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.

  • Len

    What will they do with the money that’s already been collected?

    What the mother said to the little girl – who had worked out for herself what the exhibit showed – is almost abuse. I hope that the little girl sticks to her thinking.

  • smrnda

    The little girls shows a lot of promise – she’s been exposed to real science enough that she *thinks* in terms of evolution and can recognize what would pass as a layman’s science exhibit meant to show it. Kids tend to defer to adults when they have to but I doubt that a kid like that is going to suddenly become brain-dead and accept things on adult authority. I think this is why the fundies are so intent on homeschooling – it wouldn’t take more than a cursory exposure to the rest of the world to realize that your family and church aren’t just wrong, they are nuts.

    • Kodie

      Although being set up to think of evolution science as “propaganda” and the teachers and believers of it as part of a conspiracy and/or gullible… grow up to be irony-deficient. I don’t have as much hope for the girl, especially if she said something out loud at a worrisome age, that she might likely have been re-brainwashed just to make sure she couldn’t find her way back out.

  • http://leavingfundamentalism.wordpress.com Jonny Scaramanga

    Well, quite possibly the little girl is going to have to decide that either her mommy or her teachers are lying to her. And in that situation, you expect most girls are going to go with mom, at least when they’re young.

    There’s a lot of information around now. If the girl has an inquisitive mind, it won’t be hard for her to find out the facts. But the type of religion associated with Creationists has a way of crushing inquisitiveness.

  • http://www.seditiosus.blogspot.com Schaden Freud

    I have hope for the little girl, but I think she’s likely to have a rough road from here on in. Poor kid.

  • Sara S.

    In response to the initial post–the idea of a Creation Museum actually scares me. One persepctive-forced most likely-and implied that there is little or no truth in science or evolution. (in fact, in california near palm springs there is a dinosaur with very similar material…indicating dinosaurs didn’t exist.) My experiences of museums include presentation of facts or demonstrate studies on specific topics. Not provide one belief system for everyone to stare and point at in hopes people will follow aimlessly into the ignorant naive abyss. I would like to suggest maybe exhibit or museum on Origins of the Universe be a topic and include room for discussion from both sides of the table. And I hope that the money that people expected to donate to such an event was given to to those who may actually need it.

    In regards to the little girl–I would like to have hope. Unfortunately, the Western world likes to think very often in extremes and many times results in either pushing people away from a perspective into the exact opposite or aimlessly leads them into naivety.

  • vasaroti

    As I’ve mentioned before, I hope animal welfare groups have already fired a shot across the bows of this project.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    What happens to the public money Governor Fundy promised to help out the Ark project?


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