit us, we think the third year at the Ark will be just as strong as year two.

Aha! So the previously predicted 20% increase in attendance over the first year is now magically transformed into a 20% increase in motor coach tours — a statistic no one can verify. And the third year attendance will be “just as strong as year two,” but no stronger. Then he tells us:

Our large facilities can actually handle even more guests per day, but the lack of hotel beds in the region is putting an artificial cap on our potential audience. We heard from a few people last week that they had to find accommodations about an hour away because the hotels they tried to book in Northern Kentucky were completely full.

Any shortfall in predicted attendance — which is never actually admitted — can be blamed on a lack of hotels in the area. Very convenient. He continues:

We are like most attractions in that we don’t release annual attendance figures. We know how people will attempt to figure them out on their own, but some will cherry pick information from different sources and try to argue the Ark has not been successful.

We haven’t claimed that the enterprise isn’t successful. It’s obviously not going bankrupt. But Hambo’s prediction of a 20% increase in attendance, and his earlier estimates of 1.4 to 2 million visitors, and possibly more, hasn’t come true. We say that based on our clandestine operative’s figures obtained via the Kentucky Official Records Act. Let’s read on, as Hambo wiggles a bit:

For example, you can’t look at ticket sales to come up with the grand total. You see, thousands and thousands of young children under 5 who have visited in the past two years came free with their families. Also, Ark members who have life-time passes don’t have to pay for a ticket, and they also receive a number of free tickets each year to use for family and friends. Also annual pass holders may visit multiple times, and they too don’t show up in ticket sales. But we can say that attendance for year two was higher than our excellent first year.

Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. But as we reported earlier, the official figure for paid attendance for the second year was 862,471. We have no idea how many toddlers there may have been who got in free. Here’s our last excerpt:

It’s important to mention that almost all attractions see a drop in attendance after the initial excitement of the opening year wears off. But we have experienced another remarkable year and an uptick in attendance.

The rest of the long post is mostly about improvements that are planned. We don’t care about that. The important thing is that Hambo’s previous predictions about a glorious second year have now reduced to “an uptick in attendance.” Perhaps. We may never really know.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Hambo Explains the Ark’s Attendance Figures

  1. And Hambone’s fake excuse that they did not count the kids, is BS because the kids did not go to the Ark…they were dragged there by their parents different!

  2. Ken ken ken. Have you figured it out yet? You have facebook, you have twitter, you record yourself on youtube, you get quoted in online articles.


    We can cross reference what you said anytime and catch you in lies and contradictions, just like we all started doing when laymen finally got access to your ridiculous holy book written by ignorant bronze age goat herders.

    Your facts don’t add up anymore than those of the Buy-bull….. just give it up.

  3. Ken Ham:
    “We heard from a few people last week that they had to find accommodations about an hour away because the hotels they tried to book in Northern Kentucky were completely full.”

    Very strange, since Cincinnati, with thousands and thousands of rooms, is only 36 minutes away from the Ark Encounter. Of course, that’s assuming his guests are traveling by car. Now if they are horse and buggy Amish, he’s got a good point.

  4. And Ham knew of the scarcity of motels in Williamstown, Ky. when he built his ark. So why doesn’t he just convert some of the animal pens in the ark into motel rooms? Give the people “The true Ark experience” — just like Noah, but without the waves and seasickness.

  5. or build his own hotel…….whoooops! He’s having trouble filling all his employment openings as is! Me Bad!

    BTW Ken, little “secret”: REAL attractions DO release their attendance figures, both attendance and ticket sales….. obviously, you have something to hide!

  6. Karl Goldsmith (@KarlGoldsmith)

    The Lexington Herald-Leader said “Ark Encounter, which opened in early July 2016, generated more than $2.28 million in sales taxes in its first year, according to the Kentucky Department of Revenue.” I wonder if they will do the same reporting for the second year.

  7. So Ken wants to prevent speculation and cherry-picking… by not releasing the authoritative numbers in a central place? Logic, Ken: you don’t do it.

  8. “We heard from a few people last week …”
    Gee, that sounds a lot like: “People are saying …”, “A lot of people are telling me …”, “Everybody is saying …”, “Nobody knows that …”, etc. that another very large idiot frequently states, and always unevidenced as well.

  9. “Aha! So the previously predicted 20% increase in attendance over the first year is now magically transformed into a 20% increase in motor coach tours — a statistic no one can verify. And the third year attendance will be “just as strong as year two,” but no stronger.”
    If Hambo is changing his attendance numbers claims right after this blog points out the inaccuracies in the original attendance numbers, then it would appear that SC now has another devoted reader , Hambone himself. I wonder what they need in attendance to break even? I suspect attendance will continue to decrease as word spreads of the ark’s bizarre inconsistencies among informed groups that might otherwise send successive groups of attendees. I can’t see this going anywhere but downwards. Even the benighted know when they’re being ripped off.

  10. Dave Luckett

    och will, I think probably a more immediate cause of decline will be that the Ark is boring. Static displays of resin models and placards don’t cut it for long. Jurassic Park it’s not.

    Still, there may be those among the (sparse) attendees who notice, and puzzle over, the steel bolts, trusses, buttplates and braces holding the thing together, or the fact that this “ship” is bedded on concrete pilings, to hold it rigid. They may be moved to ask themselves why such anachronistic structural support is required, or why it has electrical light and a ducted air flow system, when it should be pitched with bitumen, and lit by oil lamps. Oh… wait…

    Ken Ham might not have done his cause any good in the long run. One thing to read a story in a book. Quite another to build an Emerald City.

  11. Rann has a good point. Rather than “yeah but!” excuses, Hambo could just release all the figures. I assume he’s counting the freebies coming in, if not that’s pretty darn convenient. Of course someone entering for free is a double whammy. For one thing they aren’t paying, and they likely won’t be coming back as a paying customer. (If Hambo likes free entrants so much I’d offer the challenge to allow anyone who avows as an atheist get free admission AND free parking, otherwise Hambo is just preaching to the choir.)
    Sadly, rather than raving fans, Hambo has rabid fans. Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system causing the victim to elicit symptoms that propagate the disease. They don’t go to the ark because it is fun, they do it out of rabid desire to support Hambo and young earth creationism.

  12. After watching “The Greatest Showman” this weekend, I realized that Hambo is simply following the P.T. Barnum playbook. Play by play. Even his tweets are like that of the side show caller at a carnival.