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Dec. 29, 2005
San Jacinto Fees Increase, Monument Closed for Repairs
LA PORTE, Texas — Starting Jan. 1, the San Jacinto Battleground will begin charging admission. This move coincides with the temporary closure of the museum at the base of the San Jacinto Monument for safety repairs during the next few months. However, the battleground and the Battleship TEXAS will remain open to the public.
Starting in 2006, visitors over the age of 13 will have to pay $1 to enter the park.
“As the San Jacinto Battleground hosts just over 1 million visitors per year, we hope to recoup some of the costs associated with maintaining and operating the site through collection of the new fees,” said Jerry Hopkins, state park regional director with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Admission fees for the Battleship TEXAS will also increase Jan. 1 from $7 to $10 for everyone over 13 and from $4 to $5 for senior citizens. School groups touring the ship will have to pay $3 per child rather than the old rate of $2. School groups will not be charged a fee to access the museum until it reopens.
Also, the park’s current operating hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. will be reduced by two hours. In 2006, the park will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Of the approximately 120 state parks in Texas, San Jacinto was one of the few remaining state parks that had never charged an entrance fee. Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site and LBJ State Park and Historic Site still do not charge entrance fees, although most of the historic homes, forts and other sites managed as part of the state park system have in recent years begun to charge entrance fees of $2-to-$3 for adults over 13 years old. State park officials say that the admission charge to the battleship is among the lowest in the nation’s historic fleet.*
The new admission fees and hours of operations come just after the monument and museum closed in early December for several months to allow renovations using funding authorized by the Texas Legislature.
The $2.1 million project will add a sprinkler system along with fire rating modifications to better protect the staff and public at the site. The observation deck will also be equipped with a negative air pressure system that will keep out smoke and toxic fumes in the event of a fire.
Plans are also in place to renovate the monument’s elevator, which takes visitors to the top of the 570-foot structure. The elevator has been out of operation for more than a year because of safety concerns.
Officials had hoped to start the renovations earlier, but initial prep work for the project revealed additional repair needs that delayed the starting date. The monument and museum are expected to reopen in spring 2006.
The San Jacinto Battleground marks the site where Sam Houston led the Texas army to victory over Mexico’s Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the battle that secured Texas’ independence on April 21, 1836. It is also home to the Battleship TEXAS, which is docked at the park on the Houston ship channel. In service from 1914 to 1948, it was the first U.S. battleship to mount anti-aircraft guns, use commercial radar and launch an aircraft. In 1940, she was designated the flagship of the U.S. Atlantic fleet.
The battleground site is located at 3523 Highway 134 in La Porte. For more information, call 281-479-2431 or see the park Web pages. For specific information regarding the temporary closure of the museum, call (281) 479-2421.
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