It used to be that Kentucky was known primarily for bourbon and horse racing. But now they seem determined to add creationism to that list:
Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday that a creationism theme park, expected to open in Northern Kentucky in 2014, would have a $250 million annual impact on the state’s economy.
Ark Encounter, which will feature a 500-foot-long wooden replica of Noah’s Ark containing live animals such as juvenile giraffes, is projected to cost $150 million and create 900 jobs, Beshear announced at a Capitol press conference.
“Make no mistake about it, this is a huge deal,” he said.
The park, to be located on 800 acres in Grant County off Interstate 75, also will include a Walled City, live animal shows, a replica of the Tower of Babel, a 500-seat special-effects theater, an aviary and a first-century Middle Eastern village.
Governor Beshear, by the way, is a Democrat.
One hundred fifty million dollars. The Creation Museum only cost twenty-seven million. Anyone think they will have trouble raising the money?
Of course, the millions in tax incentives coming their way are likely to ease the blow:
Operators of the popular Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky are seeking state tax incentives to build a creationism theme park at a nearby site — a project that Gov. Steve Beshear officially will announce Wednesday.
Mike Zovath, senior vice president of the non-profit group Answers in Genesis, one of the partners in developing the park, said Kentucky officials have told him the proposal for state tourism-development incentives “looks good.”
He said the park — to be called Ark Encounter — would include a massive wooden ark that would offer educational attractions. Additional details weren’t released Tuesday.
Zovath said preliminary indications are that it could draw as many as 1.6 million guests a year.
Anyone think Zovath is wrong?
Happily, there are at least some signs of intelligence in Kentucky. The Louisville Courier-Journal editorialized about the theme park as follows:
Moreover, in a state that already suffers from low educational attainment in science, one of the last things Kentucky officials should encourage, even if only implicitly, is for students and young people to regard creationism as scientifically valid. Creationism is a nonsensical notion that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old. No serious scientist upholds that view, and sophisticated analysis of the Earth’s minerals and meteorite deposits generally lead to an estimate that the planet is about 4.5 billion years old. Furthermore, creationism teaches that the Earth (including humans) was created in six days, thus rejecting the well-established science of evolution.
But if the Beshear administration is determined that Kentucky should cash in on its stereotypes — and wants to fight Indiana to snare the theme park — why stop with creationism? How about a Flat-Earth Museum? Or one devoted to the notion that the sun revolves around the Earth? Why not a museum to celebrate the history and pageantry of methamphetamines and Oxycontin? Surely a spot can be found for an Obesity Museum (with a snack bar).
And while we’re at it, let’s redo the state’s slogan. Let’s try: Kentucky — Unbridled Laughingstock.
One suspects that Kansas is now laughing at Kentucky.