Nate Fleming, a blogger who has no dog in the Creation/evolution battle, visited Ark Encounter on opening day with his family of four. He just wrote a lengthy review of the experience on his website, and while there’s a lot of positive feedback there (too much for my tastes), the criticisms really stand out.
Like the displays on the ship:
Considering that Ken Ham was bragging that the Ark Encounter would compete with Disney and be “beyond Hollywood”, and furthermore that he continually emphasized that the park had been designed by the person who had designed the Jaws and King Kong rides at Universal Studios, I was expecting more bang for my $160 bucks. See, the park is heavy on attempts to proselytize visitors and educate them about Creation theory, but extremely light on entertainment.
I’m assuming that as time goes by, more displays will be added, but they need to be more than just posters on the wall or the odd mannequin. The ark needs to be a dynamic, moving place to visit, and they shouldn’t just rely on visitors being impressed by a big boat, because that wears off quickly and won’t bring people back.
Here are some simple ideas that AiG can use for free: (1) have actors wandering the decks in costume and in character, interacting with visitors. (2) Have much more multi-media, maybe even 4-D films that help you to experience what it would have been like to be in the flood. (3) since AiG loves dinosaurs so much, use Ken Ham’s Aussie connections to get dinosaur puppets from Erth to be a part of the experience.
The bottom line? There are a thousand things AiG could do to make the Ark a “must-see” park for everyone and not just believers, who are currently the only ones interested in visiting…
Those are some… very sensible suggestions. And his other criticisms, of which there are several, are equally valid and thoughtful. Keep in mind he’s speaking directly to a Christian audience and appealing to their better angels.
Ken Ham loves to respond to his atheist critics, accusing them of everything from immorality to pushing their own “religion.” I’d like to see him respond to this well-intentioned guy who brought his whole family to the Ark with a completely open mind, only to be very disappointed by what he saw. He’s right in Ham’s target audience, too, which makes his dissatisfaction even more stinging.
(Thanks to Michael for the link)