ASHEBORO, NC - For the first time in a decade, admission prices to the North Carolina Zoo will increase July 1, when costs will rise $2 in each of the park's three ticket categories.

Effective with the start of the 2011-2012 fiscal year for all state agencies, zoo admission will go from $10 to $12 for adults, $6 to $8 for children 2-12, and $8 to $10 for senior citizens and college students. According to Zoo Director Dr. David Jones the price increase is part of the park's effort to deal with continuing state budget cuts that have seen the zoo's operating budget cut by five to 15 percent over three consecutive fiscal years.
The new prices mark the first admissions increase at the state zoo since July 2001, when prices also were raised $2per person. Depending upon attendance, the increases are expected to improve the zoo's revenues by $700,000 annually. The park's annual operating budget is around $17.5 million with about 60 percent coming from funds provided by the N.C. General Assembly.

The admission increase is in line with similar zoos throughout the southeastern United States and with regional and state attractions that charge from $20 to more than $40 for admission. The zoo will continue to provide free admission for registered N.C. school groups and discounted admission for other groups of 15 or more.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.