There is more to do during a visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky than just visiting the Ark. I’m sharing more about the family-friendly fun available on the grounds during a visit.
Visit the Animals at Ararat Ridge Zoo
Guests can visit animals from around the world at the Ark Encounter’s Ararat Ridge Zoo and petting zoo area.
There is an assortment of animals for you to view at Ararat Zoo including birds, camels, alpacas and llamas, kangaroos, and donkeys.
Get Upclose to Kangaroos in the Kangaroo Walkabout
The kangaroo walkabout was definitely my favorite part of our visit. Guests are instructed to stay on the walking paths and the kangaroos can go wherever they want within the walkabout.
You are allowed to pet the kangaroos on their back if they are near you while you are standing on the walking path.
Visitors will definitely want to have their camera ready during their time inside the kangaroo walkabout.
Petting Zoo at the Ark Encounter
Kids and adults can play with goats in the Petting Zoo section.
There is plenty of room to spread out from other guests and goats within the goat section of the petting zoo area or you can just watch them from behind the fence.
A Unique Playground for All Abilities at the Ark Encounter
Kids of all ages will enjoy playing at the Ark Playground. The ground throughout the playground is bouncy for extra fun and safety.
There are multiple slides, a mini zipline, a maze, a merry-go-round, several climbing structures, a musical area, animals to climb on… including a giant whale, and a few mini playhouses.
There is also an adaptive swing for special needs guests to use on the swing set.
I was really impressed with the playground at the Ark Encounter. The playground area is large and very clean. It’s easy for kids to spread out and explore and play in multiple areas within eyesight distance of their parents.
Take a Picture of the Largest Timber Frame Structure in the World
The Ark Encounter is HUGE!
Specs of the Ark Encounter span 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. The boat is a replica of Noah’s Ark built to scale by the dimensions in the Bible. The Ark has three levels of exhibits inside.
The incredible architecture and woodworking by many skilled Amish craftsmen is something to be admired even if it’s only from the outside of the Ark.
Enjoy a Meal or Treat During Your Visit at the Ark Encounter
If you are looking for a meal or a snack during your visit there are several options onsite ranging from cafeteria style to fast casual throughout the grounds.
Kids will let you know that there is an ice cream shop located next to the playground.
There are also snack stands on all three levels inside of the Ark for guests who get hungry or thirsty during their tour.
My friend and I decided to split a sandwich from the “Answers Center.”
The “Yoder” was made with a layer of Yoder preserves, thinly sliced ham, and Munster cheese between grilled sourdough bread. It was really good and the preserves are available for sale if you want to bring some home.
Zipline and Aerial Course at Screaming Eagle Outdoor Adventure Course at the Ark Encounter
Thrill-seekers will want to check out the zipline and aerial course located onsite at the Ark Encounter at Screaming Eagle Outdoor Adventure Course.
There are three different zipline tours available for purchase ranging from 1.5 hours to 3.5 hours.
The aerial course has two different tiers to choose from.
Kids as young as 4 years old can go on Tier 1: Screaming Eaglet. Ages 10 and up can participate on Tier 2: Screaming Eagle and can also purchase a combo ticket with access to both tiers.
Free Parking & Grounds Access at the Ark Encounter
Residents in the following local counties can currently park for free at the Ark Encounter through December 31, 2020.
Guests can experience the gardens, the Ararat Ridge Zoo, the playground, Emzara’s Buffet, the gift shop, and visit the Answers Center for select talks and musical performances at no charge.
County Residents with FREE Parking at the Ark Encounter
Now through December 31, 2021.
The driver must provide their valid driver’s license from one of the counties to receive free parking. The driver (and all guests inside the vehicle, regardless of where they live) can enjoy the free parking.
- Grant County
- Boone County
- Kenton County
- Campbell County
- Pendleton County
- Gallatin County
- Owen County
- Dearborn County
Get a Wristband Before Your Shuttle Bus Ride
Guests who are only visiting the grounds will need to ask for a special wristband that’s for guests NOT going inside the Ark before boarding the shuttle bus.
Its recommended that you purchase tickets for the Ark exhibit online for your desired date if you also want to see the exhibits inside the Ark during your visit.
Be on the lookout for special admission discounts on their website.
Shuttle Bus Ride to the Ark Encounter
All guests visiting the Ark Encounter or grounds will ride a shuttle bus to the attractions from the parking lot. If you are only visiting the grounds you will need a special wristband from the ticket area.
The Ark is wheelchair- and stroller-friendly. You can bring your own or there are wheelchair and stroller rentals available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
How Much Time Do You Need for the Ark Encounter?
If you plan on walking through the Ark Encounter exhibit along with the other attractions on site it’s recommended that you allow 5-6 hours during for your visit.
If you are only visiting the grounds with kids I would still suggest a few hours so that you can take your time at the playground and zoo.
Where is the Ark Encounter Located?
The Ark Encounter is located at 1 Ark Encounter Dr, Williamstown, KY.
Driving distances from the Ark Encounter
46 minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio
49 minutes to Lexington, Ky
1.5 hours from Louisville, Ky