Monday, September 2, 2019

On This Day Last Year // A Trip Report Series: Day 3 // Ark Encounter & Gatlinburg, TN

Day 3  -  Sunday, September 2, 2018

After a fantastic day at the Creation Museum we were excited to visit the Ark Encounter!  The Ark Encounter is a full scale replica of Noah's Ark.  It was built according to the exact dimensions given in the Bible.  At a whopping 510 feet long, 51 feet high, and 85 feet wide it is awe-inspiring to see in person!  

If you are planning a trip to Ark Encounter, plan on big crowds.  We arrived well before opening and learned that guests board buses from the parking lot to the Ark.  We waited in line with many other early birds eager to enjoy this awesome attraction.  We were amongst the first wave of people entering which was very nice as before long there were massive crowds that would have made reading through exhibits signs and snapping photos a little more tricky.  If you plan a trip here, I highly recommend arriving early for the best experience. 

My super sweet firstborn and I ready for our first trip to the Ark Encounter!

As beautiful as this photo is, it simply doesn't do this monumental re-creation of Noah's Ark justice!  If you have the opportunity, go see it for yourself in person!

Beautiful topiaries line the walkway leading up to the Ark.

Read the full story on the fall of man in the Bible, Genesis chapter 3 here.

Replicas of the animal's quarters

A film called, The Noah Interview

The interesting story of the unicorn...

"Fairy Tale Ark"

Cute, whimsical, adorable.  Those words accurately describe most depictions of Noah's Ark, giving the dangerous impression that the biblical account was simply a fairy tale. But the Genesis account highlights God's judgment on an extremely wicked world and His amazing grace shown to Noah's family and the animals aboard the Ark, and it serves as a reminder of the coming judgment.

- An excerpt about this exhibit, taken from the book "Journey Through the Ark Encounter" 

"The 7 D's of Deception"

*I will caption each photo with the text on the pages for easer reading.

Disorienting the Reader

"Some children's books send mixed messages by citing the biblical dimensions of the Ark while displaying an image of a fairy tale ark.  Presenting contradictory information confuses readers rather than properly interesting them."

Defaming God's Character

"By treating Noah's Ark and the Flood as fairy tales rather than sobering reminders of divine judgment on a sin-filled world, these storybooks frequently trivialize the Lord's righteous and holy character."

Destructive For All Ages

"The cute fairy tale arks are not only marketed to children; thousands of items featuring whimsical arks have been made for adults too.  The abundance of these fanciful objects attacks the truthfulness of Scripture."

Discrediting The Truth

"Many atheists and other skeptics love to use fairy tale arks to mock the Bible.  Christians should be defending the truth of God's Word against skeptical attacks rather than providing ammunition to enemies of the Lord."

Disregarding God's Word

"The Bible explains that the size of the Ark was 300 x 50 x 30 cubits.  (See more about cubits in a photo earlier in this post)  Using artistic license and stylizing the Ark is not necessarily sinful, but these cute arks drastically distort Scripture and make the account look like a fairy tale."

Distorting The Message

"Fairy tale ark stories often focus on cute animals and a fun boat ride.  But the Flood account is about the righteous and holy God judging an exceedingly sinful world with a cataclysmic Flood while showing mercy to Noah's family and the animals."

Deceptively Cute

"Many of the fairy tale arks are extremely cute and were surely drawn with great intentions.  

However, cute things are not necessarily innocent or harmless, and good intentions can lead to disastrous consequences."

This satirical poem takes a look at would would happen to one of the above mentioned "fairy tale arks" in the flood.

Once upon a time
there was an old man of God, 
His name was Noah and his task was quite odd,

One day the Lord said to build a little boat, 
"Make it nice and cute, but who cares if it will float.

Be sure to make room for an elephant or two,
And for monkeys and giraffes in your floating wooden zoo.

It will rain quite hard for forty days and nights
'Cause men are so mean and have started many fights."

So kind old Noah built his little wooden ark
And all his friends laughed when told about his lark.

The rain beat down and the dark clouds loomed,
The lightning flashed and the thunder boomed.

All of the creatures were packed tight into the ship
But when the first wave hit, Noah's boat did a flip.

The ark was demolished from floorboard to rafter
And no man or beast lived happily ever after.

Praise God that those fairy tales are not the truth!

I found this exhibit thought provoking.  Our nursery was done in the theme of Noah's Ark from the time I was pregnant with our first until our second daughter was a toddler.  Our firstborn even slept in a Little Tyke's Noah's Ark toddler bed.  Do I think that's "bad"?  No, I actually have it in storage now in hopes that a future grandchild may doze off in it here one day.  I may have had a few of those cutesy fairy tale versions of Noah's Ark in our little library here years ago.  If so, I would be discarding those after thinking through the picture they could potentially paint for my children.  After all, by belittling the Flood and Noah's Ark I would in turn be belittling God.  That's definitely not something I desire to do.

One thing I loved about tucking my daughter into her Noah's Ark toddler bed was that it lent itself to talking about Noah's Ark and the biblical story of the Flood.  The true biblical story of Noah's Ark puts God's character on full display in a way that is easily understood at any age.  It demonstrates that God is good, holy, and just, while also being loving and full of grace.  God provided salvation to Noah and His family from the Flood through the Ark that God instructed Noah to build before He poured out His judgement on the world in the form of a worldwide flood.  It's also a perfect picture of what God has done for you and me in offering us salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.  One day we will each stand before God and give an account of our lives.  Because God is a good and just Judge He must make certain that sin is punished.  Yet, just as God provided a means of salvation from the flood for Noah, He has also made provision for all those who place their trust in Him alone.  God sent His Son, Jesus, to this earth to live the perfect life that He alone could.  He then willingly died taking the punishment for sin that you and I deserve.  This allowed for justice to be served (as He is a Just God) and grace to be extended to all those who would turn from their sin and place their trust in Jesus.  It's nearly unfathomable that I have sinned against Him an innumerable amount of times, yet He paid the penalty for me!  What a gracious God!  He gets all the glory due to Him as God, because He alone earned salvation on our behalf!  Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it beautifully, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."  God is good.  He provides salvation for those who trust in Him.  All glory be to God!

Jesus, Our Door to Salvation

Covenant of the Rainbow

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.  I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."  God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;  I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall come about when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.  When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."  And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth."  

-  Genesis 9:8-17

God's Word, the Bible

After enjoying our morning exploring the Ark Encounter we headed outside to take in the grandness of the Ark itself and get a bite to eat for lunch.

Jason and our girls, standing in front of the ark, give a better idea of the size of this massive re-creation of the ark.

The girls chose individual pizzas for lunch.  Personally, I never pass up a chance for some scrumptious nachos and a deep fried dessert while on vacation!

We boarded an Ark Encounter bus for a ride back to our vehicle and departed thankful to have had the opportunity to see this tremendous replica of the ark.  It gave us an even better understanding of God's provision.  My heart overflows with gratitude to God thinking on the ultimate and everlasting salvation that is offered to all through Jesus Christ.  (For more see: )

From Williamstown, Kentucky we traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the night.  

a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
Gatlinburg, TN

We didn't have too much time to actually spend at this hotel, but it was absolutely lovely!

Jason and "Little One" checking out our room's balcony

View of the mountains from the balcony

When we headed back out to our vehicle for an evening out, we saw a stunning double rainbow!  After spending the morning at the Ark Encounter, seeing the bow of God's covenant to us at the end of the day was complete perfection! My heart is light just thinking about that moment!  God is amazing!

An Evening in Downtown Gatlinburg

We made our way through streets lined and lit with the glow of cute shops and restaurants where a bit of fun shopping and dinner awaited us.

I adore cute signs!  Here are few of my favorites from this sweet shop...

"Little One" and her favorite, chicken fingers!

We headed back to our hotel with full bellies, happy hearts, and sleepy eyes, ready for another day of fun and adventure to come!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you'll return tomorrow to see our first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a meet up with one of my dearest blogging friends, and an evening at Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort!

You can check out the video footage from this day on my family's YouTube Channel, 
Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat!


Previous Trip Reports from this Vacation:

A sneak peek at what's to come...

Day 4:  Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Meeting one of my dearest blogging friends in person, and our first visit to Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort

Day 5-15:  Walt Disney World + my 40th Birthday

Day 16:  Georgia Aquarium

Day 17:  Homeward Bound

Join me in the adventures to come!

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  1. I had never heard of this before! How interesting. Looks like y'all had so much fun!

  2. The pictures of the outside look amazing. I have always loved Noah's Ark designs. I love that you saw a rainbow afterwards! Some people say that rainbows aren't a good sign, because it means God considered destroying the world again! But I look at the positively!

  3. This is incredible! I've always been so fascinated by the story of Noah's Ark, and lil' miss would love a trip here!

    Green Fashionista


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