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Aquarium to raise prices to pay for additional exhibits

Updated:

JENKS, Okla. (AP) _ Although the opening of the Oklahoma Aquarium is still months away, ticket prices have already increased.

Current aquarium brochures list admission at $9.95 for adults and $7.95 for seniors, children under 12 and military personnel.

Those prices will remain for the March 1 opening, when about 85 percent of the galleries will be completed and opened.

The new prices will be $12.95 for adults, $10.95 for seniors and military, and $8.95 for youths. Children under 3 get in free.

Those prices won't start until after the aquarium's dedication around Memorial Day, said Randy Ewing, Jenks city manager and Jenks Aquarium Authority general manager.

``We're still well below what other aquariums charge,'' Ewing said.

The current prices were set more than a year ago, based on comparisons, the aquarium's exhibits at the time and debt retirement costs.

Since then the aquarium's scope enlarged with the addition of the multimillion-dollar Karl and Beverly White fishing lure collection, an extensive collection of antique lures, boats and fishing equipment.

Prices at the Oklahoma Aquarium were low compared to facilities with the same amount of exhibits and educational offerings, Ewing said.

The aquarium authority didn't raise ticket prices as high as recommended by the Oklahoma Aquarium Foundation, a private nonprofit group of business leaders who raised money for the $15 million aquarium, Ewing said.

The foundation suggested prices could go up as high as $15 per adult, based on studies of other aquariums, he said.

The aquarium authority thought that amount too high for Oklahoma. Parking at the aquarium will remain free.
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