By Steve Warren — Originally published in CBN News
The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, USA, has opened a new high-tech $3-million ( R51-million) virtual reality experience known as the ‘Truth Traveller”.
The first VR show is titled A Flood of Reality where guests travel back to the time of Noah and the Ark.
Wearing state-of-the-art VR headsets with studio-quality headphones, visitors sit in special-effects motion seats that move, vibrate, and interact with them for an enhanced experience.
Guests time-travel back almost 4 500 years to see Noah and his crew building the ark, watch the animals entering the massive ship, experience the flood’s dramatic beginning, ride in the Ark as it floats on the water and also see the ship perched at rest on the mountains of Ararat.
“I’m excited about this fantastic high-tech VR addition. As people have come to expect at the Ark Encounter, the bar of excellence is set extremely high, as it is again with this experience,” said Ken Ham, CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, the organisation behind the Ark Encounter.
Ham, who appears as a hologram at the beginning and end of the programme, added: “This 4K VR experience is like no other. While its quality of production and immersive feel are what you would expect from Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, the message is different. ‘A Flood of Reality’ presents Noah’s Ark and the Flood as factual history and reinforces the truth of the Bible.”
As CBN News has reported, more than a million people a year have flocked to northern Kentucky’s Ark Encounter in Williamstown since it opened in 2016. Constructed according to the dimensions given in the Bible, the Ark contains three decks of exhibits.
Back in March, the readers of USA Today chose the Ark Encounter as the best religious museum in the country.
Located inside the Ark’s VR building, the custom-made MX4D Motion EFX Experience seats further enhance the guests’ immersion into the experience during their journey back in time. The seats add wind blasts, scents, and full-motion, giving the sensation of flying.
All visitors are helped during their time travel experience by POD, a lively animated robot guide who presents a fun, guided tour.
The VR experience requires a timed ticket that is purchased onsite in addition to the regular Ark admission fee.
The Ark’s sister attraction, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, continues to add exhibits, as well as a $1.2-million (R20-million) planetarium using laser projection that opened in June. The first third of the upgrades to the museum’s 7 000 sq m space opened late last year, entirely funded by donations.
The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are following safety procedures noted on their website and in a detailed 45-page Covid-19 Preparedness Plan. The attractions continue to conduct temperature tests of staff, regularly clean and sanitise facilities, outfit employees with masks, and follow other safety practices.
“Since we reopened our attractions on June 8, I have been greatly encouraged to see so many families, including children, visiting us once again,” Ham explained. “Having been shut down for nearly three months, and with all that’s happened across the nation, we weren’t sure what to expect for the first several weeks. But we have been pleasantly surprised by the strong attendance, as have local hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants. Our attractions continue to have a significant economic impact on the region, as recognised this month by receiving the Community Award from the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.”
To help spread out the crowds and avoid long lines, the Ark and Creation Museum have created an incentive: for a limited time on Fridays and Saturdays, guests who arrive after 1:00 pm with a ticket that they have purchased online (not at the gate) will enjoy a free lunch or dinner that day.
The Ark Encounter also recently announced that next year it will be hosting the world’s largest Christian music festival, 40 Days and 40 Nights of Gospel Music at the Ark. About 200 000 people are expected to attend and hear 80 artists and 10 popular speakers from August 2 to September 10 2021.
The Ark Encounter is located south of Cincinnati in Williamstown, Kentucky, with a full-size Noah’s ark as its centrepiece. The Creation Museum is west of the Cincinnati Airport. Both museums are owned and operated by Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry based in northern Kentucky.