A Christian theme park is losing money so fast, its owners are about to auction off property that includes nativity statues and angel’s wings.
It’s not Ark Encounter. (Not yet. Don’t get your hopes up.)
It’s Holy Land Experience, the Orlando-based theme park that opened in 2001 and was bought by the Trinity Broadcasting Network in 2007. But with the deaths of TBN’s founders over the past few years, the funding that supported the attraction is no longer there and tickets alone aren’t covering the difference:
Financial reports from Holy Land Experience Inc., a not-for-profit based in Orlando, show the downward spiral in revenue, mostly because of the end of large cash infusions from TBN.
Holy Land’s Form 990 financial disclosures to the IRS show that TBN and other companies contributed $42.7 million to the theme park in 2010. That dropped to $23 million in 2011. After that, the contributions plummeted to $2.2 million in 2012, $2.6 million in 2013 and $2.5 million in 2014. The organization’s 2015 form is not available.
The organization still owns the incredibly valuable land on which their property sits, but the park itself is no longer operating in the black, with million-dollar deficits in recent years. Also realize that, despite their geographical separation, places like Ark Encounter may eventually cannibalize customers eager to take a family vacation to a Christian theme park. (Who these people are, I don’t know; just feel sorry for their children.)
The smart move would be to sell the property to the strip mall developers who are clamoring for access to that space and call it a day. Use the money to do something useful… or just proselytize in a more modern way.
It’s hard to imagine, though, how much longer this place can survive without a Holy (Sugar) Father.