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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Admission fees at the three North Carolina Aquariums will increase starting March 1.

The increase will be less than $3. Jennette's Pier at Nags Head, also under the Aquariums Division will institute a walk-on fee of $2 for sightseers and $1 for ages 12 and under.

These fee increases are part of an effort to offset the shrinking state funding for the state aquarium facilities.

"These increases will allow the aquariums and Jennette's Pier to continue to fulfill our mission of conservation education, and meet our commitment of providing visitors with top-quality experiences," said David Griffin, director of the Aquariums Division. "That includes everything from new animals, exhibits and activities to building maintenance."

Aquarium fees for each age category increase by $2.95. This means adults will have to pay $10.95; ages 62 and up to $9.95 and children, ages 3-12, to $8.95. The new fee also includes a military rate of $9.95.

Children 2 years old and under and members of the North Carolina Aquarium Society will still have free admission.