When the massive central door on the side of Noah’s Ark was opened, the first crowd of curious townsfolk was there to behold its wonder.
Of course, it’s only a replica of the biblical Ark, built by Dutch creationist Johan Huibers, as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible. The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That’s two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house.
LIFE-SIZE ANIMAL MODELS
Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold. A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. Biblical scholars debate exactly what wood was used by Noah for construction.
Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with help from his son, Roy. Construction began in May of 2005. On the uncovered top deck — which was not quite ready for the opening– will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats and one camel.
Visitors on the first day were stunned. “It’s past comprehension,” said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.
There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and the ark. Huibers says he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.