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Ararat Ridge Zoo at Ark Encounter Birdsandbats' Ararat Ridge Zoo Review

Discussion in 'United States' started by birdsandbats, 11 Jul 2020.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Date of Visit: July 9 2020

    Ararat Ridge Zoo is located within Ark Encounter, a creationist museum located in Williamstown, Kentucky. The museum itself focuses on ways Noah could have built his ark and fed his animals (and other things along those lines). This includes a giant ark built to the specifications found in the Bible. Naturally, Answers in Genesis (the organisation that owns Ark Encounter) decided to include a zoo as well. The zoo's name comes from Mount Ararat in Turkey, where Noah's Ark supposedly landed.

    Quick disclaimer/note: I know other creationist facilities such as Noah's Ark Zoo Farm have received a bit of a bad rap on the site for it. I am going to review this facility from a religiously neutral point of view. This does not reflect my own beliefs but I thought it would be more fair as a reviewer, as well as to you to form your own opinion.

    It was clear that the zoo was in a state of change as I was visiting. About half of the enclosures were high quality, the rest were meh, and there was a third section of the zoo that was under construction. Let's start with the good section first.

    The Zoo Itself
    The "good section" is immediately after the zoo entrance, just west of the giant boat. The first enclosure (to your right) is a well-planted paddock with a rock pile for climbing. It currently keeps some Domestic Goats, though according to a sign Aoudads will replace them soon. To your left is an average Red Kangaroo walkabout, but you can see inside the barn from outside the walkabout using some one-way glass, which is pretty cool. There was also the best outdoor sloth exhibit I have ever seen. It is well-planted using a mix of real trees and climbing frames. Unfortunately, the two Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloths were in their indoor exhibit, which is just average and hard to see in (LOTS of glare). However, when I was looking in the exhibit I noticed something on the floor of it - a Large Hairy Armadillo! I didn't even know that species is kept in the US! Is this the only zoo that keeps it in North America? Also in the "good section" are an exhibit for African Spurred Tortoise with indoor and outdoor areas, as well a slightly too small (but aesthetically pleasing) exhibit for two female Common Ostriches.

    The "meh section" is mostly home to domestic animals in okay but not very good looking yards. These include: Domestic Donkey/Domestic Goat, Domestic Goat/Domestic Pig, Llama/Alpaca, Dromedary, Domestic Horse/Domestic Donkey/Domestic Cow, and Domestic Donkey/Plains Zebra. In addition to these there is a very good Domestic Goat exhibit that is forested, as well as a pen for camel rides.

    I also attended two animal talks, and saw their collection of animal ambassadors seems to be almost as large as their animals on exhibit (I am assuming this will be fixed after the renovations. Here are their animal ambassadors:

    Domestic Hedgehog
    Desert Millipede
    Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
    Ball Python
    Common Blue-tonged Skink
    African Crested Porcupine
    California Kingsnake (not seen but mentioned)


    Other Animals at Ark Encounter
    Disappointingly, there are no live animals on the ark. But there are live animals elsewhere at Ark Encounter. To the east of the boat there are three small aviaries. One of them is empty, but the other two contain rescue animals that came from the Northern Kentucky Parrot Rescue. The first aviary is slightly overcrowded but not so much so. it contains a Bourke's Parrot, a Rosy-faced Lovebird, two Jendaya Conures, a Diamond Dove, a Domestic Budgerigar, and a Painted Conure. The second contains an unsigned Amazona species.

    So What do the Educational Signs Say?
    This story is a paraphrase of all the signage of the subject of animals at Ark Encounter, both on the ark and at the zoo:

    In the beginning, when God created animals he created a certain number of species. Each of those species evolved over time, but never changed too significantly from the original animal. An original species and all of its descendants form a baramin, the main classification in creationist taxonomy (baramins are sometimes called Kinds). Every baramin was created separately, so no baramin is related to any other baramin. Each original species evolved several different species, however, only one of those species survived the Great Flood on the ark. That species continued to evolve from there. There were aprox. 6744 animals on board the ark representing aprox. 1398 baramins (many of which are now extinct). Each of these numbers is expected to go down with more research. A significant portion of the zoo signage attempts to explain how various animals dispersed from Turkey (all terrestrial animals dispersed from there because the ark landed there).

    Overall
    I've been trying to think for a few days now how to best rap up this review. I don't know how. So I guess I'll say this. When the ark first opened, they had to close it for repairs right away because it was damaged by water. :p This is completely true and is irony at its finest.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2020
  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I like that these kinds of facilities exist, and have no problem with zoos being built from a religious point of view. After all, isn't a regular zoo with signs teaching evolution not the exact same thing?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 11 Jul 2020
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member 15+ year member

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    No, it really is not.

    However, religious discussions are not appropriate on the forum due to the way they will turn out, so everyone keep the topic to the zoo and not the religion.
     
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  4. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Large Hairy Armadillo is mostly found in places that get their animals from the pet trade - traveling zoos, small roadside ones, etc. Of more well-known places, Adventure Aquarium, Bright's, Columbus, Frank Buck, Rosamond Gifford, and The Creature Conservancy (Michigan) all have it.
     
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  5. LowlandGorilla4

    LowlandGorilla4 Well-Known Member

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    To be honest I'm a glad that no animals must live in that thing. The pictures I've seen of the inside makes me feel it'd be inadequate at best for any animals without major modification.
     
  6. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It wouldn't take much, there's plenty of space in there.
     
  7. LowlandGorilla4

    LowlandGorilla4 Well-Known Member

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    I still think it'd be wrong for animals to live there full time, maybe if they're on a rotation basis. Overall I prefer the animals to be living outside rather than in a massive wood colossus that suffers water damage.
     
  8. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Only half of structure is made of wood, but yeah, you'd think they would make a real-life Noah's Ark more water resistant. :p
     
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  9. PossumRoach

    PossumRoach Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I don't oppose creationist teachings/propaganda but it would be great if the park taught anything about conservation. The closest thing to a conservation message I saw on the social media was the zoo saying how lemur populations have plummeted 95% since 2000 and how "Zoos like [theirs] are helping to encourage good stewardship of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26) to ensure the survival of this amazing primate!"

    Edit: I also saw a referral to Genesis 1:26 on a post about crowned cranes.
     
  10. groundskeeper24

    groundskeeper24 Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    I live right down the road from this place. Have not been, will not go. All I'll say is that it makes me a bit sad that the Cincinnati Zoo's (just an hour up the road form the Ark) most recent big exhibit (Roo Valley) opening was something you can pretty much see at the po-dunk bible zoo. How the mighty have fallen.