Last night, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that museums, outdoor attractions, and certain other facilities in the state can re-open Monday, June 8. As a result and after much research and counsel, Answers in Genesis (AiG) and attorneys with First Liberty Institute have determined that AiG’s Ark Encounter and Creation Museum are able to comply with the state’s re-opening rules and will open Monday morning, June 8.
Ken Ham, AiG’s CEO and founder of the attractions, declared he was “rejoicing in the news from the governor” and has just posted a special message about the planned re-opening in an article entitled It’s Time!. He added: “Our facilities will be the safest, cleanest, and most family friendly they can be. According to past guest surveys, the attractions already had been highly rated for cleanliness.”
In its robust 45-page “COVID-19 Preparedness Plan,” AiG shows how its Ark and museum will follow the safety rules set by Kentucky to re-open. In complying with guidance set forth by Gov. Beshear for businesses to safely open, AiG’s attractions will, for example, not be allowing more than 1/3 of their capacities in the massive ship and museum, and will be maintaining six-foot social distancing.
Ham also pointed out that with “our expansive gardens and outdoor zoos, the attractions can also handle many visitors outdoors. Inside the ship and the museum, staff will be diligent to maintain the state’s guidelines.”
By June 8, the Ark and Creation Museum will have been closed almost three months due to COVID-19 as they adhered to the state’s rules in dealing with the virus.
In its re-opening plan, AiG demonstrates that its themed attractions can facilitate social distancing, conduct temperature tests of staff, regularly clean and sanitize its facilities, outfit its employees with masks, and engage in other safety practices (e.g., the encouragement of mask-wearing by guests).
The Northern Kentucky region has been dealt a major blow by the shutdown of the Ark and museum. The economic impact on several dozen local hotels, restaurants, and small businesses that cater to tourists in town to visit the Ark and museum has been devastating. Gov. Beshear acknowledged last week that during COVID-19, his state lost an estimated $64 million in tourism-related tax revenue that would have been generated at various locations throughout Kentucky.
In preparation for re-opening, the Ark and museum staff are undergoing hours of training to ensure the safety of all guests and colleagues. A detailed safety-training plan for the new requirements has been created for staff to follow.
On June 8, Creation Museum visitors will be among the first to experience the brand-new $1.3 million Stargazer Planetarium, as well as a new high-tech exhibit on the so-called “ape-men.” In July, a $3 million high-tech virtual reality experience, Truth Traveler, will open at the Ark Encounter. Earlier this year and before the shutdown, the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum finished first and second in USA Today’s “10Best Readers’ Choice Awards” as the best religious museums in the United States, out of 20 nominees.
AiG is an apologetics (i.e., Bible-defending) ministry based in northern Kentucky. AiG’s Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historically themed attraction with a massive Noah’s Ark as its centerpiece. The Creation Museum, located west of the Cincinnati Airport, has welcomed well over 4 million visitors since opening in 2007. First Liberty Institute is America’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty. See www.FirstLiberty.org.
For more on the two attractions, visit http://www.creationmuseum.org and http://www.arkencounter.com.