Starting Friday, visiting the animals at the Sedgwick County Zoo will cost a little bit more.
The zoo announced new admission prices Tuesday. For those 12 and older, prices will increase from $11 to $11.50. Admission for children ages 4 to 11 will increase from $6.50 to $7. Three-year-olds previously were admitted to the zoo for free, but now will have to pay the $7 children's rate. Children 2 and under will still be admitted for free. The price for people 62 or older will remain at the 2009 rate of $7.
All membership packages — with the exception of the senior citizen, senior couple, sponsor and contributing member packages — will cost $5 more.
The price changes were decided upon after comparing the Sedgwick County Zoo's prices with other zoos around the country and evaluating the effect new exhibits have on the budget, said Karen Bates, the zoo's development project coordinator.
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As the zoo expands, as it did when it opened the Slawson Family Tiger Trek in May, more money is needed for maintenance and to hire new zookeepers and staff, she said.
The zoo last increased admission prices by $1 for adults and 50 cents for children at the start of 2009. Admission receipts account for 15.6 percent of the zoo's operating budget, and membership fees make up 13.8 percent.
Bates said the cost of admission is comparable to other zoos around the country and the extra revenue will allow the zoo to continue expanding and adding exhibits.