Editor’s note: This article was adapted from a news release that was recently distributed to the media.
Kentucky, now seen as America’s premier faith-based destination, will be hosting visitors from across the nation as the spectacular annual Christmas programs return to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, northern Kentucky’s highly popular Christian themed attractions will display tens of thousands of dazzling lights plus additions for Christmas 2018. Many of the holiday activities are free.
Starting November 23, ChristmasTime at the Ark Encounter will offer guests the opportunity, just for the cost of parking ($10), to stroll the beautifully decorated grounds, visit the Ark’s zoo, view the massive Ark from the outside (and its stunning new colorful computer-controlled LED lighting), purchase a traditional Christmas buffet dinner, and visit the large gift and fair trade store. Also, guests are offered a special admission of $32.99* after 5 p.m. (to 8 p.m.) that includes a large buffet dinner (Emzara’s Buffet near the 510-foot long ship) and gives them access to the inside of the iconic Noah’s Ark and its three floors of exhibits.
Located in Williamstown right off I-75, the iconic Ark this year is showcasing the nation’s largest Glice rink. Almost the length of a football field, this synthetic ice skating rink, made in Switzerland, is open for a special Christmas price of $5, which includes skate rental.
Visitors can stay warm outside by sitting around a warm fire sipping hot chocolate and at times enjoying live music, performed by carolers. At Ararat Ridge Zoo, and new for this year, guests can visit a heated petting zoo with many animals on display. For a small cost, guests can experience a camel ride. In addition, one-of-a-kind Christmas presents can be purchased at the fair trade Village Market as well as the gift shop under the Ark.
Beginning November 23 as well, visitors can travel north of the Ark Encounter to Petersburg and catch a glimpse of the remarkable events that surrounded the wonder of Christ’s birth during the 12th annual ChristmasTown, a free outdoor event at the Creation Museum. The museum’s botanical gardens (with newly widened trails), will be decked out with a breathtaking display of tens of thousands of multi-colored lights—the Garden of Lights. The lights can be viewed from the heated deck of Noah’s Café when purchasing a special Christmas turkey, ham, or roast beef dinner.
Every year at ChristmasTown, guests can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas as they observe Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus in the traditional Live Nativity and learn more about this special time of year through encounters with the Magi and other Bible characters who will be walking through the Garden of Lights. Guests are invited to stroll through the petting area of the museum’s Eden Animal Experience and, for a small cost, experience a camel ride.
At the entrance to the museum, live music will be featured at times, and fair trade items will be on sale.
Just as with the Ark Encounter, almost all the outdoor activities at the museum are free (parking is $5). For a reduced price of $14.99**, guests can experience the museum’s stunning exhibits and receive a collectable souvenir mug with unlimited hot chocolate or coffee refills the night of their visit. New this year, and also included in the $14.99 admission, is a special children’s Fun Zone in the museum’s huge Legacy Hall auditorium and the opportunity to experience a high-tech show in the brand new 4D Special Effects Theater. Separate tickets can also be purchased to watch a stunning program on the Star of Bethlehem inside the state-of-the-art planetarium.
In reacting to the free events at both the attractions he oversees, Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis, stated, “We love offering ChristmasTown and ChristmasTime as largely free outreaches and to offer fun, unique experiences for families during the holidays. As we offer this gift to the region, we reflect on the greatest gift ever given: the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, who was the Babe in the manger. It is important to us that we keep this as the focus of our message in the midst of all the holiday festivities.”
*Ark Encounter (Williamstown, KY)
November 23–December 30, 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
ChristmasTime. Free to walk the decorated grounds and zoo, and walk up to the Ark. Admission to the Ark’s interior plus a buffet dinner is only $32.99 after 5 p.m.; $10 parking.
**Creation Museum (Petersburg, KY)
November 23–December 30, 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
ChristmasTown. Outdoor lights and festivities are free for only the cost of $5 parking; $14.99 to walk through the museum, attend events inside Legacy Hall, and watch a show in the new 4D theater.
(Both attractions closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
At both attractions, the zip lines will be open on selected dates at a reduced Christmas price.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics (i.e., Bible-defending) ministry based in northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati. AiG’s Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction with a massive Noah’s Ark at the centerpiece, sometimes drawing 8,000 guests in a day. Built according to the biblical dimensions in Genesis chapter 6, the Ark is 510 feet in length, making it the largest freestanding, timber-frame structure in the world. The Creation Museum, located west of the Cincinnati Airport, has welcomed about 3.8 million visitors since opening in 2007.