Really, how could Noah’s Ark end up anywhere else but on the same property as a church?
In Lake Country, a replica of Noah’s Ark was one of the attractions at the now-defunct Adventureland, a tourist stop popular in the 1970s and 1980s in Oyama on the old Highway 97 (now Pelmewash Parkway), known for its gigantic slide which was located right beside the highway heading south.
Other Adventureland attractions included Davy Jones’ Locker and Mother Hubbard’s Boot, along with an ice cream stand.
After the park closed, the 23-foot-long and nine-foot-high ark ended up in the possession of local Oyama orchardist Alan Gatzke of Gatzke Orchards which is where the attraction sat empty, paint chips falling off, wood rotting, weeds growing through.
Gatzke posted on Facebook that he was willing to give the ark away for free if someone could give him a good reason why they should get it for nothing.
Enter the Gaudet family, they of the popular Apple Chapel on Lodge Road, a former church that sat on Highway 97 across from the Husky Gas Station for years. The Gaudets picked up the church and plunked it down on their property which also houses a 1911 boxcar.
“We just like old relics,” laughed Rose Gaudet when asked why they decided to make a pitch for the ark.
Gaudet texted Gatzke and told him the family plan was to convert the ark into a fruit and nut stand for the Okanagan Rail Trail, which their property happens to be located beside.
“It needs to be painted and some repairs have to be done but it’s a fairly good structure,” said Gaudet. Asked when they hope to have the ark open for customers, she said likely in 2022.
Gaudet, who grew up in Winfield, remembers visits to Adventureland.
“I know I went down the slide, but I don’t remember much about the ark,” she smiled.