Ark Encounter Sold Fewer Tickets This November Than Last November December 17, 2018

Ark Encounter Sold Fewer Tickets This November Than Last November

Here’s a quick update on the latest Ark Encounter attendance numbers, this time for the month of November.

Keep in mind that Creationist Ken Ham continues to brag about the “record” crowds.

So with all that, you’d expect that November drew in even more people than the same month last year, right?

Well, we have the answer, courtesy of a public record request by local paleontologist Dan Phelps. You can read more background about how it’s calculated here.

The bottom line? Ark Encounter had 40,193 paying visitors this past November. That’s less than the 51,914 they had last November. Using last year as a baseline, we can also expect the next two months to be even lower. Winter months are awful for theme parks in general, but this is a dramatic drop. And if they really had over 15,000 visit the Creationist attractions in one weekend, as Ham crowed about, what does that say about attendance on all the other days?

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.)

2017:

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)

2018:

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)
November: 40,193 ($20,096.50) (Drop in attendance from a year earlier: 11,721)

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. (As Phelps joked in an email to me, “it is entirely possible that hoards of 4 year olds are overwhelming the place, brought by their lifetime member parents or guardians.”)

The ship is sinking.

(Large portions of this article were published earlier. Because attendance ain’t going up.)

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