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An Educational Theme Park Bigger Than You Imagined: A Broadcaster’s Dream

Behind the Scenes of Broadcasting the World’s Largest Free-Standing Timber-Frame Building

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An educationally themed park, The Ark Encounter, created by Answers in Genesis, a fundamental Christian apologetics organization, has been a newsworthy visual bonanza ever since opening on July 7th of this year.

Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis, said, “We want to sweep guests away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and bring them to a large hill where the Ark dominates the landscape.”

noahs-ark-figure-2Upon arriving to the Ark, the scenery is rural, beautiful, and intentionally isolated so the Ark is the undisputed attraction. Ham designed this themed attraction to be a very visual story, so Deirde Reilly, Executive Producer and Project Manager at Auritt Communications Group, knew it was important that the story be shared in a very visual manner.

“We needed to see the enormity of the structure and to put it in life-size perspective,” said Reilly.

Capturing the visual significance of the attraction was key and this encompassed broadcast elements like B-roll, drone images and multiple camera angles. The producers from ACG felt strongly that this was a story where you have to see the enormity to believe it.

The Ark was made for religious reasons, but the attraction itself can appeal to people of many different beliefs and religious affiliations.

“Regardless of your religious affiliation, once you arrive and see the lake right in front and other amenities surrounding the ark, you’re just awe struck by how massive this piece of work is and how much it truly means to people,” said Laurie Doppman, a Production Manager at ACG.

An attraction this meaningful is a broadcaster’s dream, so naturally Reilly and Doppman were thrilled to be approached to put the Ark on national television.

“When I got the call, and I saw the footage of the construction, I knew this was a story I wanted to share,” said Reilly.

This project came together in harmony with collaboration from many different parties.

Ham reached out to A. Larry Ross Communications, a full-service public relations firm in Christian-focused communications, and they decided that this was undoubtedly a historic breakthrough in the Christian community. Ham and A. Larry Ross Communications knew the visual impact the Ark had, and knew they needed to recruit ACG to produce and broadcast this story through an Integrated Media Tour.

Once the media heard that Noah’s Ark was being rebuilt, the story sold itself. With over 30 news stations on board for the IMT, Ken Ham’s story was heard.

“A. Larry Ross Communications did a superb job of building national interest and we were able to ride their coattails with booking media,” said Reilly.

One challenge on the tour, due to the excitement of the public, was audio. Doppman noted that the audio was a problem because people wanted to crowd around Ken as he conducted interviews.

“Ken Ham, being a celebrity amongst his community, garnered a lot of attention from people passing through the exhibits in the ark, and because of that it was noisy around the interview station,” said Doppman.

Although this historic theme park might be a controversial attraction to some, it was really special for many.

noahs-ark-figure-3“For me, this was about the people. To encounter such an experience and to broadcast this amazing piece of history provided the community a great sense of unity, which was really special to see,” said Doppman.

Collaboration shines through to the community of the Ark. After 12 hours of exhibits, interviews, camera production and laughter, it was time to call it a wrap. The satellite engineer was monitoring the weather because even though we were inside this enormous structure, a sudden thunderstorm can impact the satellite transmission. The clouds continually grew darker and darker but the storm held off until the last live interview was finished.

“About five minutes after the tour wrapped, it started down pouring, so I guess one could say faith was on our side by Noah’s ark,” said Doppman.

 

ABOUT THE ARK ENCOUNTER

Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old. Ark Encounter is situated in the beautiful Williamstown, Kentucky, halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington on I-75. From the moment you turn the corner and the towering Ark comes into view, to the friendly animals in the zoo, to the jaw-dropping exhibits inside the Ark, you’ll experience the pages of the Bible like never before. For more information, please visit: arkencounter.com/.

 

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