Saturday, March 11, 2017

Visiting Friends and the Ark Encounter

A snowy, cold Saturday (and no farmers market for me) was a good time for sorting through hundreds of photos and figuring which ones to include in this post . . . and now it is ready to share! Be forewarned, it is long. :)

This past week, Leah and I had the great blessing of visiting dear friends of ours, Laura and Emily, and spending several days with them, which included a visit to the Ark Encounter. We had originally planned to go in February, but two long weeks of a nasty flu virus going through our family kept us at home instead. It was disappointing then, but God's timing is much better than ours and all of us could see that this past week was the perfect time to be together. God is so good!

Leah and I headed out Sunday morning amidst overcast skies. We had brought music along, but instead of listening to that, we spent the passing hours talking and simply appreciating some quiet and stillness, taking in the scenery. All along the drive, grass was greening up, trees were beginning to leaf out, many bushes and trees had blossoms covering them . . . it made even Illinois a pretty state to drive through. :)

First time being on a two story bridge! Crossing the Ohio River 

Our destination state! 

We checked into our hotel and then headed over to our friends' apartment. It was so good to see them again! All of us agreed that it had been way too long between visits. :) We talked late into the night and the hours flew by swiftly, as they did the next day which was spent mostly at their apartment. We did venture out into the rain to do a bit of thrift store shopping and dinner at Chick-fil-a. There was much on hearts and minds to talk about, and each night, we didn't get back to our hotel until around midnight.

Tuesday morning, though, we were off for our big adventure . . . the Ark Encounter!

This is a life-size replica of Noah's Ark (part of Answers in Genesis), and the first level of the Ark is set up hypothetically like what it could have been . . . .

Cages of animals

Small cages for little animals . . . as you walk through, there are sound effects going constantly, associated with wherever you are in the Ark. Here, you could hear little animals squeaking, scratching, etc. Plus hear the creaking of timbers and the crash of waves.

Laura and I looking at the caged animal replicas
(Photo by Leah)

The workmanship on the animals in the Ark was amazing!
(Photo by Leah)

Emily and Leah 

Part of the first level of the Ark 

Laura and I looking at a model of the Ark
(Photo by Leah) 

 Laura, Emily, and I
(Photo by Leah)

We saw Ken Ham!  

As we made our way through the Ark, there was such a sense of increasing awe of God, the Creator. His might, His power, His creativity, His wisdom, His incredible design of this beautiful world, His sustaining power, His judgment, His grace, His plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.

One of the displays of the different kinds - this one, the cat kind 

Emily, Me, and Laura
(Photo by Leah)

Walking through one of the display rooms

Exactly the same evidence, but two very different worldviews 

Laura, Leah, and Emily . . . love these girls! 

Animatronic 'Noah' answering questions about the Ark, etc. It was quite informative!

The blacksmith shop 

There was so much to read! It took us a long time to make our way through.

One of the parts of the Ark I especially loved . . . ancient manuscripts! Plus very old Bibles, etc.
(Photo by Leah)

(Photo by Leah)

(Photo by Leah)

The Door of the Ark with me photographing
(Photo by Leah)

What a Savior is Jesus the Lord! Our door into salvation through His shed blood. 

All of us in front of the Ark door (with a cross of light on it)
Photo courtesy of a kind man working at the Ark 

After making our way through decks 1 and 2, we decided to head to the restaurant for lunch before starting on deck 3. It was a delicious buffet with live bluegrass music. We enjoyed our time there!

Leah, Laura and Emily
You can see some of the taxidermy mounts behind them . . . the restaurant was full of them! 

Back in the Ark . . . the workmanship and construction of this structure was incredible

Emily in part of the 'kitchen' . . . artistic license was taken throughout the Ark to give an idea what it could have been like. 

Me and Emily

My favorite part of the Ark was on the third deck . . . so many displays and information regarding the flood, the evidence for it, and much more. It took us a long time to make our way all the way through it! Here is a small sampling of what was there . . . . 

Another amazing bit of evidence testifying of the worldwide flood.

And another . . . the evidence clearly supports the authoritative Biblical account of a worldwide flood of judgment.

So interesting!

This was neat to see, especially after watching the documentary Is Genesis History? in the theater in February which included a lot of information about the Grand Canyon (By the way, I would highly recommend this film!)

This may seem like an interesting photo to share, but it immediately caught my eye. I had not heard of this theory until the Saturday before we left on our trip when at the Farmers Market, a guy came up and asked me if we were 'religious'. That led into a lengthy conversation with him about the authenticity of the Bible, contradictions in world religions, etc. He held to the belief in the above photo which made for some interesting dialogue! Next Saturday, I'll be bringing some materials for him which hopefully will help bring truth to him.

The all important, life-changing and eternity-changing question . . . have you entered? 

Loved this display! Irrefutable evidence to the authenticity and truth of the Bible.

After we finished going through the Ark, we browsed through the gift shop and got a few things. It was there we ran into the director of the Ark who Laura and Emily knew. We talked with him for quite awhile, and then he asked if we would like to go up to the fourth deck which is under construction. Our answer was a definite "yes!" We would love to!

So we got to go 'behind the scenes' and enjoy a private tour . . . .

Up on the fourth deck

Outside looking out from the rail around the fourth deck. It was pouring rain, but the narrow ledge of roof above us kept us dry to enjoy the view. Lots of construction being done! 

He then took us up into the sail of the Ark . . . 10 stories! Since bare walls were exposed here, it was really interesting to learn more about how the Ark was constructed. What a huge endeavor this was! And how much more so the original Ark.

Emily and Leah 

After our much enjoyed private tour, we were going to go visit the zoo, but unfortunately cold, wind, and pouring rain changed our plans. So we took a few quick photos of the outside of the Ark before boarding the shuttle back to the parking lot.

Photo by Leah
(The sail on the top left is where we were up in) 

It was an amazing experience going to the Ark, and it was so fun to spend that time together. Makes me even more excited to continue learning more about the support for the Biblical flood, creation account, etc.!

Our visit there was also refreshing and encouraging spiritually. As a little taste of that . . . when we were at the gift shop, a journal caught my eye with the words "God Remembered Noah" across the front. It made me stop and pause, considering the depth and meaning of those three words (which related to a theme on my heart going through the Ark.) A simple statement, yet such a powerful and encouraging one. God remembered Noah . . . God remembers us . . . the same God who protected, preserved, and led Noah and his family, is exactly the same God who works intimately in our lives today. 

He is the God who fulfilled His promises to Noah, and He is the same God who promised to us: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:30b.) Isn't that such a beautiful truth?

Needless to say, if you can, make a point to visit the Ark Encounter (and the Creation Museum) someday!

By the time we finished at the Ark, we had one last evening left together . . . and another late nighter. :) Our time with Laura and Emily was special and drew our hearts closer to each other and to our Lord and Savior. We talked, laughed, shared, encouraged, prayed for each other, and much more. So thankful for these dear friends!

All too soon our time together came to a close, and Leah and I headed for home. . . .

A sign for St. Louis! Even though we were still a long way from home, it felt nearer seeing that. :)

An old railroad bridge 

The famous Arch in St. Louis . . . we're on the home stretch!

So there you have a glimpse into a big part of our last week! Have any of you all been to the Ark or Creation Museum?


  1. Sarah, I needed to read that and read it again. It was so interesting to see the photos of the Ark. I had not heard of this amazing reconstruction, but isn't it wonderful the way it shows very clearly that the Bible is true. There has been such a lot of painstaking work put into the displays. I would need a week there.
    So glad you ahd a good time with your friends.

    1. I am glad that you enjoyed seeing the post, Elizabeth! It does indeed give a great deal of evidence that the Bible is true. There was so much more displayed and explained there, too, than what was shared here. It was all really interesting!

      Thank you! I am glad, too. :)

  2. I've been to the Creation Museum and I loved it. I would also like to go to the Ark, it looks amazing! Your blog is such an encouragement! :)

    1. That's great, Danielle! The Creation Museum is amazing. I have been there once and would love to go again. I hope you are able to visit the Ark sometime as well! I am sure you would enjoy and appreciate it.

      Thanks for sharing that :) . . . I am glad that my blog could be an encouragement to you!

  3. What an amazing trip! We don't have anything like that in Tasmania( or Australia).

    Maybe I'll get there one day :) xx

    1. It was, Lynda! Well, maybe sometime you'll have to take a trip to the USA and visit it. :) And while you're at it, stop by Missouri, too!

  4. How fun you could take this trip with your sister Sarah! Looks like a great time. Our family has seen the Creation Museum, so I would love to see the ark someday. Glad you are doing well too! :-) ~Sarah

    1. It was, Sarah! I am thankful we were able to go. That is wonderful that your family was able to go to the Creation Museum. Leah and I have been there once and loved it! They have many more displays there now than when we went, and I am hoping to visit it again sometime. I am sure you and your family would love the Ark! It was incredible with so much excellent information in the displays.

      Thank you! I hope you are doing well, too. :) (And I hope to have an e-mail sent your way soon!)

  5. I have not visited the Ark Encounter myself, but I am a bit concerned about the hypothetical nature and artistic license used by the Ark Encounter. From what I have read, it seems that the Ark Encounter is acting just like modern scientists trying to fill in many unknowns with hypothetical assertions. Were you concerned at all by AIG's liberal use of artistic license rather than sticking to what scripture says? (See: Proverbs 30:5-6)

    1. Thank you for your comment, D! I understand your concern. My family and I have similar concerns with some aspects of it, but in others, none at all. As the Scripture you shared teaches, we do have to be very careful to not add or take away from Scripture, and it probably would have been better if they had left some things out. But, I do appreciate that they make it expressly clear what is Biblical fact and what is simply their own artistic license or hypothesis.

      Also, a big part of the Ark is not necessarily recreating the historical scenes/aspects of the Ark, but sharing scientific information supporting the different animal kinds, global flood and evidences for that, languages, different people groups, etc.; and ultimately, accurately sharing the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Those aspects are definitely a great blessing as well as a powerful support to the truths of God's Word!

  6. It looks amazing,Sarah. I'd love to visit there. Thanks so much for giving me a mini tour here. :-) Did you happen to visit Passages - The Museum of the Bible when it was in Springfield? It was great too! Lots of scroll fragments, old Bibles, just amazing. The Museum of the Bible will open in DC in November of this year.
    Thanks for sharing, God bless! ♡

    1. It was, Anne! I know you would love it, too. I hope you are able to go someday! In the meantime, though, I am glad you could enjoy this 'mini tour'.

      No, I wasn't able to visit Passages. I have read about it, though, and would love to see it! It would be so fascinating to see the manuscripts, fragments, etc. that they have collected.

      You're welcome for sharing. :) Blessings to you as well!

  7. We went to the Creation Museum a few years back, when they were just beginning to talk about reconstructing the ark!:-) The museum was awesome! It was so encouraging to see and read history and know that it was true to the Word and to a Christian worldview. We definitely want to take a trip to the Ark Encounter soon!

    1. That's wonderful that you all were able to go to the Creation Museum, Betsy! It is amazing. I so loved our visit there and hope to go back someday, especially since they have more displays added now. It is indeed such an encouragement to see how both history and science clearly support the truth of God's Word!

      I hope you all will be able to go the Ark someday! I know you'll love it. :)

  8. I'm glad you & Leah were able to get away for a few days to visit your friends Laura & Emily and had a great time! I have heard so much about the Ark on a lot of blogs but didn't post any inside pictures. Only on the outside. I'm so happy that you were able to take lots of pictures and post it on here to share with us. Now I can picture it a little bit when someone mentioned on his/her blog. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Leah! I am glad, too. It was a good and special time together!

      I am happy to hear you enjoyed seeing all the photos of the inside. Yes, now you will be able to envision it better when you read about it! You're very welcome for sharing. :)


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)