Dordrecht, Netherlands — A Christian in the Netherlands has opened his life-size replica of Noah’s ark to the public following three years of work to build it exactly as outlined in Scripture.
John Huibers says that he followed the instructions given to Noah as detailed in Genesis chapters 6-9 in creating the gigantic vessel, which now floats in the waters of Dordrecht, just south of Rotterdam. In modern terminology, the ark spreads 427 feet long, 95 feet wide and 75 feet high.
Inside of the boat, visitors can find a virtual petting zoo of a variety of domestic animals, including horses, sheep, dogs, rabbits and birds. In the absence of more dangerous animals, such as alligators and lions, or other creatures that Huibers was not able to obtain for the display, plastic models stand in their place. It is reported that the ark is filled with a variety of stalls from end to end.
Additionally, visitors can stop by the restaurant housed in the upper level, as well as the two movie theaters, which seat fifty people each. Play areas are also available for small children, complete with hay bails and other animal-related features.
Below the main level is a storage area, which reportedly is comprised of a number of hatches where Noah could have stored food and other needed items for the months-long wait. The outer area of the boat is said to be spacious and contain several stairwells and tables.
Huibers, a builder, is stated to have spent a million dollars to create the ark, which he says was inspired by a nightmare that he had in the 1990’s. He states that in his dream he saw the Netherlands drowned underwater, just as in Noah’s day.
Originally, Huibers created smaller-sized models of the ark, which became available for public viewing in 2004. However, he wanted to construct a life-sized version as well, exactly like the one Noah took 120 years to make, wherein seven of every clean animal and two of every unclean animal were housed on the boat, along with Noah’s family.
Although the aquatic vessel may seem like a lot of fun and games to many, Huibers says that the ark serves a very serious purpose.
“I want to make people question, so that they go looking for answers,” he told reporters. Huibers explained that he wanted the public to remember what the ark was for — a means of salvation — and turn to Jesus Christ to be saved from the wrath to come.
“We want to tell people about God,” he said. “We wanted to build something that can help explain the Bible in real terms.”
Huibers also explained that there has been a bit of confusion over why the ark is opening at this time.
“I had a call from American television,” he stated. “This has nothing to do with the end of the Mayan calendar.”
“They are confused,” Huiber’s daughter Deborah concurred to TV3 News. “[People ask,] ‘Is there really a flood coming again? Is the world going to be destroyed again?’ So the people ask, ‘Can we stay here on board and book a room, and how long can we stay and what will it cost?’ Just to make sure that they will be safe.”
The Christian builder originally wished to transport his ark to the 2012 Olympic games, but had to abandon his plans after the government raised safety concerns. However, now that Huibers has been granted approval to open his ark up to 3,000 people a day, visitors from all over the world have been arriving to get a glimpse of the Biblical boat.