Once Noah had built his ark, so the story goes, God gave him just seven days' notice to load all the planet's animals two by two into the vessel.
The fauna of today's world will be pleased, then, to hear that they have been given much more time to prepare their journey to the “full-scale" ark replica currently under construction in Kentucky.
The modern-day ark will open in July 2016 in Williamstown in the north of the state, it was announced on Thursday.
“Some supporters who have been watching the construction of the huge ship have said they believe this Ark will be one of the 'wonders of the modern world'," said Ken Ham, president and founder of Answers in Genesis, the group behind the plan.
The sea-faring craft is being built according to the dimensions provided in the Bible, according to Answers in Genesis. Specifically, it will be 510ft long. It is unclear if the ark will actually float, although the “long-range forecast" section of the National Weather Service's website makes no mention of an imminent flood.
Ham said the ark would open for “40 days and 40 nights" from 7 July – the night opening has been added to deal with expected demand, and Answers in Genesis expect 1.6m visitors to the ark in the first year.
The project is affiliated with the Creation Museum, also located in Kentucky, and visitors will be able to purchase “combo tickets" to enter both attractions.
The Creation Museum “brings the Bible to life", according to its website. It features a recreation of Adam and Eve's lives in the Garden of Eden, and offers the opportunity to see “children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden's rivers".
Answers in Genesis is a “young earth creationist" group, which means there is also the chance to learn about how the earth was created in six days by God around 6,000 years ago.
Scientists estimate the earth is actually around 4.5bn years old, but Dr Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist at Answers in Genesis, said some of the data leading to that conclusion could be skewed.
“A global flood would have dramatically affected geological processes worldwide," he said. Young earth creationists believe the flood that caused Noah to set sail occurred 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
Unlike Noah's handcrafted bateau, Ark Encounter will not hold livestock. Regarding the question of how Noah would have managed to fit two of all the world's animals into his ark, Jeanson said it was a misconception that all the animals of today were stuffed into the ship's hull.
Instead, according to young earth creationists, it was the ancestors of modern-day species that were taken by Noah, and the animals we know today descended from those: for example pigs and horses came from one male and one female bovid herded on to the ark.
Scientific consensus is that animal life originated from microbes billions of years ago. Animals are generally believed to have evolved through natural selection into the species we know today.
In a press release, Answers in Genesis said it had raised $80m of the $91.5m estimated total. According to its website, $23.5m of this has been raised through donations.
The Ark Encounter website has a helpful FAQ section for those wanting to know more about the undertaking. In response to one of the questions – “Why are you building an ark?" – the text explains: “Through the construction of a massive full-scale Noah's ark, the Ark Encounter will present America and other nations with a reminder about the bible's account of the ark."
On the website, Ham says “reminders in the culture which helped ensure that people would not forget the truths of God's Word" were increasingly being removed from “our western culture, including the US".
“Nativity scenes, Crosses, and Ten Commandments displays have basically been banned from public places," he writes. “The words 'Merry Christmas' are being replaced with 'Happy Holidays'. 'Gay' marriage is increasing legalized. Creation, the Bible, and prayer have been eliminated from the public education system."
Rebuilding the Ark would provide “a sign (or a reminder) to this world that God's Word is true".
The website also reveals that “additional future phases for the attraction include a Walled City, the Tower of Babel, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a journey in history from Abraham to the parting of the Red Sea, a walk-through aviary, an expanded large petting zoo, and so on".