For the first time since 2005, the Belle Isle Aquarium has reopened. Volunteers have been looking to open the shuttered aquarium, the oldest in the nation for years. All of the events that they have put on, including Shiver on the River (held every February), have finally paid off.
In 2005, then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick closed the Aquarium because of a giant budget deficit. Kilpatrick is no longer mayor, the city of Detroit still has budget problems, and Belle Isle could be leased to the state of Michigan for 30 years. Not many know what will happen on the controlment of the Aquarium, but what is known is that it will be opened from here on out, whether that is one day a week or seven days a week.
Thousands came this past Saturday to see the grand opening of the aquarium, full of fish, aquatic life, and lots of green tiles. The grand re-opening brings back memories for many older patrons and new memories for the younger ones.
Currently, only about 12 tanks are open in the aquarium, well short of the 60 that it has. The building was designed by renowned Detroit architect, Albert Kahn. It opened in 1904 and now, 98 years later, it’s creating the buzz it did back then.
The Belle Isle Aquarium will be open every Saturday from 10:00am-3:00pm and entrance is completely free. There are no concessions so you can bring your own food, but it is not allowed in the aquarium. For more information on the aquarium and how you can help, go towww.belleisleconservancy.org.
To read the original article that appeared in the second issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org