Ark Encounter transforms tiny town into tourist town - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ark Encounter transforms tiny town into tourist town

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A small community in north central Kentucky is quickly going from a tiny town into a tourist town. 

The massive "Ark Encounter" is just two miles from Williamstown, and more than 7,000 visitors made their way to the ark for Tuesday's ribbon cutting.

That's nearly the population of Williamstown, and locals believe the ark will cause a ripple effect of business across the area. 

A staple of the main strip in Williamstown is Elmer's General Store, known for scooping and serving frozen treats. 

As the ark builds to their grand opening Thursday, Elmer's is stretching the work day for the added foot traffic with a sweet tooth. 

"Our hours are from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ... you know, what normal small town businesses would do," said Elmer's co-owner, Megan McKamey.  

Down the street, barbers said the ark has ushered in new faces to Tony's Hair Care. 

Jerry Martin was just about to get his haircut when we spoke with him. Martin is not a newbie, he's lived in the area for 68 years. His hope is that the ark pulls in some big bucks and, with it, some new places to stay and dine. 

"If it does what they say it's going to do, surely it will bring new motels and restaurants in," Martin said. 

Looking for a hotel this week near the ark? Good luck. Most of the hotels were all booked.

Some people in the area said they have opened up their homes and are offering listings on Airbnb.  

IMAGES | Ribbon cutting held for life-size replica of Noah's Ark

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