Here’s a quick update on the latest Ark Encounter attendance numbers, this time for the month of October.
So with all that, you’d expect that October drew in even more people than the same month last year, right?
The bottom line? Ark Encounter had 89,434 paying visitors this past October. That’s less than the 93,659 they had last October. If there’s any silver lining for Ken Ham, it’s that the drop isn’t as dramatic as the trend suggested over the past few months. But the winter months are awful for theme parks and we’ll find out very soon just how low attendance falls when school is in session, the weather is colder, and visiting theme parks isn’t as much of a priority as visiting family.
Here are all the attendance numbers we know, along with the Safety Fee that Answers in Genesis has paid to the city of Williamstown. (The public nature of that fee is how we know the attendance numbers at all.)
July: 142,626 (Safety Fee amount: $71,313.00)
August: 106,161 ($53,080.50)
September: 83,330 ($41,665.00)
October: 93,659 ($46,829.50)
November: 51,914 ($25,957.00)
December: 36,472 ($18,236.00)
January: 13,250 ($6,625.00)
February: 17,961 ($8,980.50)
March: 62,251 ($31,125.50)
April: 67,613 ($33,806.50)
May: 73,353 ($36,676.50)
June: 113,901 ($56,950.50)
July: 135,922 ($67,961.00) (Drop in attendance from a year earlier: 6,704)
August: 98,106 ($49,053.00) (Drop in attendance from a year earlier: 8,055)
September: 69,207 ($34,603.50) (Drop in attendance from a year earlier: 14,123)
October: 89,434 ($44,717.00) (Drop in attendance from a year earlier: 4,225)
Are Creationists freaking out about this? Who knows. They’re used to pretending small numbers represent enormous ones.
Ham will inevitably say that the attendance is actually much higher than these numbers represent because kids get in for free, as do members with lifetime passes. But giving away freebies to children and life members doesn’t help the local economy as much as drawing in first-time customers who are ready to spend money. Business owners aren’t banking on tourism dollars from the four-year-olds who get on the boat without a full-price ticket.
The ship is sinking.
(Large portions of this article were published earlier. Because attendance ain’t going up.)