A Complete Guide to Visiting The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky

by Crystal Carder

When I heard people describe The Ark Encounter as the most mind-blowing, amazing destination, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We’ve traveled across the country and seen our share of amazing, mind-blowing destinations and I really didn’t think The Ark Encounter would be more than just another place to cross of our bucket list.

But it was so much more than that! It was everything people said it would be and then some. The Ark Encounter was an experience that I can’t recommend enough! It’s surreal and so much more than I can even say with words -you have to visit it!


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Since I know many of you have put The Ark Encounter on your bucket list, I figured I would share everything you need know about The Ark so your visit can be as perfect as possible. If I forget to mention something, I will do my best to answer any questions you may have in the comments below.

Where is The Ark Encounter Located?

The Ark Encounter is located approximately 45 miles between Lexington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio in a small Kentucky town called, Williamstown.

While Williamstown doesn’t have too many things to do, it does have hotels, restaurants and a Walmart nearby. 

How Much Does it Cost to Visit The Ark Encounter?

Whenever you’re visiting an attraction with kids, things tend to get pricey. Thankfully, for the duration of 2022, The Ark Encounter is offering FREE kid admission (ages 0-10)!  That means you only have to pay for the adults in your party. And, if you’re traveling with seniors or military, The Ark also offers discounts for them too!

A Complete Guide to Visiting The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky 14

The current admission prices for just The Ark Encounter are as follows:

  • Adults: $54.95
  • Youth: 11 & older – $24.95
  • Seniors: 60+ – $44.95
  • Children: ages 0-10 – FREE!

Of course prices can change at anytime so be sure to check out The Ark’s website to see the most current prices and special discount days.

Parking at The Ark Encounter

You do have to pay to park at the ark, so be sure to bring an extra $15 for standard vehicle parking and $20 for oversized vehicle parking.

Parking does appear to be the same price for everyone except lifetime boarding passes which waves this fee.

Things to do at The Ark Encounter

The Ark Encounter has so much to offer. It’s educational, fun, Biblical,  and years of memories.

At the Ark Encounter, you can spend the day inside an Ark that is the most authentic full-size replica of Noah’s Ark in the world!

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While there learn all about the Ark and how the world was in the days of Noah. You will also learn about creation and the theory that the earth was started with a “Big Bang’ will be debunked.

Keep in mind The Ark Encounter has been designed with an artistic viewpoint meaning most of the stuff like Noah’s and his son’s bedrooms are designed using what someone thought it might have looked like. Since there’s no real way to know how the actual ark was laid out, most of the interior features are designed using an artistic viewpoint but it’s still an amazing experience!

Besides just touring a replica of the ark, the ark has so many other things to see and do that include;

  • Playing on a family playground that is built for kids of all abilities
  • Watching exciting events in the Ark’s Answer’s Center
  • Ziplining on a zip line tour
  • Shop one of the many gift shops
  • Eat at one of the few onsite restaurants
  • Riding the ark’s new carousel
  • Visiting exotic animals at the ark’s Ararat Ridge Zoo
  • Travel back to Noah’s time with Truth Traveler, Virtual Reality Experience

Where to Eat While at The Ark Encounter – Emzara’s Kitchen Buffet

The Ark Encounter has a few onsite dining locations to choose from, but if you’re spending the day at the ark, I highly recommend eating at Emzara’s Kitchen.

It’s located adjacent to the ark and features an award-winning buffet that includes entrees, salads and desserts. 

Emzaras Kitchen at The Ark Encounter in Williamstown Kentucky

While we normally don’t do buffets because we are vegetarian, the selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food at Emzara’s Kitchen was impressive – there was so much food on the buffet! And everything was so good! Unlike other buffets that aren’t kept up, the food at Emzara’s Kitchen was always plentiful and tasted fresh.

Emzara’s Kitchen does get pretty full, but there is plenty of food on the buffet for everyone and lots of indoor and outdoor seating.

If you are traveling with a large crowd, Emzara’s Kitchen is a bit on the pricer side, but the buffet price does include drinks and children under 4 are free!

The Ark Encounter

The Ark Encounter was probably one of the most surreal and mind-blowing places I have ever been to. It was so much more than I was expecting!

The ark offered an experience that was far more than anything I could have imagined. It was educational, biblical and there were so many things to see and do, that I seriously wish I would have planned our trip better. Even though we got to The Ark Encounter right at opening and spent over 8 hours there, it still wasn’t enough time to fully see and do everything there. A Complete Guide to Visiting The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky 16

The Ark Encounter isn’t just animals like you might expect. While the ark does have a few animals, there actually aren’t that many animals depicted on the ark. But if you have kids that are into dinosaurs, there are a lot of dinosaurs on the ark.

 And, while I am not arguing whether or not dinosaurs were actually on the ark, I do feel like the ark went overboard on the dinosaur thing. There was even one spot where the dinosaurs were shown being placed on an altar of sacrifice – which biblically wouldn’t have happened. Even with that and the few infographics that I respectfully disagree with, I found The Ark Encounter to be an incredible, humbling experience.

dinosaurs at the ark encounter

While we didn’t read every infographic inside the ark, we still spent over 2-hours just walking through the ark. And, there was so much walking! If you have little ones or traveling with someone who struggles with walking, I highly suggest renting a scooter/stroller for your best experience.

When you’re finished inside the ark, you have to make time to go through the gift shop located in the bottom of the boat. There you will find tons of amazing ark-themed gifts.

Ararat Ridge Zoo

Outside the ark is the the Ararat Ridge Zoo which we loved! Though small, the zoo had animals like porcupines, kangaroos, lemurs, birds and more. 

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Throughout the day the ark even has fun educational demonstrations with the animals. If you’re not lucky enough to make it to one of these demonstrations, you will love the kangaroo walk through where you get the chance to actually touch a kangaroo! 

The Carousel at The Ark Encounter

One of our biggest surprises of the day was the Ark Encounter’s new carousel! The carousel ride is included with your park admission and is so much fun. 

THE carousel AT THE ARK

The carousel even has riding for wheelchairs so every guest gets the chance to ride it!

Final Thoughts on The Ark Encounter

Our time at The Ark Encounter was unforgettable and I’m already planning our next trip. We can’t wait to go again! 

If you’re ready to plan your trip to The Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky you can learn more by visiting the ark’s website.

Many thanks to The Ark Encounter for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.

Last Updated on 1 year by Crystal Carder

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