Creationist and Ark Encounter founder Ken Ham spent a lot of time boasting about how people from all over the world would flock to his theme park to gawk at its to-scale replica of Noah’s Ark.
In order to meet their goal to sustain the attraction in Williamstown, Kentucky, it was estimated that the park needed an average of 5,600 visitors per day. And while they barely reached around 10,000 visitors on the park’s opening weekend, it looks like attendance is not panning out.
According to drone footage recently posted to Facebook, the parking lot looks pretty much empty, save for a few dozen cars. The footage was reportedly taken on a Sunday about 30 minutes before the park was set to open at noon. Not a good look for a bustling tourist attraction.
“I believe you’re going to find all sorts of people from all walks of life with all sorts of religious backgrounds who are going to come here,” Ham said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the theme park back in July. “And even if they don’t share our biblical view, they can’t help but be impressed by the structure, craftsmanship and by the attention to detail of the world-class exhibits inside.”
The Ark Encounter has come under fire for requiring park employees and job candidates to sign a “statement of faith” affirming that they share Ham’s Christian worldview. The agreement was disclosed on the park’s website as a condition for employment.
“What we’re doing in using our religious preference is saying that people who work at Ark Encounter will need to testify that they’re Christian,” Ham told CBS News.
According to a 2015 study conducted by a consulting firm hired by Ham’s ministry Answers in Genesis, the project was expected to generate up to 21,000 jobs for the area over 10 years and up to $4 billion in revenue for Kentucky. CBS News reported back in in July that the same study projected that the park could draw between 1.4 million and 2.2 million visitors per year.
In order to meet that goal, those parking lots had better start filling up soon.