Ark Ticket Sales — August to October 2019

It’s time that we gave you 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. Our last post on this was Ticket Sales for Hambo’s Ark — April to July 2019, and now we’ll give you the numbers for the next three months.

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). We’ve been getting that information from our clandestine operative in Kentucky, code-named “Blue Grass,” but it isn’t thrilling reading, so we haven’t been posting about it monthly. Now we have some catching up to do, so here it comes — with some simple arithmetic we hope we didn’t mess up.

For August of 2019, Ark Encounter sold 104,350 tickets. In August of 2018, the same open records request indicated 98,106 tickets sold. So this August, Hambo sold 6,244 more tickets, an increase of 6.3% over August of the preceding year.

For September of 2019, Ark Encounter sold 73,541 tickets. It’s a big drop from the previous month, but September is the month when kids go back to school. In September of 2018, the same open records request indicated 69,207 tickets sold. So this September Hambo sold 4,334 more tickets, an increase of 6.2% over September of the preceding year.

For October of 2019, Ark Encounter sold 86,998 tickets. Compare that to October of the previous year, when 89,434 tickets were sold. So for that month we have a decrease of 2,436 ticket sales, which is 2.7% less than October of the preceding year. Blue Grass says: “The Ark had slightly lower attendance than it did in the same month in 2018. … More importantly, the attendance is nowhere near the 1.4 to 2.2 million per year Ken Ham and others claimed would be flocking to the Ark when state and local officials gave the Ark tax rebate incentives, virtually free land, and cash to build in Williamstown, KY.”

So there you have it. Disregarding what we think are relatively trivial ups and downs, the droolers continue to flood in (so to speak), and last three months have been very good for ol’ Hambo. For what it’s worth, he claims attendance is much higher than the reported figures, due to children under 5 and free tickets given lifetime members.

As always, we are grateful to our clandestine operative for his excellent work, and we look forward to many more years of having Hambo’s ark to blog about.

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

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8 responses to “Ark Ticket Sales — August to October 2019

  1. “…he claims attendance is much higher than the reported figures, due to children under 5 and free tickets given lifetime members.”
    Children under 5 are irrelevant. The ark doesn’t mean beans to them.
    Even if Ham gives away free tickets, and they are not included in total ticket sales, then Ham is short changing the city & other officials the $.50 per ticket tax I would think. Even if they get a free ticket, they’re using the same overall facilities as are paying ticket holders.

  2. It would appear that I have underestimated the potential of Ham’s business model. As SC remarks, the last three months have been good for Ham. His figures have held up pretty well. Not as much as his estimate, which we all knew was inflated, but at this rate he might get seven or eight hundred thousand in the year. Plenty to keep Ham and family in modest comfort, especially as Ham’s “ministry” consists of providing gainful employment to himself and selected relatives.

    (There’s a part of me – shameful, I know – that wishes there will be a Last Judgement, and that I will be present to see Ham’s face when Jesus tells him that he did nothing to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, help the sick or imprisoned, and only welcomed the stranger when the latter had money. I mean, in that event, I know that I’ll be in the rear rank with the rest of the goats, but Ham thinks he’s one of the Elect. Or at least he thinks that with part of his fractured mind, half shrewd entrepreneur, half raving loony.)

    The real question, I think, is “Is he putting enough aside to maintain and enhance the attraction?” Or at least, to vary it. Common sense says that an entertainment that doesn’t change has a diminishing audience – the people who haven’t seen it yet. I mean, even the Churches change their services by the season. But Ham has to do more than that. He’s got to be building more. A Hell train? A Tower of Babel that actually falls down, every hour on the hour? An entry through a sea that parts to let the visitor in (on presentation of a ticket, of course). Something. He can’t move the whole shebang around the country, like Barnum did. Ham’s Ark would fall apart if anyone tried to move it, an irony that is lost on its audience. So he’s got to improve, develop, and expand it. Or so I would think.

    But there you are. I’ve been wrong before about this. I was figuring five years, ten years tops, and the chain link fences would be going up, or (as the late great John Clarke described it) “It would be the sort of business that would have a fire about four o’clock on a Saturday morning”. It would appear that the Ark’s audience generates repeat business, as Ham supposed it would. Well, Ham would know his marks, if anyone would. Successful con-artists do, you know. And so far, he’s got them right.

    As a disclaimer, I do not echo the quotation attributed to H L Mencken: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”. Ham is not pitching to the average American. He’s pitching to a small fraction of “the American public”. But it’s enough. So far.
    We shall see.

  3. Yes, it seems as though Ham’s Ark will stay afloat at least until all the rubes within one day’s drive have seen it. Knowing the region quite well, I’d say he’s going to have a long run.

  4. I thought the city’s safety tax was meant to finance the emergency services. If that’s so, the contribution ought to be per visitor, paying or not.

    Unless non-paying visitors aren’t extinguished when they’re on fire of course.

  5. H.K. Fauskanger

    It should be noted that Ham originally wanted to build the fundamentalist version of Disneyland. He published images where the Ark was just one of many attractions; we were also going to see a “pre-flood city” with family-friendly sinfulness, a first-century village, and sure enough, a “replica” of the Tower of Babel. There was even more stuff projected that I can’t be bothered to remember.

    Then the project was apparently scaled down to “Ark only”, and even any notion that the Ark is “phase one” and that more attractions will follow seems to have fallen by the wayside.

  6. @H.K. Fauskanger
    a “replica” of the Tower of Babel
    Wouldn’t that be challenging the Lord, just as what the orignal was?

  7. “Wouldn’t that be challenging the Lord, just as what the orignal was?”

    C’mon TomS, haven’t you heard the latest apologetic?

    It’s wasn’t the height that was a threat (because, we now have science), but the INTENT and their arrogance!

    Building it for the glory of God, that’s different!

  8. I saw a recent video of a 13 old girl Bailey Harris who made a visit and made a secular video of her visit. Two things I found interesting about the video.

    #1 The Ark looks really, really bad. Hambo decided to let the wood develop a natural patina from weathering, but it looks terrible. I’m not sure if it is merely superficial coloring or if the thing is subject to rot, but beautiful it is NOT.

    #2 Bailey was almost kicked out because rubes visiting the Ark Encounter overheard her narrating her video by poo-pooing Hambo’s young earth time line. I just thought it is interesting that Hambo acts as the thought police.

    SC you’re correct monthly attendance figures aren’t particularly interesting. (It was initially important that the public get hold of the attendance though, otherwise Hambo would puff up the numbers.) The Ark Encounter is here to stay. It’ll outlive Hambo that’s for sure…well if it doesn’t fall apart, anyway.