FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
GETTING ON THE ISLAND
What are the park hours?
Belle Isle Park is open year-round 5 a.m.-10 p.m. For special events ending after 10 p.m., patrons are asked to leave the island at the conclusion of the event.
What do I need to access the island now that Belle Isle is a State Park? How much does it cost?
There is no cost to enter the park, however a Recreation Passport is needed to DRIVE onto the island. This costs $12/car and $6/motorcycle for Michigan residents and $34 for non-Michigan residents. Once purchased, the recreation passport will allow you to visit the island unrestricted until your car registration is due. Upon renewal, check "YES!" in the Recreation Passport box to have access to Michigan’s state parks (including Belle Isle) for the entire year! Recreation Passports for commercial buses and limousines cost $17 for an annual pass. The Recreation passport can be purchased on the island at the entry booth or at the Administration Building (call 313-821-9844 with questions). Click HERE for more info.
What is a recreation passport?
The Recreation Passport replaced the Motor Vehicle Permit as a new way to fund programs for state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail heads and boat launches and to assist in improving state historic sites and your community parks. By purchasing your Recreation Passport, you can visit ALL Michigan state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds and non-motorized trail head and boat launch parking. The Recreation Passport is required for all visitors entering in a vehicle, day users and overnight visitors alike.
In addition, if you purchase your Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State, you also receive access to the statewide Passport Perks shopping discount program, giving you discounts to your favorite local businesses and services. Also remember, this Recreation Passport is linked to your car, not your driver’s license, so it is non-transferable between cars.
Check out Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources’ website for more details by clicking HERE.
How can I get a Recreation Passport?
The Recreation passport can be purchased on the island at the entry booth or at the Administration Building (call 313-821-9844 with questions).
Are there day passes as opposed to the year-long passport?
Unfortunately no, there are not day passes for residents at this time. There is a $9.00 day pass available for non-Michigan residents.
I’m not from Michigan, but want to visit Belle Isle. How do I do that?
Come on down- we’d love to have you! There is a Recreation Passport day pass specifically for non-resident visitors! The cost is $9.00/day or if you think you will hang out with us for longer (or visit us a couple times in a year), you can buy the non-resident, yearly pass for $31.00.
I’m from Canada, but want to visit Belle Isle, How do I do that?
First things first- do you have your passport or appropriate documentation? If the answer is yes then get over that bridge (or through that tunnel) and come on down- we’d love to have you! There is a Recreation Passport day pass specifically for non-resident visitors! The cost is $9.00/day or if you think you will hang out with us for longer (or visit us a couple times in a year), you can buy the non-resident, yearly pass for $31.00.
Is there public transportation to get onto the island?
Yes! As of April 23, 2016, DDOT added a pilot program to the number 12 Conant Bus line that stops right in front of the Aquarium/Conservatory complex. Please see DDOT’s website for additional information!
Can I ride my bike onto the island?
Absolutely! The pedestrian bridge is open and does not require a Recreation Passport to use. The Passport applies only to vehicles - not individuals. Pedestrians, bicyclists and those using public transportation can enter the park for free and will not need the Recreation Passport.
Are there accessible wheelchairs for rent on the island?
Unfortunately, this is not a service we provide.
Is Belle Isle Park wheelchair accessible?
Yes! However there are few accessible bathrooms and there are limited pathways through gardens and green spaces and picnic areas.
EXPLORING AND ENJOYING THE PARK
What are the hours and locations of the facilities open to the public on the island?
Check out our"Belle Isle Attractions" page for in depth information on what is on Belle Isle and who to contact with questions.
Can I arrange a tour of the facilities on the island? How do I do that?
All information regarding Group Tours and School Field Trips can be found on our "Education" page. You must fill out a request form in order to schedule a tour. Prices vary for each facility for school field trips and adult organizations. The Belle Isle Conservancy manages the Education Program for the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. If you would like to visit the other facilities on the island, you must schedule your visit with the managing organization directly.
Is there any place to purchase food or beverages on the island?
There are no public restaurant facilities on the island. During the peak season, visitors can buy concessions at food trucks throughout the island.
Is alcohol allowed on the island?
Alcohol is only allowed with a permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Can you fish on Belle Isle? Where?
Fishing is permitted from the shores and piers along the Detroit River and in the lagoons and canals on the island, with the exception of the Blue Heron Lagoon. The two fishing piers are located on the south side of the island west of the US Coast Guard Station and the north side of the island east of the Boat Club. The two fishing bulkheads are located east of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and east of the Detroit Yacht Club.
Can I hunt on Belle Isle?
Hunting is prohibited on Belle Isle Park.
What kind of animals are in the Belle Isle Nature Center?
The Belle Isle Nature Center houses small amphibians, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles indigenous to Belle Isle. BINC visitors are able to get an insider’s view of an actual beehive and get an up-close view of Michigan wildlife. A bird observation window allows guests to watch native and migratory birds as they feed from natural and supplemental food sources. The Deer Encounter allows guests the opportunity to feed the fallow deer while learning about their history with Belle Isle.
What is housed in the conservatory?
Designed by famous architect Albert Kahn, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is a greenhouse and botanical garden that features permanent displays of rare flora, including one of the largest collections of orchids in the nation.
I heard there was butterfly sanctuary on the island? Where would that be?
Unfortunately, there is no butterfly sanctuary located on Belle Isle. However there are butterfly gardens in the Gabriel Richard Park, which is located just east of the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle! You can stop by and see some butterflies after spending the day at beautiful Belle Isle!
Is there a cost for any activity?
Most of Belle Isle's facilities and activities are free of charge. The Cost for the Giant Slide is $1.00 per ride, Visit the"Attractions" and "Recreation" pages for more information regarding 3rd party vendors operating out of the island and the associated costs for those activities.
RENTALS, BOOKINGS & SPECIAL EVENTS
How can I make arrangements or rentals of Shelters, building or spaces on Belle Isle?
Please contact the Belle Isle Administration Office at 313-821-9844. All questions, arrangements and rentals regarding Shelters, buildings, spaces and events on Belle Isle are handled entirely by the Belle Isle Administration Office. Unfortunately, the Belle Isle Conservancy is not able to handle these requests as our office staff does not have access to booking information regarding rentals, fees, dates or locations.
I am interested in having a function, wedding, reunion, group picnic, sporting event, charity event, photo shoot, filming a movie, walk-a-thon, music event at the Remick Music Shell, rental of the handball courts, use of the Athletic Field or any type of gathering on Belle Isle?
Please contact the Belle Isle Administration Office at 313-821-9844. All private events taking place on Belle Isle are scheduled through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
I’m having a party on the Island in one of the sheds. How do I get a Porta Potty?
The forms for the Porta-Pottys come from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. You can call the Belle Isle Park Office at 313-821-9844, to get more information on getting those forms.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the DNR and the BIC and the City?
The City of Detroit owns the park and has leased it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The MDNR is responsible for the day to day responsibilities, while the Belle Isle Conservancy focuses on awareness, historical preservation, and fundraising for capital projects.