State aquariums to increase admission prices


An alligator floats in the tank at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in this file photo. Admission prices at the state aquariums, including the one at Pine Knoll Shores, are expected to be increased by March 1.

Mark Courtney/Halifax Media Service
Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 08:43 PM.

Admission prices for North Carolina’s three state aquariums will increase next year, part of an effort to help deal with state funding cuts and climbing health-care costs, according to officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

In a temporary rule filing, DENR proposed increasing admission prices by $2.95, most likely by March 1. Currently, admission costs $8 for adults 13 years of age and older, $7 for military members and seniors 62 or older and $6 for children ages 3 through 12. If approved, those rates would increase to $10.95, $9.95 and $8.95, respectively.

The increases will boost the ticket price 37 percent for adults and 49 percent for children 3 through 12.

School groups and children younger than 3 years old would still be admitted for free.

“We’d like to continue that tradition, because for many of the kids, that’s the only exposure they’ll get to an aquarium and museum,” said David Griffith, division director of the North Carolina Aquariums. “We want to keep that free, and try to excite them about the marine environment.”

Griffith wasn’t sure how much additional revenue the fee increases are expected to raise.

But he said he didn’t think they would cause a big drop in the number of people visiting the aquariums. For the areas where they are located, Griffith said, the aquarium admission fees will still cost less than other choices available to visitors.

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