Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark — December 2018

We’ll tell you right up front: The numbers are up.

Thanks to our clandestine operative in Kentucky, code-named “Blue Grass,” we have the latest official ticket sales figures for people visiting Ark Encounter — the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

As you know, Hambo has to pay a safety tax of $.50 (fifty cents) to the City of Williamstown for each ticket sold, and the results are available through the Kentucky Open Records Act (KORA). Our operative showed us a copy of the latest Monthly Safety Assessment Report. It reveals that Hambo’s Ark Encounter sold 46,400 tickets in December 2018, resulting in a fee due to the city of $24,200.00. (Our math says that should have been $23,200, but the city’s form shows otherwise.)

Now the question is: What were the ark’s ticket sales for the same month during the preceding year? As we reported in Hambo’s Ark — True Figures for the 2nd Year, in December of 2017 the Ark sold 36,472 tickets. That’s right. Hambo sold almost ten thousand more tickets this December than last December — a 27% increase.

What accounts for that? Our operative notes that “Ham has added an ice skating rink outside the Ark, and now (or at least during December) allowed Grant County residents park for free instead of the usual $10 parking fee.” That might explain it. Or maybe the weather was better this year than last, but we don’t know that. There must be some explanation. Perhaps you know what it is, dear reader.

For the past several months, while monthly ticket sales were declining, Hambo kept insisting things were better than ever. Now that he’s actually had an “up month,” it’s difficult to imagine how he’ll handle it — but it’ll be fun.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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13 responses to “Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark — December 2018

  1. Karl Goldsmith

    It’s the Crosswater Canyon 990 I want to see and compare numbers.

  2. I don’t remember anything about Grant county residents getting free parking. I can’t see how they’d implement it, because the attraction pretty much takes your car hostage until you pay an automated gate to get out. (This is my understanding based on a comment from a disgruntled visitor).
    I live about 300 miles north of there and so I can vouch for a very mild December. Weather is probably the most significant reason for the uptick.

  3. SC writes:”There must be some explanation.”

    There is. Ham sold his soul to Satan.

    See you at the Lake of Fire, Ken!

  4. Troy, perhaps he handed out coupons of some sort under the local population?

  5. A light bulb always burns brightest just before it goes out….

  6. The most likely explanation is the dinner deal that Ken ran. After 5 PM, people could buy a discounted ticket that included the buffet diner. Prices were $32.99 for adults, $24.99 for seniors, $21.99 for kids 5-12, and kids 4 and under were free. Even if people were just there for dinner they were counted as ark attendees. Now, while I’m sure that most people did peek inside (as the regular price for the buffet is about half that amount), I doubt they would have come solely for the ark had this deal not run.

  7. @general, actually the attendance figures are based on the fifty cent ticket tax. So in theory anyone getting in for free isn’t counted. This includes very young children, suckers who bought lifetime or limited “Ark boarding passes” before the Ark was built, as well. There are a couple of other businesses that also pay the tax, but are so small we can be sure that most of the tax is from the Ark Encounter.

  8. Re: Mild December weather.

    To make an accurate comparison of year-to-year ticket sales for a given month, weather needs to be taken into account, especially in winter.

  9. @Troy
    Correct, but these were not free tickets, just heavily discounted ones that included the buffet dinner. After 5, you could essentially get a dinner and admission ticket for less than the cost of a standard ticket. All of these tickets (except for the 4 and under crowd) would count towards the 50 cent fee.

  10. @general OK I don’t follow the Ark Encounter specials, but seems reasonable. I’ve always heard the Ark restaurant is empty, but a cheap buffet might just change that.

  11. Here in northern Indiana, there is are frequently run TV ads for the place.

  12. Gumlegs – I grew up in northern Indiana and can easily see why the Hoosiers there would be prime targets for Hambo. I know folks in Shipshewana who have made the pilgrimage to the Ark and would consider making a second trip, as encouraged by their pastor.

  13. Karl Goldsmith

    “Here in northern Indiana, there is are frequently run TV ads for the place.” If you look under Independent Contractors on the Crosswater Canyon 990, you will see they spent $3,400,000 on advertising. The year before they spent $2,950,000 on advertising when the Ark was under construction.