Even with tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks from the state of Kentucky, the folks behind the creation museum are having serious problems raising the money necessary to break ground on the Noah’s Ark park they want to build about 40 miles away. And part of the reason is that the popularity of the museum has dropped precipitously.
The group initially announced that it expected to break ground on the park in 2011, before eventually pushing that date back to 2014. But in June, in an interview in the Creation Museum’s “Noah’s Cafe,” Ark Encounter vice president Michael Zovath told Yahoo News that the group no longer has a date in mind for the construction to begin. It has been unable to raise sufficient amounts of money, despite pleas to the Creation Museum’s visitors to donate to the project.
“Fundraising is really tough,” Zovath said, blaming the recession. “It’s not moving so fast as we hoped.” The private LLC that is building the park would need to raise another $20 million before it can break ground, he said. So far, it’s taken in $5.6 million in donations and $17 million in private investments.
To add to the bad news, the Creation Museum is having its lowest attendance year yet. Last fiscal year, 280,000 people visited, compared to 404,000 the first year it opened in 2007. Zovath thinks that potential visitors have been less willing to travel to the museum because of the poor economy.
That’s a huge drop, over 30% in one year. I would suggest it’s because, once you’ve seen the place once, why would you go back? It’s not like it’s a real museum, where new exhibits would teach new things that you didn’t know; the message is going to be exactly the same no matter what.