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Christian Animal Lovers Are Building a 500-Foot Functional Ark in Hialeah

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Good news, Bible thumpers. Noah's Ark is about to make an appearance. And in Hialeah, no less.

A group of Christian devotees is building a 500-foot, full-scale replica of Noah's boat. Why? To rescue animals and grow fruits and veggies, natch. So if a tsunami arrives, there's at least one feasible option for survival. For our furry friends, anyway.

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The project, called the Hidden Ark, is the brainchild of a group of four friends: Reniel Aguila, Rodolfo Almira, Osmar Oliva, and Manuel Guerra. They collaborated on the concept, and when another friend volunteered his property in Hialeah, the ark came into actuality.

According to its website, the team is "committed to the preservation of animals and the teachings of God."

The basic premise of the project is to create a three-story ark and theme park where people can surrender and adopt animals, interact at a petting zoo, buy seeds and plants, and tour gardens.

We're talking all kinds of animals, according to Caroline Peralta (Aguila's wife and a major player in the project), except the dangerous ones. Details are still TBD, and they're not working with any local rescues -- yet. But the door is open for possible partnerships.

Initially, Oliva funded most of the efforts. But now they're in need of outside help, hence the creation of a Kickstarter campaign to solicit donations. Their goal is hefty -- $1.5 million to be exact.

Though the project might have detractors because of its religious connotations, Peralta says the ark is designed solely to help people and animals.

"In my family I have different religions. I know some people will like it, some people will not. Some people might be offended, but I don't think we're doing something bad. We're just trying to help. It's something different, an idea. It's not hurting anybody. Our purpose is to help, not hurt anybody," she says.

But what about the burning question: Will this sucker actually float? Aguila is the architect, and Peralta says the answer is a resounding yes.

"Yes, it's going to be a functional boat, but we are not doing it because of that. But it's going to be prepared. If there's a flood, it's going to float."

Assuming they score the funds, they're looking at a potential opening in January 2014. So get those floaties ready, readers. Maybe these folks know something we don't.

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