NEWS | Kaley Payne
Monday 23 May 2016
A new life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark – the brainchild of an Australian six-day creationist – is set to open in the United States in July, joining two other enormous replicas in Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
When God told Noah to build an ark, in the Book of Genesis (Gen 6:9-22) he had specific instructions.
“Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out … The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit high all around. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.”
Based on an estimate of one biblical cubit equalling about 18 inches or just under 45.72cm, Noah’s Ark would be about 135 metres long, 22.5 metres wide and 13.5 metres high. That’s larger than a football field and higher than a three-storey building.
So, how do these three life-sized models measure up?
The world’s first FULL-SCALE ark in Hong Kong
Hong Kong claimed “the world’s first full-scale Ark replica” in 2009, built by Hong Kong billionaire property developers and evangelicals, the Kwok brothers. It’s built to biblical specifications, which is about 270,000 square feet (approx. 25,000 square metres).
The creators of the Hong Kong Ark insisted their replica be built to biblical proportions, to set itself apart from a similar replica being constructed at the same time in The Netherlands (see below).
Sitting in front of the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong, the ark boasts 67 pairs of fibreglass animals, a luxury rooftop hotel, four gift shops and an on-board fine dining restaurant. The structure was 17 years in the making.
The world’s first FLOATING ark in The Netherlands
Taking five years to build and another 15 years of planning, Dutch man Johan Huibers completed his version of Noah’s Ark in 2012 in The Netherlands. While he couldn’t claim to be the first, or the most accurate replica, he has claimed the first Noah’s Ark that actually floats.
Huiber’s ark measures in at 130 metres long, 29 metres wide and 23 metres high, so not quite biblically accurate. It can carry more than 5000 people at a time and weighs over 2500 tonnes. Huiber says he built a first, half-sized version of the ark after he dreamt a massive flood wiped out the province of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands. This life-sized version of the ark is his second replica.
In 2016, with the help of a barge, the ark will make its way across the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to Brazil to be in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games. The journey will be streamed live and Huiber says he hopes South American tourists will flock to the ark.
The world’s BIGGEST ark in the United States (but with Aussie connections)
It’s not the first, nor the most biblically accurate. But in true American style this Ark’s claim to fame is that it’s the biggest timber-frame structure on the planet. It’s seven storeys high and 200 metres long.
While it’s based at the top end of America’s Bible belt – in Williamstown, Kentucky – the Ark Encounter is the brainchild of Australian-born Ken Ham
Ham is the founder of ‘Answers in Genesis’ (a six-day creationist apologetics ministry) and the Creation Museum.
The Ark Encounter will open in July 2016 and was privately funded to the tune of $100 million. Ham says his ark will be “one of the greatest Christian outreaches of our era”, and hopes it will attract up to two million visitors a year.