In just three sentences in his letter mentioning our Ark Encounter, Rick Siegert (Mailbag, May 23) managed to make five major mistakes.
First, our theme park is in Kentucky, not Tennessee. Second, the Ark Encounter it not an “amusement” park, which suggests a frivolous place with thrill rides like roller coasters. With a full-size Noah’s Ark as its centerpiece, the Ark Encounter is a historical themed attraction which has become a world-class tourist destination.
Third, by drawing over 1 million guests each year, the Ark is thriving, as is the regional economy. Hundreds of hotels and restaurants are experiencing booming business due to Ark visitors. Yet the writer claimed the Ark is going bankrupt! A themed attraction that just opened a massive auditorium and greatly expanded its zoo is not struggling.
Fourth, he claimed the Ark was built using state funds. False. The money was actually raised through donations and a bond offering. No state money was involved. Now, the Ark earned a tourism incentive from the state that’s given to qualified attractions that generate tax revenue when open. The incentive is a rebate of sales tax at the Ark (with a cap) and is something of a reward for not building in another state.
Lastly, the letter-writer charged that to save the attraction, we sold it to private investors! The Ark Encounter continues to be owned by a subsidiary of the nonprofit Answers in Genesis.
In his clear disdain for biblical Christianity, the writer has regurgitated many internet myths.
Petersburg, Kentucky (May 30)