LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Ark Encounter promised to bring a flood of tourists when it opened in July, and it appears not to be sinking under the weight of high expectations.

The park cut the ribbon Friday on the latest addition to the giant replica of Noah's Ark: an exhibit called "Why the Bible is True."

Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham says the display will only add to what has been a successful launch of Noah's Ark.

"And it's going to grip people," Ham said. "It's going to challenge people. People already are pouring into the ark."

"We had over a half a million people, and we are well on track to see what was researched by America's Research Group," Ham added. "They projected 1.4 million to 2.2 million people a year."

Jamie Baker of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce says the tourists have been coming.

"The ark did exactly what it said it would do: We build it -- they will come," Baker said.

She says the challenge is to accommodate them.

"We are hoping that once we get more hotels and restaurants in Grant County, more people can stay here, which means more people in our shops, spending money locally to help our economy," Baker said.

It's already happening in some spots. Elmer's General store in downtown Williamstown is closed until March for renovation. The owner says he's expanding because business has tripled.

"I started with seating about 40 people," said owner Elmer Burchett. "And now we can seat 150, and that's not counting the downstairs area. We have another 35-40 there ... all because of the ark." 

There are plans in the works to build three new hotels and restaurants in the Williamstown area.

"Northern Kentucky going to know that the ark and the Creation Museum are here," Ham said.

The plan is expand even more over the next several years, including a zoo, a walled city and a replica of the Tower of Babel.

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