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Florida Aquarium will offer discounts to state residents

The price of visiting the Florida Aquarium is about to decline _ for some people.

Exactly how much less will be announced today.

"Details are not ironed out yet," Amy Lovett, director of communications at the aquarium, said Wednesday.

The promised price break will benefit only Florida residents.

The change comes after a series of focus groups involving people who have visited the $97-million attraction _ and those who haven't.

"The study showed they would like something back _ for us to provide them a discount," Lovett said.

The Florida Aquarium, which opened March 31, has the highest ticket prices for such an attraction in the country.

It's prices are just ahead of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

It costs adults $13.95 for admission to the aquarium in Tampa and $12.55 for people 60 and older, as well as youths ages 13 to 18. The admission for children ages 3 to 12 is $6.95.

Lovett said the research also showed people preferred a flat parking rate.

As of July 1, parking at the aquarium will cost $3, to be collected upon arrival.

Parking is now $2.50 for the first two hours and 25 cents for each 15-minute increment thereafter.

Aquarium ticket prices were initially set based on a research study, as well as the facility's own financial requirements.

Financed by an $84-million revenue bond backed by the city of Tampa, the aquarium must earn enough money to cover its operating expenses and repay the bond.

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