Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ark Park Failing?

An article in the Religious News Service: "Ken Ham disputes reports the Ark Encounter is sinking" caught my eye and my first reaction is "Of course he's disputing it!"  It's easy to dispute something no one is really saying.

Most of the articles about the 'ark park' don't claim it's failing, but that it is failing on its promise of economic benefits to the local area, that's all.  There is a world of difference, but it's easier to refute things not being said than those that are.  With one exception every other report shows the ark park hasn't had the impact kennie promised.  In one report, the one kennie mentions, it says that one community has seen an increase.  It is attributable to the park?  I don't know and neither does kennie, but he's going to take the one claim and use it to his advantage.

Ham dismisses the multiple reports from actual shop owners, calling it anecdotal evidence, but the one positive report doesn't talk to any business owners, just the Mayor of Dry Ridge.  Yes, politicians never stretch the truth, do they?  I think a reporter or two should talk to some of the other business owners in Dry Ridge and see if the ark has had an impact.

Granted the ark park isn't doing as well as kennie wants it to do.  His early predictions of attendance, approximately 2,000,000 per year were cut to between 1.4 and 2.2 million for the first year back in 2016.  The reality is that its been open just over a year and hasn't hit the 1 million mark yet, the reports say it might hit it next month . . . might?.  Not a good sign!  Other more reasonable estimates say about 345,000 average per year, recognizing that the first few years will see the most visitors.  Only time will tell which sets of numbers are nearer to accurate.

Attractions generally do best in their first few years, and then attendance drops.  That's why they are continually adding new attractions to keep their core audience coming back year after year.  I have a friend who has been to Disney World every year since he was 18, he's 40 now.  Little kennie is no different, he plans to add other features, I've seen mention of a Tower of Babel and a re-creation of Sodom and Gomorrah.  I believe those exhibits were going to be part of the ark park originally but it had to be scaled down after the failure of much of his funding schemes.

He, little kennie, learned a bit from his first ego monument, the Creation pseudo-museum, and how it was getting pretty poor numbers after being open for several years, He did try and added a petting zoo, gardens, and a zip line -- but opening the ark park has bolstered those attendance numbers at his other ego monument and quite possibly saved kennie's bacon for now.  The question is will the normal statistical occurrence of dropping numbers occur with the ark park?  Has any attraction, particularly one based loosely on the Bible bucked that trend?  I am not aware of any.  Many that have existed are closed, like Jim and Tammy Fey Bakker's Heritage USA and Dr. Dino's Dinosaur Adventure Land.

Do I really care about the economic numbers?  To be honest, not much.  My main issue with the park, and kennie's nearby pseudo-museum, is the message of ignorance they proclaim.  When I was at the pseudo-museum I listened to a parent explaining how perfect the world was before Adam at the apple and how sin and disease are all because of Adam.  The poor kid was swallowing it up!  I'm sure the parent believed it as well, more's the pity.

The person I felt most sorry for was the child.  Once you get locked into such a narrow belief set, how many educational and career fields become closed because of your closed-mind.  With church attendance shrinking, there's only room for so many ministers, right?

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