Attendance numbers at Ken Ham’s ‘Ark Encounter’ are tanking

There have been reports about declining attendance at creationist firebrand Ken Ham‘s Ark Encounter exhibit. The Friendly Atheist lifted the veil off the numbers last summer (which Ham likes to keep secret) thanks to an ordinance passed by the city of Williamstown, Kentucky.

As it turns out, AE officials added a $0.50 surcharge to each ticket as a “safety fee” to help pay for emergency services. Since the revenue from the safety fees are public record, Kentucky Paleontological Society president Dan Phelps was able to get the attendance numbers at the park for July, August, September, and October of 2017.

As reported by the Friendly Athiest, the attendance numbers were as follows:

July: 142,626

August: 106,161

September: 83,330

October: 93,659

“At the time, we concluded a few things,” the Friendly Athiest’s Hement Mehta writes. “The attendance figures were solid in the summer and then took a dive when the school year began. (No surprise there.) We predicted things would get worse as the weather grew colder (even in Kentucky) and as the school year progressed.”

According to Mehta, he didn’t expect to see the attendance numbers rise because “if you’ve seen the Ark once, there’s really no need to see it again.”

If the downward ends up being longterm, some secular-minded folks posit that it’s due to the exhibit’s inability to generate the return foot traffic that regular museums do. Ham’s attractions are based off a literal interpretation of the bible — which does not change and isn’t prone to new discoveries.

Ham had high expectations for the Ark Encounter, even bragging that he expected “1.4 million to 2.2 million” in the Ark’s second year after opening. That prompted Phelps to check back and see how the numbers were doing.

In November of 2017 through March of this year, these were the attendance numbers:

November: 51,914

December: 36,472

January: 13,250

February: 17,961

March: 62,251

That’s a big drop-off.

One has to wonder if the idea that dinosaurs co-existed with humans on Noah’s Ark gets a little mentally exhausting for people compelled to hold on to that belief system. Either way, Ham’s Ark Encounter is in trouble.

You can read the Friendly Atheist’s full report here.

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