The Oklahoma City Zoo Trust recommended a $1 price increase for admission beginning Jan. 1.
Admission would increase to $8 for adults and $5 for children. The board will ask the Oklahoma City Council to approve the first admission increase since 2004. Trust members cited increasing operating costs and upcoming capital projects.
"That's what we're trying to do — cover all our overhead," board Vice Chairman Donna McCampbell said.
Executive Director Dwight Scott said he doesn't expect the price increase to negatively affect admission. "I think the people are very understanding," Scott said.
Attendance spiked after the opening of Oklahoma Trails in March 2007.
But visitor numbers dropped steadily since the all-time high. Scott expects a boost in attendance when the elephant exhibit opens this spring.
Trust Chairman Dr. Mark Sullivan said zoo admission will still be low compared to area attractions, even with the extra $1 tacked on.
"We think we're worth it," he said.
The Oklahoma Zoological Society will also increase memberships by $10 across the board, Executive Director Dana McCrory said. It's the first increase in five years. The society will continue to give 100 percent of membership money to the zoo, she said.
"I think that's the important part," she said.
Free admission ended Aug. 1, 1965. Adults had to pay 50 cents, and teens paid a quarter. Children 12 and younger were still admitted for free. Zoo officials expected to draw in $280,000 in revenues, which they planned to use for zoo operations.
In other business, the Oklahoma City Zoo Trust approved the final master plan that maps out projects for the next 10 years. Large projects are estimated to cost more than $76 million. Projects include an Asia exhibit, Africa exhibit and updates to the aquarium.
For more information on the zoo, go to okczoo.com.