Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, the Ark replica in Kentucky is truly a modern engineering marvel. It's been a stopping point on our map from the start for multiple reasons.
First, most of us have read the story of Noah and the Ark many times, but to really see a true-to-size replica and imagine the magnitude of it all was incredible.
Secondly, the Ark is the largest timber frame structure in the world. It was built by skilled Amish craftsman out of standing dead timbers, using a WoodMizer sawmill, similar to what Raymond uses at home. Raymond really loves timber framed anything, old and new, so to tour something of this size was his timber geek-out moment.
The inside of the Ark was as impressive as the outside. The center of the Ark has a series of two massive logs that go from the base all the way to the top. Those timbers also support the series of floors. The sheer volume of wood is unbelievable - from the 20x20 timbers to the 3-foot + diameter logs in the center, to the decking, railings, bracing, etc. Raymond was in awe at how big the timbers were.
We walked through three main levels, full of replicas, detailed information and exhibits. From animals, feed storage, cages, tools, workrooms, living areas - it appeared as though no detail was overlooked in the recreation of this massive project. We only went through a fraction of the exhibits to avoid areas where small crowds gather. You could easily spend an entire day or two at the Ark.
We felt very lucky to be visiting on an off-season, cold day to help avoid really big crowds. We could tell from the size and layout of their walkways that huge crowds are not uncommon.
Surprise - there is also a small zoo as part of the Ark experience. We (the crazy Montanans) were almost the only ones out in the "cold" enjoying it, so we nearly had the place to ourselves. There is a walk-in kangaroo enclosure, camels to feed, goats to pet, zebras, ostrich, and... sloths!