Current prices:

$18 for adults

$15 for seniors and military personnel with an ID

$11 for children ages 6-12

New prices starting April 1:

$20 for adults

$17 for seniors and military personnel with an ID

$12 for children ages 6-12

Patriots Point visitors will have to fork out more cash at the ticket booth next month.

The naval and maritime museum is raising its admission price on April 1 to help fund several costly improvement projects. Tickets will cost $2 more for adults, seniors and military personnel with an ID and $1 more for children ages 6-11.

Ticket prices were raised by the same amounts five years ago.

With the new prices, Patriots Point will now be one of the most expensive attractions in the Lowcountry along with the South Carolina Aquarium, which charges $25 for adults and $15 for children.

The price hike is expected to bring an additional $300,000-$400,000 in annual revenues, according to Patriots Point executive director Mac Burdette.

"This raise is a long time coming," said Ray Chandler, chairman of the development board. "I think this environment allows us to do that without being worried."

It was reported at a board meeting Friday that Patriots Point has seen 13,109 more visitors so far this year than the same time last year. Ticket revenue for the year so far is nearly $2.4 million, up 9.5 percent compared to the same stretch a year ago.

But the tourist attraction has several large projects it must fund in order to keep the ship running while attracting more visitors.

"We still think we are a very good value, and with the money we make from this we will become a more viable attraction," Burdette said.

Annual upkeep of the three wartime vessels at Patriots Point costs at least $1 million, and those expenses continue to grow. Burdette said basic expenses such as utilities and insurance increased by about 17 percent in the past year.

Plus, the museum is in the midst of some other improvements, such as a $250,000 paint job and a replacement of the waste water system, which will cost more than $200,000. Neither project has been fully paid for yet.

The initiative set out in the museum's five-year plan to update the attractions with digital features could cost up to $5 million.

"We're not any different than any other business," Burdette said. "Your costs go up, and you certainly want to give your customers a better product."

The Patriots Point Development Board will review the discounts offered to military, seniors and children next month to determine whether they are appropriately priced.

Children younger than six and military personnel in uniform will still be admitted free to the attraction.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail