A large model of the boat that many people believe saved Noah, his family and animals from the Biblical flood officially opened Thursday.
The boat, called an ark, is part of a religious theme park in the American state of Kentucky. The park is called Ark Encounter.
The wooden boat is said to be built to the height and length described in the Bible. It measures 155 meters long and 15 meters tall.
The ark is estimated to have cost more than $100 million to build.
Thousands of people are expected to visit the Ark Encounter. It is between Lexington, Kentucky’s second largest city, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
The new Noah’s ark has restarted the debate between supporters of scientific explanations of life and those supporting divine creation.
Four years ago, one study found that 46 percent of Americans can be described as creationists. That means they believe God created humans in their present form at some point within the last 10,000 years.
The 2012 Gallup public opinion survey was based on comments of 1,012 adults.
Ken Ham is the president of Answers in Genesis, the Christian group that built the ark. He believes the structure is going to be “one of the greatest Christian outreaches.”
His group believes that God created the world about 6,000 years ago. It also believes humans and dinosaurs were on Earth at the same time.
Scientists say dinosaurs died out 65 million years before human beings appeared on Earth.
Displays inside the ark include images of Noah's family and rows of cages containing replicas of animals, including dinosaurs.
Critics say the ark will hurt science education. They say the ark should not have received state and local tax breaks. News reports set the value of the tax rebates at $18 million. Another report valued the rebates at $80 million over 20 years. However, Ham disputes this.
His group hopes more than two million people will visit the ark each year. Answers in Genesis also built the nearby Creation Museum, which opened nine years ago.
According to the park’s website, arkencounter.com, an adult admission ticket costs $40.
I’m Pete Musto.
Words in This Story
ark – n. the ship in which Noah and his family were saved from a great flood that God sent down on the world in ancient times
Bible – n. Christianity's holy book
theme park – n. an amusement park where the rides and attractions are based on a particular theme
divine creation – n. a religious belief that God created the universe and all life
survey – n. a public opinion study; an activity in which many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something
dinosaurs – n. one of many reptiles that lived on earth millions of years ago
display – n. an arrangement of objects intended to decorate, advertise, entertain or inform people about something
rebate – n. an amount of money that is paid back to you because you have paid too much