The cost of admission to the N.C. Zoo will increase by as much as $3 starting next week.
Zoo officials decided to increase admission prices to compensate for budget cuts during the past six years, and because state law now requires a 7 percent sales tax on admission tickets.
The zoo budget has suffered annual cuts of between $200,000 to $300,000 through the last few years, and needs the admission increases to continue operating at full capacity, the zoo’s director, Dr. David Jones, said in a news release.
“With the fee changes, we are in line with most zoos of our budget size in the Southeast, and our prices are still lower than that of most zoos throughout the country,” Jones said.
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Starting April 1, general admission for adults will rise from $12.84 to $15. The adult price for an admission and ride combo ticket will rise $3 to $21.
General admission for children ages 2-12 will rise from $8.56 to $11. An admission and ride combo ticket will be $17 for kids.
General admission for seniors, age 62 and older, will rise from $10.70 to $13, and an admission and ride combo ticket will be $19.
The zoo’s annual operating budget is $18 million. It receives $10 million from the state, about $5 million from admission tickets and around $3 million from food, retail and ride profits, said spokesman Gavin Johnson.
The last admission increase at the state-owned zoo took place in July 2011 when prices rose by $2.