How Big was the Ark?

Take time to look up the Bible verses if you want to really benefit from this study

Genesis 6v14-16

The ark measured 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high with 3 stories. Taking the cubit to be 18 inches, this means the ark was 450x75x45 feet. It was a massive floating barge that was designed by God, and built to stay afloat during the violent storms and huge waves of the worldwide flood. There would have been plenty of room for all the animals and food on board Noah’s ark. The animals were kept in rooms/nests/stalls. The ark was pitched within and without to waterproof it. There was only one door into the ark and it was placed in the side of the ark.

Noah's ark size
Size of Noah's ark

The pictures above are just to give us a rough idea about how big Noah’s ark really was, as described in the Bible.

Noah’s ark is the largest floating vessel known to have been built until the 19th century. God gave the dimensions for the ark. The ratio of the ark’s dimensions would have made it an enormously stable vessel, able to resist being overturned even in the most massive seas.

cute Noah's ark

Most stories depict Noah’s ark as small and overcrowded, full of happy animals. However, this is not the ark that is described in the Bible. The ark that Noah built was massive with plenty of room for all the animals taken on board.

An ark built like this ‘cute’ ark would have capsized easily in rough water. God designed the ark to withstand the flood.

The ‘cute’ ark pictures look like something out of a fairy tale but Noah’s ark was no fairy tale!

What Animals went into the Ark?

Genesis 6v19-21; 7v1-3

Two of every ‘kind’ of land animal, bird, and creeping thing went on board the ark (Genesis 6v19-20). Noah did not need to take sea creatures on board the ark – they could survive in the floodwaters. However, the turbulent waters carrying sediment would cause massive carnage, as seen in the fossil record, and probably some oceanic creatures did become extinct because of the flood.

Noah was to take 7 of every kind of clean animal and bird on board the ark (Genesis 7v2-3). Some commentators say that this was 7 pairs of every kind of clean animals. The Bible defines ‘clean’ animals as those that both chew the cud and divide the hoof (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). Animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats, which were used for sacrifice, were among the clean animals. One of the first things that Noah did when he came out of the ark was to sacrifice animals (Genesis 8v20) – so there had to be more than 2 of each sort of sacrificial animal on board! Also, perhaps God preserved more clean animals to allow greater variety within the ‘kind’ for breeding purposes.

The Biblical ‘kind’ is wider than species. Perhaps dogs, wolves, coyotes, and jackals are all descended from the one Biblical ‘kind’ – so only one pair of their common ancestor would have needed to go on board the ark. All the variation within the different ‘kinds’ developed after the flood. Remember, variation within a kind is NOT evolution.

God brought the animals to Noah (“…two of every sort shall come to thee” Genesis 6v20). God knew that there was just no way Noah could round up 2 of every sort (and 7 of the clean kinds) of land animal, bird, and creeping thing by himself, so the Lord caused the animals to come to Noah. Also, the Almighty God would have brought young, strong, healthy, fertile animals to Noah, that they could go out after the worldwide flood and repopulate the earth.

Noah gathered the food to take on board – enough for his family and the animals (Genesis 6v21). This was a task that Noah and his family could fulfil, so God left them to do it.

How could Dinosaurs fit on the Ark?

When people think of dinosaurs, they immediately think of the huge dinosaurs like brachiosaurus (who was about 39 feet tall, 75 feet long and weighed up to 75 tons) or tyrannosaurus rex (who was about 20 feet tall, 50 feet long, and weighed 6 or 7 tons). This, coupled with their mental picture of Noah’s ark being small, makes them assume that there was just no way dinosaurs could have fitted on the ark. However

  • Not all dinosaurs were massive like brachiosaurus or tyrannosaurus-rex. Compsognathus was only about the size of a hen. The average size of dinosaurs was the size of a sheep approx. The eggs of even the largest dinosaurs were no bigger than about the size of a football, so all young dinosaurs were quite small.
  • The Bible does not say that the animals had to be fully grown. The animals that were to be saved on the ark were going to repopulate the earth after the flood. It is therefore quite probable that God did not send Noah big old stiff ‘granny and granddad’ dinosaurs, but rather that He sent him young strong healthy ‘teenager’ dinosaurs.
  • There were NOT too many dinosaurs to fit on the ark. Although scientists have made up over 600 names of dinosaurs, there were probably less than 50 KINDS of dinosaurs.
  • There was plenty of room for dinosaurs and all the other animals on the huge ark described in the Bible. That’s why God told Noah to build such a massive ark.

Who shut the Door?

Genesis 7v16

There was only one door unto the ark. This door had to be very big to allow all the various kinds of animals to enter through it. Noah and his family would have had difficulty pulling a big, heavy door shut, so God shut the door.

Only those inside the ark would be saved, so all who would be saved from the judgement of the flood had to go through the door. Jesus Christ is the only Door to salvation (John 10v9; 14v6), and if we are to be saved from our sins, we must come to God through Him alone.

When God shuts a door, no man can open it (cp. Revelation 3v7). The opportunity to be saved was over. The people outside the ark had refused to repent of their sin and accept God’s provision of salvation, so they died in the worldwide flood. Those inside the ark were safe from the storm.

For further information on creation/evolution issues visit:

Answers in Genesis
Creation Ministries International