BELLE ISLE AQUARIUM
Photo: Marty Boyatt
Friday to Sunday
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
3 Inselruhe Ave
Detroit, MI 48207
Free admission and parking
Belle Isle Conservancy
(313) 402-0466 (Aquarium)
(313) 331-7760 (BIC office)
BEYOND THE GLASS
The Belle Isle Aquarium was designed by famed Detroit architect, Albert Kahn, and opened on August 18, 1904. It is the oldest aquarium in the country and has served the Detroit community as a beloved attraction for generations. In 2005, the city of Detroit announced that the Aquarium was to be closed due to lean economic times for the city. The building remained closed to the public until the Belle Isle Conservancy reopened it on September 15, 2012. Over the past three years, the aquarium has exploded in popularity, evident by the attendance numbers that have TRIPLED over the course of the past year. "Momentum" is truly the best term for what is happening in this historic building! A work-in-progress, the aquarium continues to grow and flourish as new exhibits and fish are added, tanks are restored, and history is preserved for generations to come.
The Mbu Pufferfish can grow to a length of 26 inches long! For this reason it is commonly referred to as the giant pufferfish. The Mbu Puffer originates from the Congo River as well as the east coast of Lake Tanganyika in Africa.
This is the only known collection of all seven species of gar on display in North America.
With two lungs, the African Lungfish is an obligate air breather surviving the dry season in a mud burrow.
Electric eels are capable of generating powerful electric shocks of up to 600 volts, which they use for hunting, self-defense, and communicating with fellow eels.
Designed by Albert Kahn, the Belle Isle Aquarium has a Beaux Art style entrance that is decorated with an ornate arch incorporating two spitting dolphins and the emblem of Detroit. The Aquarium's interior features rare, green opalite glass tiles lining its vaulted ceiling. Kahn’s original design was to display the fish like art hanging on the wall in a gallery. In 1954, the aquarium underwent major renovations including structural repairs, and updates in lighting and water filtration systems. The original wood and glue tanks were replaced with concrete tanks and three floor pool exhibits were removed.
One of the Belle Isle Conservancy's goals since assuming responsibility of the aquarium has been restoring much of the historical aspects of this amazing building. Repairing and stabilizing the envelope of the Aquarium with a roof repairs and window tuckpointing was a priority to reopening an expanding hours. Recently, the facility's skylights have been reopened and pendant lighting has been added to reflect the original lighting design.
THE BIA WILL BE CLOSED MAY 31ST- JUNE 2ND AND WILL REOPEN AT 10AM ON JUNE 7TH