No Ark Encounter?

From Yahoo News, it seems like the Ark Encounter theme park may be scuttled or indefinitely delayed:

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.

These financial woes also extend to the Creation Museum:

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.

On one hand, as a museum worker, I’m pleased to see this. Every museum I’ve worked at in the past decade has been hurting for money, and if the Creation Museum were flush it would just be too depressing for words. On the other hand, the fact that they’ve raised over $20 million from donations and investments is a frustrating sign that these people are still in the game.

The end of the article was accidentally touching:

When I visited in June, a girl who looked about 10 years old rushed up to an exhibit that showed a giant hummingbird. Next to it, in shadow, were three other creatures—a pterodactyl, a bat and a small finch. “Look, this is evolution!” she said, pointing at the four creatures.

Her mother jerked her head around and walked up behind the girl. “You know what, honey? Those are just other animals that are designed to fly,” she said, pointing at the exhibit’s description.
“Oh,” the little girl said, embarrassed she’d gotten it wrong.

I wish we could find the girl and let her know that – at least on some level – she was right all along.

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