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ROM slashes admission prices to attract more families

File photo of kids at ROM's bat cave. CITYNEWS.CA/Shawne McKeown.

The Royal Ontario Museum has lowered its admission prices in an effort to make one of the city’s most important attractions more affordable for families.

Beginning Thursday, an adult general admission to the museum is $15, down from the previous $24. A child admission is down to $12 from $16, and senior and student admissions have been lowered to $13.50 from $21.

Kids three and under still get in for free.

Lord Cultural Resources, an international consulting firm hired by the museum, said high prices were deterring families from visiting the attraction more often.

“It’s a bold, unprecedented move for a Canadian museum,” the firm’s co-president Gail Lord said in a statement.

The ROM is also lowering the admission for feature exhibits. It will cost $25 ($15 for an adult general admission and another $10 for the exhibit) to see Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World, which opens Nov. 19. Under the old rates that feature would’ve cost $31.

“We know it’s a difficult economic time, especially for families, and our new, lower admission costs respond to this,” Janet Carding, ROM director and CEO, said in a statement Thursday.

“Looking forward as we approach our centennial in 2014, our goal is to remain as vital to the community in the future as we have been in the past. Our centennial goal is to become more welcoming, more relevant — an essential destination for everyone who cares about world culture and nature.”

Prices have been further reduced on Friday nights. Adults can get into the ROM between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. for $9, down from $12, students and seniors for $8, down from $10.50 and kids for $6, down from $8.

“High admission prices absolutely discourage families from visiting local Toronto attractions.  Admission prices regularly creep upwards of $100 for a family of 4 (and more for larger families) which can completely turn off families from visiting some really great destinations,” Caroline Fernandez, who runs the blog parentclub.ca, told CityNews.ca.

“Adding together the cost of admission, parking (or TTC costs) and food can make visiting Toronto’s family attractions simply out of budget for Toronto families.”

The museum, however, is scrapping its two-hour free admission period on Wednesdays. It said research suggested most people who visit during that time would pay. To offset that move, the museum is increasing its free admissions for marginalized community groups by 50 per cent every day of the week.

The cost of a one-year family membership at the ROM remains unchanged at $149. If you’re a member of a family of six (two adults and four kids 14 and under) a membership pays for itself in less than two visits, the museum said.

The Toronto Zoo recently announced it would have to raise its admission prices for next spring and summer to meet the city’s budget-cutting demands.

An adult admission will go up to $25 from $23, a kids’ admission will got up to $15 from $13 and a senior admission will go up to $20 from $17.

Families can get into the ROM and other local attractions for free as part of the Toronto Public Library’s Museum and Arts pass program. Click here for more information.

Here’s a look at admission prices for other local attractions:

ROM

Adult: $15
Child: $12

Free for kids 3 and under

Ontario Science Centre

Adult: $20
Child: $13
Kids 3 and under free

Toronto Zoo

Adult: $23
Child: $13
Kids 3 and under free

Black Creek Pioneer Village

Adult: $15
Child: $11
Kids 4 and under free

CN Tower (admission to only the observation area)

Adult: $23.99
Child: $15.99

Kids 3 and under free

Casa Loma castle

Adult: $20.55
Youth: $14.63
Child: $11.32