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Enter two by two: Noah’s Ark, the theme park

North America

London - Whether it could withstand a flood remains to be seen... but it has certainly been built to biblical proportions.

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Australian-born creationist Ken Ham speaks outside his soon-to-open Ark Encounter.

This replica of Noah’s Ark – which is a mighty 510ft long and cost £77-million to build – will be opened to the public on Thursday.

The structure, which is 51ft high, has been set up in Williamstown in the US state of Kentucky and took six years to build.

Its creator Ken Ham, president of church group Answers in Genesis, said he based the design on the dimensions written in the Bible.

While it will not welcome in two of each animal, Mr Ham hopes it will attract two million human visitors a year.

Inside, across three levels, there are displays of Noah’s family along with rows of cages containing replicas of animals – including, perhaps surprisingly, dinosaurs, which scientists say died out around 65 million years before man appeared.

Mr Ham believes the attraction, at which all employees must be Christian, will go down as “one of the greatest Christian outreaches of this era in history”.

He added that the ark demonstrates that the Bible’s stories, including God’s warning to Noah to build the boat to escape an apocalyptic flood, are true. But critics say the attraction will be “detrimental to the teaching of science”.

Jim Helton, who leads an atheist group called the Tri-State Freethinkers and lives around half an hour away from the ark, said: “Basically, this boat is a church raising scientifically illiterate children and lying to them about science.”

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