The readers of USA Today have chosen the Ark Encounter as the best religious museum in the country.
The Ark's sister institution, the Creation Museum also finished second in the national poll of museums selected by a panel of top travel experts.
"Both attractions have made Northern Kentucky the leading faith-based destination in America," Answers in Genesis, the ministry that operates both museums, said in a statement.
"We are so grateful to USA Today for considering our internationally recognized attractions in its contest," said Ken Ham, CEO and founder of the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum. "Indeed, people from around the world rave about the exhibits and features at the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, and now these people have validated our exciting attractions from among an impressive list of museums. We're very thankful to the thousands of people who went online to vote."
Following in third place in the readers' poll was the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. Fourth place went to The International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Miss. The Wycliffe Discovery Center in Orlando, FL, came in fifth. Click here to see the rest of the top 10 religious museums.
"You don't have to be religious to appreciate the stories and collections at these museums, each dedicated to sharing the history, culture, art or traditions of some of the world's diverse religious groups and faith communities. These include the country's best Jewish museums, religious art collections, heritage centers and more," USA Today published in its Readers' Choice 2020 article.
"By the way, one could make the argument that USA Today should have included the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in its list," Ham added. "While most people would not consider the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, to be a religious museum, it too promotes a worldview: atheism."
"You see, there are no 'non-religious' positions for such museums," he continued. "Each has a worldview to proclaim. The Ark and Creation Museum are, of course, religious museums in that they promote a theistic Christian worldview."
As CBN News has reported, more than a million people a year have flocked to northern Kentucky's Ark Encounter in Williamstown since it opened in 2016. Constructed according to the dimensions given in the Bible, the Ark contains three decks of exhibits.
The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky (45 minutes away), receives more than 500,000 guests each year. "We're just as thrilled to know our museum finished #2 in the USA Today poll," Ham noted.
As CBN News has reported, the one thing that is evolving is the museum itself. Answers in Genesis is making sure it continues to grow.
"If you haven't been here even in just the last few years, come back and see it. There's a lot more to see," researcher Bodie Hodge told CBN News last July.
One thing, Hodge explained, is the bottom line message: God's perfect Creation may have been tainted by man's sin, but there's a way out – Jesus Christ.
"When He died on the cross, the infinite Son of God took the infinite punishment from the infinite Father, and that was enough to satisfy God's wrath on sin," Hodge noted. "And that's what makes salvation possible – only through the blood of Jesus Christ – through His death, burial and resurrection."
Through March 9, 2020, both attractions are open Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday) from 10 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. Beginning March 10, 2020, the attractions will resume their seven-day-a-week operation, in time for the spring break crowds.
The Ark Encounter is south of Cincinnati in Williamstown, Kentucky, right off I-75, with a full-size Noah's ark as its centerpiece. The Creation Museum is west of the Cincinnati Airport.