Last Castillo fee increase was seven years ago

Lindsey Phillips informed local Historic City News reporters that the adult admission fee at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument would increase from $6.00 to $7.00 effective January 1, 2012.

The average cost for a family-of-four to attend local St. Augustine attractions is more than $34.00; according to information published by the Visitors Convention Bureau. The fee to visit the Castillo will be $14.00 for a family-of-four, even with the one-dollar increase.

The National Park Service is prohibited by law from charging admission fees to children under 16. They will continue to be admitted without charge.

“The fee increase will enable us to continue to fund projects that benefit our visitors at the same levels we have in the past,” Phillips told Historic City News. “Fixed costs continue to rise; however, our entrance fee has been the same since January 2005 — since that time, the Consumer Price Index has increased 16%.”

The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument retains 76% of its entrance fee revenue, according to the National Park Service.

Those funds are used for a variety of projects and services, including:

– interpretive and living history programs
– ferry service to take visitors to Fort Matanzas National Monument
– a variety of historic preservation projects to preserve our primary resources

“This fee increase will allow us to continue these services at current levels as we move towards the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine,” Phillips, who has been named interim director for the federal 450th Commemoration Commission, said.

According to the Park Service, a major project to be funded by the additional revenue is rehabilitation of the Castillo restrooms. Because of system failures, Phillips says they are forced to close restrooms and substitute portable toilets during several peak visitation periods each year.

“This unacceptable visitor experience in our City’s primary visitor attraction must be corrected,” Phillips told reporters. “This is especially true as we anticipate higher visitation levels in the coming years.”

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