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Don’t Miss the Boat, Go Visit the Ark Encounter! (Part 1 of 2)

Outdoor Opportunities By COL(Ret.) Grey D. Berrier II


Our 2019 PA Spring turkey season opens tomorrow, Sat., April 27, and I can’t wait to head to the woods in pursuit of a bearded bird. However, I had one of those experiences less than a month ago that was so awe-inspiring, it keeps coming to my mind and I just have to share it with as many people as I possibly can! Let me provide you with a little backstory for context. I have always had a lifelong fascination with wildlife. As a young child, I loved when someone read me a story about animals and my favorite TV show (back in the days of only four TV stations: ABC, NBC, CBS, & PBS) was Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”. Growing up, I spent as much time as possible out-in-the-woods and it was a natural progression to major in Wildlife Science when I earned my Bachelor’s degree at Penn State. My passion for wildlife persists and it serves as a primary motivation for writing my outdoor column each week. It should come as no surprise then that I have always been enthralled by the story of Noah and the Flood found in The Bible in Genesis, Chapters 6-9. When I was young, my thoughts immediately focused on the wonder of all those animals brought together in one place; while as an adult, I’ve often pondered the extensive details of constructing such a massive vessel and the overwhelming logistics of housing, feeding, watering, and cleaning the pens of all those animals. About two and a half years ago, when I first learned the nonprofit organization, Answers in Genesis, had constructed a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark, based on Biblical dimensions, in the Greater Cincinnati Area of Northern Kentucky, I knew I had to go see it for myself. Back on March 29 & 30, my wife and I made the relatively quick and painless 5+ hour drive from Lawrence County, PA down to the Greater Cincinnati Area. Based on good advice from my uncle, who had been there on a bus trip with my aunt within the past year, we initially went to the Creation Museum (which answersingenesis.org opened in Petersburg, KY in 2007) and then headed down to the Ark Encounter (which opened to the public on July 7, 2016 in Williamstown, KY) on Saturday morning. It’s roughly 42-miles between the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, and the most direct route takes you right past the Greater Cincinnati Airport in Northern Kentucky, where there are literally hundreds of options for food and lodging, just off the interstate. The Ark Encounter opens at 9 AM, Mon. – Sat., and 12 PM on Sundays. Since my wife and I are both morning people, we were only the third vehicle to arrive at 8:20 AM in the ample 4,000 space parking lot and we caught the very first shuttle bus that morning heading back the limited access shuttle road to the Ark. Now, I’ve personally visited Denali National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Mount Rushmore; and I honestly can tell you, you get the same sense of overwhelming awe and blown-away “Wow” factor when you first encounter the Ark up close. Before they even finished building the Creation Museum in 2007, answersingenesis.org started planning on building the Ark Encounter. Why build an Ark? Independent surveys found, when people worldwide were asked, “What major historical place or thing would you like to see archaeologists discover within your lifetime?”, an overwhelming majority (43%) responded, “Noah’s Ark”. Surprisingly, cultures and people groups from around the world, some not even reached until the 20th century, have the common denominator of a world-wide flood story in their past. Further independent research indicated 63% of Americans (roughly 200 million people), from all walks of life, both Christians and Non-Christians, would be inclined to come visit a family-friendly, themed attraction centered on Noah’s Ark. Built on 800-acres just off I-75 (the second busiest North-South interstate in the U.S. running from Florida to the Canadian Border) it’s located within a one-day’s drive of two-thirds of the entire U.S. population. Next week, we’ll explore the details of this one-of-a-kind marvel. God Bless, Be Safe, and Great Outdoors! ©WBB 2019