By Hemant Mehta
For more than a year now, it’s been a guessing game for a lot of Ark Encounter’s critics as to what the attendance really is over there.
Anecdotally, when atheists visit (on weekdays or not during the summer), we’ve heard reports that things are relatively empty. When Ken Ham brags about attendance numbers (on weekends and holidays, especially over the summer), he doesn’t give specifics but always acts as if the crowds are overflowing. It’s possible both groups are telling the truth.
We finally got a hint this past August about actual numbers and it was all thanks to a new ordinance passed by the city of Williamstown, Kentucky.
You may recall that officials called for all ticket-taking attractions in the city to pay a surcharge of $0.50 per ticket as a “Safety Fee” to help pay for fire trucks, police cars, etc. — the very things that make the city a safer place for residents and tourists. While there are two other attractions the fee applies to, Ark Encounter would be the lion’s share of the income, and even if Ken Ham wanted to keep his attendance numbers secret, the city’s Safety Fee amounts were a matter of public record.
That’s why Ham admitted (or bragged, depending on your perspective) in August that he had paid Williamstown more than $70,000 to cover the Safety Fee for the month of July.
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