State’s top faith-based destinations prepare for the Christmas season

ChristmasTime at the Ark Encounter.

PETERSBURG, Ky. — Kentucky, now seen as America’s premier faith-based destination, will be hosting visitors from across the nation as the annual Christmas programs return to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, northern Kentucky’s highly popular Christian themed attractions will display tens of thousands of dazzling lights plus additions for Christmas 2018. Many of the holiday activities are free.

Starting Nov. 23, ChristmasTime at the Ark Encounter will offer guests the opportunity, just for the cost of parking ($10), to stroll the beautifully decorated grounds, visit the Ark’s zoo, view the massive Ark from the outside (and its stunning new colorful computer-controlled LED lighting), buy a traditional Christmas buffet dinner, and visit the large gift and fair-trade store. Also, guests are offered a special admission of $32.99 after 5 p.m. (to 8 p.m.) that includes a large buffet dinner (Emzara’s Buffet near the 510-foot long ship) and gives them access to the inside of the iconic Noah’s Ark and its three floors of exhibits.

Located in Williamstown off I-75, the iconic Ark this year is showcasing the nation’s largest Glice rink. Almost the length of a football field, this synthetic ice-skating rink, made in Switzerland, is open for a special Christmas price of $5, which includes skate rental.

Visitors can stay warm outside by sitting around a warm fire sipping hot chocolate and at times enjoying live music, performed by carolers. At Ararat Ridge Zoo, and new for this year, guests can visit a heated petting zoo with many animals on display. For a small cost, guests can experience a camel or donkey ride. In addition, one-of-a-kind Christmas presents can be purchased at the fair-trade Village Market as well as the gift shop under the Ark.

Beginning Nov. 23 as well, visitors can travel north of the Ark Encounter to Petersburg and catch a glimpse of the remarkable events that surrounded the wonder of Christ’s birth during the 12th annual ChristmasTown, a free outdoor event at the Creation Museum. The museum’s botanical gardens (with newly widened trails), will be decked out with a breathtaking display of tens of thousands of multi-colored lights—the Garden of Lights. The lights can be viewed from the heated deck of Noah’s Café when purchasing a special Christmas turkey, ham or roast beef dinner.

Every year at ChristmasTown, guests can reflect on the true meaning of Christmas as they observe Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus in the traditional Live Nativity and learn more about this special time of year through encounters with the Magi and other Bible characters who will be walking through the Garden of Lights. Guests are invited to stroll through the petting area of the museum’s Eden Zoo and, for a small cost, experience a camel ride.

At the entrance to the museum, live music will be featured at times, and fair-trade items will be on sale.

Just as with the Ark Encounter, almost all the outdoor activities at the museum are free (parking is $5). For a reduced price of $14.99, guests can experience the museum’s stunning exhibits and receive a collectible souvenir mug with unlimited hot chocolate or coffee refills the night of their visit. New this year, and also included in the $14.99 admission, is a special children’s Fun Zone in the museum’s huge Legacy Hall auditorium and the opportunity to experience a high-tech show in the brand-new 4D Special Effects Theater. Separate tickets can also be purchased to watch a stunning program on the Star of Bethlehem inside the state-of-the-art planetarium.

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