The Ark Encounter was the initial attraction that drew us to the Northern Kentucky area. A special thanks to the Ark Encounter for hosting our family and providing us with a pair of tickets.
I can officially say that I’ve visited the largest timber frame structure in the world. Over spring break, our family set out on a road trip to Northern Kentucky. On our second day in the area, we visited the Ark Encounter. For those unfamiliar, the Ark Encounter is a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark. It is built to Biblical dimensions and is filled with facts, history, and wonder! My children were at the perfect age to go. All are quite familiar with the Noah’s Ark Bible passage, and this visit helped reinforce what they have been learning.
Once my husband and I began sharing with our family and friends about our visit to the Ark Encounter, we started to receive lots of questions about our experience, especially from our friends with kids. It was then that I realized that the Ark Encounter, which opened in July 2016, is so new that no one is quite sure what to expect. If you’re considering taking your family on a road trip this summer to the Ark Encounter, here are a few questions that you may have when planning your visit with the kiddos. I compiled these based on actual questions that I received after our trip.
–Where is the Ark Encounter? It is in Williamstown, Kentucky, which is halfway between Lexington, KY, and Cincinnati, OH.
–Where is the best place to stay? We stayed in Florence, Kentucky. Florence is just outside of Cincinnati. The city had plenty of dining and hotel options, as well as shopping. If we were to return again, we would definitely stay in Florence. Florence is about 30 miles north of Williamstown.
–You have small kids. Can you honestly say that they enjoyed it? Honestly, yes! The triplets are four, but they truly did enjoy it. The Ark Encounter has something for everyone. The deck with the animals was the most fascinating for the boys, I think. My daughter liked learning about how Noah and his family fed and watered the animals. There are many exhibits that require reading. My husband and I did most of these, but there were a few that they boys would not be patient for us to walk through to read. In these instances, we took photos of the reading with our cell phones to go back and read later.
Outside of the actual Ark is a petting zoo. The petting zoo is small and did not have many animals the day that we visited, but I could tell that the facilities were still being established. The weather was also cold the day that we went, and that probably had something to do with the animals not being out. That didn’t keep the kids from enjoying the petting zoo, though.
–How long did it take to tour the Ark Encounter with the kids? For our family, the Ark Encounter, lunch, and the petting zoo took the majority of the day. We arrived at 10 am and left around 4 pm. I greatly appreciated the amount of resting benches and seating located throughout the Ark for resting. We utilized the benches several times while waiting on family members to go to the bathroom or rest for a moment. Looking back, I wish that I had taken the boys’ strollers. I did not realize that there would simply be so much to see, and the boys did tire quickly from exploring. There is plenty of room for maneuvering a stroller throughout the Ark’s decks, and I recommend taking the stroller if you have even preschool aged kids.
–How much do tickets cost? You can view their ticket prices here, but I will say that we purposefully took advantage of the free ticket offer for children under the age of 5. Children under the age of 5 also eat free at the on-site Emzara’s Kitchen.
–Could you take food and snacks on the Ark? Ok, so I’m a play-by-the-rules gal, and I read on the Ark Encounter Attraction Rules page that outside food and beverages are not allowed except for unopened plastic water bottles. Other than water bottles, I did not take any other snacks or juice boxes. However, once we were there, I saw many other people pulling snacks out of their bags. We toured the Ark and then went to the restaurant for lunch without needing a snack time for the kids, making this a non-issue for us. But, if taking a snack bag is a must for your kiddos, then I would definitely call ahead and confirm.
We immensely enjoyed our visit to the Ark Encounter. I do want to leave you with a few final photos and a recommendation. When arriving at the ark, visitors purchase tickets at the ticket counter, seen below.
A bus then takes all visitors on a mile ride to the Ark. I tell you this as a mom because there are no “quick trips” back to the car. You know, for all the times I forget wipes or something. Be sure to pack anything that you need in your diaper bag or tote before boarding the bus ride to the Ark.
Do you have any questions regarding visiting the Ark Encounter? Leave them below, and I will do my best to answer them!
Jenn @ EngineerMommy says
This looks like such a fabulous destination to visit with the kids. I know my whole family, especially the kids, would love to check out this location and explore. I love all the pictures you took. I’m totally thinking about taking a trip here myself now! So much fun!
Ali Rost says
This is absolutely incredible! I had no idea a recreation existed. I can’t even imagine what it took to build it during biblical times. Amazing. My husband and I are traveling that was this summer to visit my daughter’s family. I think a little detour will be in order!
Jacqui S says
I love that someone did this. And to the exact biblical specs? It’s great that we are able to visit something that is such a part of history and ingrained into us. I’m hoping once I purchase my RV and start traveling the country, I can make it here. I’m writing up a list of places I want to visit and will be adding this one :). Thank you!
Vera Bortolotto says
WOW! That ARK looks amazing! I did not even know that existed. This is something I will for sure put on my list when we are traveling around USA. Thank you so much for the Q&A!
Wow, does this look nice. So well made. I have never heard of this before. What a great idea for a family day out of the house. I bet it was super interesting. I know my kids would have enjoyed it.
Never heard of the Ark encounter but I really like the idea. This is exactly how i pictures the Ark in the bible, what a great idea. I can imagine that this would be tons of fun for the children.
Sue Reddel says
I have to tell you I travel a TON and have never heard of this Ark Encounter. That ark is immense! I bet the kids would love to scramble all around there. Looks like a terrific family friendly adventure.
This looks like an awesome experience! I enjoyed seeing all your pictures~
Censie Sawyer says
It is pretty huge. I think my kids woudl get a kick out of it. Looks like a fun family trip. Not sure we would go but we might add it to our list.
It seems like a great place for kids.They got to see real animals too. The kids surely had fun.
Mommy Hates Cooking says
Ever since I heard about the building of the Ark, we’ve been anxiously awaiting for it to finish. We hope to be able to visit at some point, hopefully soon. Your pictures bring it all into perspective even more. It is huge!
Chasity L Boatman says
This is really neat, especially for being in Kentucky. I’m surprised that I’ve never heard about this. This is a great visual age for young children when learning about Noah.
Mindee Allen says
Did you also visit the Creation Museum? I heard they have a combo ticket for both and was wondering if that would be a place kids would like also?
Hi! We did! You can see all the places that we visited here on this post: http://ithappensinablink.com/our-northern-kentucky-ark-encounter-trip-itinerary/
The combo ticket is a good deal. My triplets were young enough to get in for free, but they enjoyed it as much as my older child.
Becky Lemons says
Thank you for sharing these tips! My family just started planning our trip to the Ark Encounter and you answered some of our questions. We live in Dallas, Texas and have never been to KY. We were wondering where to stay and what to expect. We are so excited to take our 5 and 8 year old boys!
I hope that you have a fun trip!
How would a parent with a 6 month old baby in a stroller do at the Noah’s ark encounter?
The walkways within the Ark Encounter are extremely wide, and there were many places to pause and rest along the way. I think a parent with a stroller would find it easy to maneuver.