The network of 20 zip lines and 10 sky bridges opens June 20, and is set to be the largest of its kind in the Midwest. The hope is to attract “people who might not be interested in the [museum] but...have zip lines on their bucket lists,” the museum's vice president Mike Zovath told an ABC affiliate.
In an email to the Huffington Post, Zovath elaborated on the logic behind the expansion:
It is a good reason for youth groups and corporate groups to meet and use the museum for their outings. We will do some nature trail teaching from the actual trails, and identify tree species, and other flora in the area as well as some fauna making them very educational. We wanted to give guests another good reason to plan a visit to the museum.
The museum aims to tell the story of creation according to biblical scripture rather than evolutionary or other scientific theory. When it opened in 2007, it drew upwards of 400,000 visitors in a year, around twice its expected yield. But for the past four years, fewer and fewer people have headed to Petersburg, Ky to sit on dinosaur models and watch Adam and Eve canoodle, culminating in a record 10 percent drop in attendance last year.
Visitors will be able to choose whether to see the museum, the outdoor complex, or both. Ticket options include a $79 opening special for the whole course, and a $99 package that adds in two days at the museum, Zovath wrote.
The push to diversify also includes a flashy new “Dragons Legends exhibit and a high-tech display named ‘Dr. Crawley’s Insectorium,’" involving a $50,000-odd display of bugs collected over a 30 year span, reports ABC. Though these additions aren't explicitly creationist, Zovath insists "the message stays the same...whether it’s bugs, dinosaurs or dragons - it all fits with God's word.”
At stake is the fate of Ark Encounter, the museum’s planned theme park. As of this February, the park, and its “‘full-size’ replica of Noah’s ark,” looked unlikely to materialize, due to poor ticket sales and fundraising that has “slowed to a crawl,” according to Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern.