As is always the case, Hanover Holidays provides a friendly, knowledgeable tour director and very competent bus driver. The whole trip was lots of fun and memorable in every way. Our hotel accomodation was a good choice--clean, convenient and comfortable. Hanover Holidays always makes sure you enjoy your vacation and will do some "extra" things such as take you shopping at a mall if enough want to go...and we did!!
The Creation Museum is easily navigable and packed with a great variety of thoughtfully arranged displays and other attractions. The "Stargazer's Planetarium" is fascinating with its vividly realistic images displayed on the 30-foot dome. We learned more there about our universe than we ever knew. Awesome is a good word to describe it. The surrounding area is well designed for accessibility and leads to Eden Zoo, and many natural areas filled with wildlife: e.g. a Mama Canada Goose sitting on her eggs with Daddy nearby to protect the family. There is a great bookstore and gift shop and a cafeteria that is top notch for food and service. We were impressed. We spent four hours there...which was great timing.
The Ark Encounter is mind blowing!!! Although the park area is still under development, the Ark itself is so awesome you don't see the earth moving machinery working to provide more future features. With dimensions of 510 x 85 x 51 feet (as given to Noah by God), the Ark has 3.3 million board feet of wood in its structure and the workmanship is exquisite. A variety of woods are utilized: spruce, Douglas fir, pine and bamboo. The three decks are set up in thematic formats: The Flood Begins (1), Technology on the Ark (2) and After the Flood (3). With elevators and wide ramps from deck to deck, there is amazing accessibility--best I've ever seen in a place like this. Washrooms and fountains are central on each deck and provide easy access. The staff is friendly and helpful but not "in your face."
The immensity of the structure can't help but capture your attention and the films and displays are simply amazing...words fail to describe the place, and there is so much to learn. We were there five hours and enjoyed every minute. The gift shop is amazing as is Emzara's kitchen--an all-inclusive buffet meal is available here at a very reasonable price (even with the US exchange rate). You can sit inside or outside---the outdoor deck gives you a fantastic view of the bow end of the imposing Ark. The dining room seats 1500...and yes, that is necessary!! This place is designed for crowds...yet, it did not seem crowded!!
The Ohio River Dinner Cruise was part of the package and this too was a wise choice. The buffet was exceptionally well done with lots of choices and a very friendly, efficient wait staff. The return portion of the cruise gave us the opportunity to see Cincinnati, Ohio, at night--the city lights were amazing. The boat was quite sizable and was built to resemble a "river boat" such as those used on the Mississippi (only ours was not that large!!). The narration was just right--not too much but enough to give the cruisers an idea of the area's history and geography.
If anyone ever inquires about wanting to take a holiday and do something unique and entertaining, the Ark Encounter fills the bill. My wife and I recommend it to anyone who wants a short but fascinating getaway. We hope enough people sign up for the Shipshewana, Indiana, trip in September as we are looking forward to this adventure as well.
Gary and Grace Denniss.