FIELD TRIPS & TOURS

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The Belle Isle Conservancy Education Department's purpose is to inspire our visitors

to feel connected with and care about the environments around them and throughout the world. 

The Belle Isle Conservancy proudly offers school groups, scouts, and organizations guided tours of the Belle Isle Aquarium. There are specific and limited offerings for our docent-led program, as well as self-guided experiences. 

 

Groups are always welcome on days when each facility is open to the public, but we reserve the right to limit entry for walk-in large groups based on capacity and reservations. 

Before requesting a date and time, please read through our menu of options, as well as our program guidelines. 

Please Note: 

**A request does not guarantee a reserved spot until you have received a confirmation for your visit.**

Friendly Reminder: To reserve your scheduled tour, there is a deposit (50% of total) due within 72 hours of confirmation (amount is located on your confirmation page). In order to remain scheduled, you must pay a deposit fee. Note: you can pay by credit card over the phone at: 313-334-7051. Or by check via mail. Final payment is due before or upon arrival. 

 

Prepare For Your Visit!

Click HERE for guidelines for planning your visit.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Click HERE to review some frequently asked questions before you request a tour.

School Groups

Teachers may select from docent-led tours or choose to do the self-guided experience for the Belle Isle Aquarium (BIA). Listed below are the Michigan Science Standards, Disciplinary Core Ideas that will be covered in each grade level docent-lead tour.

3rd Grade

Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Inheritance and Variation of Traits: Life Cycles and Traits

4th Grade

Structure, Function, and Information Processing

Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

5th grade

Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

BELLE ISLE AQUARIUM

 

Docent-Led Tours

Docent-led, curriculum-based tours are designed for grades 3-5

and focus on basic requirements for life, adaptations, food webs,

fossils and invasive species.

Tours last approximately 55 minutes. 

 

Days: Mondays (By Reservation Only) 

Times: 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM

Group Size: Minimum 15, maximum 40

Cost: $3 per person (Title 1 Schools exempt)

Self-Guided Experience

Self-guided visits offer the opportunity for teachers to engage

with their students in the Aquarium environment. Teachers may

prepare and lead their students based upon specific classroom

needs.

 

Days: Mondays (By Reservation Only)

Times: 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM

Group Size: Minimum 20, Maximum 50

Cost: $1 per person (Title 1 Schools exempt)

Downloadable materials are available for grades 1-5.

• Grades 2-4 Aquarium "Who am I?"                DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 3-5 Fish Adaptation Guide                 DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 5-6 Ways to Survive and Thrive          DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 6-8 Selfie Challenge                            DOWNLOAD HERE

ANNA SCRIPPS WHITCOMB CONSERVATORY

Docent-Led Tours

Docent-led, curriculum-based tours are designed for grades 3-5 and focus on basic requirements for life, adaptations, plant structure and function, and photosynthesis. Tours last approximately 55 minutes.

Days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays (Sept - May) (By Reservation Only)

Times: 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM

Group Size: Minimum 15, maximum 40

Cost: $3 per person (Title 1 Schools exempt)

Self-Guided Experience

Self-guided visits offer the opportunity for teachers to engage with their students in the Conservatory environment. Teachers may prepare and lead their students based upon specific classroom needs.

 

Days: Tuesdays (Sept - May) (By Reservation Only)

Times: 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM

Group Size: Minimum 20, Maximum 50

Cost: $1 per person (Title 1 Schools exempt)

Downloadable materials are available for grades preschool thru 5.

• Preschool - Grade 1 "Can You Find"                               DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 1-2 "Seek and Find"                                             DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 3-4 Conservatory Field Guide                              DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 3-4 "Leaf Seek and Find                                       DOWNLOAD HERE

• Grades 5-8 "Tasty Finds - Can You Find the Plants"       DOWNLOAD HERE

Scout Troops

Docent-Led Tour

Scout groups may schedule a visit to the Belle Isle Aquarium. Additional information will be needed to potentially adapt program to badge specifications.

 

Day: 1st Saturday of each Month (By Reservation Only)

Time: 9:30 AM

Group Size: Maximum 30 (including group leaders)

Cost: Flat Fee of $50

Summer Camps

The aquarium is the perfect destination for summer camps with children entering grades 1st through 8th.
Self-guided experiences only.

 

Day: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays (By Reservation Only)

Time: 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM

Group Size: No Minimum, Maximum 40

Cost: $40 flat fee; no title one exemptions

Adult Groups & University Students
Adult Groups & University Students

Adult and University Student groups may select a docent-led tour or self-guided visit for either the Belle Isle Aquarium or Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.  

 

          BELLE ISLE AQUARIUM                                      ANNA SCRIPPS WHITCOMB CONSERVATORY

Docent-Led Tours:                                                                   Docent-Led Tours:

Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday                                   Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (Sept - May)

Times: 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM                                                   Times: 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM

Group Size: Minimum 15, Maximum 30                                 Group Size: Minimum 15, Maximum 30

Cost: $5 per person                                                                 Cost: $5 per person

Self-Guided Experience:                                                         Self-Guided Experience:

Days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday                                   Days: Tuesday (Sept - May)

Times: 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM                                                   Times: 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM

Group Size: Minimum 20, Maximum 50                                 Group Size:  Minimum 20, Maximum 50

Cost: $3 per person                                                                  Cost: $3 per person

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • What are the facility hours of operation? If I’m waiting for my tour at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, can I visit the Aquarium?

            The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is open year-round on Wednesday – Sunday from 10 AM – 5 PM. The Belle               Isle Aquarium is open year-round on Friday – Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM. If you are waiting for a tour at one facility,                   you may visit the other while you wait IF THE FACILITY IS CURRENTLY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. However, if the facility                is busy, staff reserves the right to ask your group to wait to enter.

 

  • Are the Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory handicap accessible?

            The Belle Isle Aquarium has a ramp entrance on the left side of the building.  The Anna Scripps Whitcomb                

            Conservatory does not have any steps in the interior of the facility, however the pathways through the show houses are             narrow. There are steps in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory Gardens.

 

  • What is your chaperone per student ratio?

            The Belle Isle Conservancy requires at least one (1) adult for every ten (10) students.

 

  • Do I need a Recreation passport, even in a tour or school bus?

            Yes, every vehicle entering Belle Isle must have a Michigan Recreation Passport. For more information visit

            www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport.

            For questions, please contact the DNR by email: DNR-recreationpassport@michigan.gov. Or by phone: 517-284-7275.

 

  • Can I do an unscheduled self-guided visit on days the Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory are free and open to the public?

            Yes, but please be advised, groups may be asked to wait or denied access due to building capacities and reservations.

            This right is reserved by the staff at their discretion on a daily basis.

 

  • Why are tours only scheduled September through May in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory?

            Temperatures in the conservatory begin to rise in the spring and it continues to be very warm throughout the summer

            making tours impossible.

 

  • Can I request a specific topic for a docent-led tour?

            Yes, we cannot guarantee a specialized tour outside of the topics we currently offer, but our education staff will

            attempt to accommodate requests.

 

  • Where can my group eat lunch?

            There are no indoor lunch areas in the Belle Isle Aquarium or Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Picnic areas are

            available throughout the island. To reserve a picnic   shelter, please contact the Michigan Department of Natural

            Resources online at www.midnrreservations.com or call the reservation desk at 1.800.44.PARKS.

 

  • Is there food available on the island?

            No, there are no restaurants or cafes located on Belle Isle.

 

  • Can food or drink be brought into the aquarium and conservatory?

            No, food and drink are not allowed in the buildings.

 

  • I know this is a park, do you have restrooms?

            Yes, comfort stations are located directly across the parking lot from the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

            Restrooms are also located inside the Belle Isle Aquarium.

 

  • Can I schedule a field trip to more than one venue/attraction for the same day?

            Yes, but it is not advised. In order to get the most out of your student’s visit, we recommend focusing on one venue.

            Please note, should you decide to visit another venue in addition to the Belle Isle Aquarium or Anna Scripps

            Whitcomb Conservatory you must schedule them separately through their managing organization.

 

  • Are there places on the island for kids to run/play?

            Yes, the park has multiple playscape areas. For more information please visit www.michigandnr.com

 

  • Can I also take my students to the Giant Slide?

            The giant slide is open in early June until Labor Day, Wednesday through Sunday 12 PM - 8pm. For current operation

            and pricing, please visit www.belleislepark.org. Fees and payments for the Giant Slide are managed through the

            Michigan Department of Natural Resources and cannot be paid to the Belle Isle Conservancy through our invoicing

            process.

 

  • Where can we park?

            Free parking is available directly across from the Aquarium/Conservatory facility and can accommodate both cars and

            buses.

 

  • Who do we contact if our bus is running late?

            Should you experience delays, please contact the Belle Isle Conservancy Education Staff Member designated on your

            Tour Confirmation Form as soon as possible.

            Please note, if group arrives late, the length of your tour may be impacted.

 

  • What if I need to change or cancel my reserved tour?

            Should you need to change or cancel, please contact the Belle Isle Conservancy Office.
            Please note: Deposits are non-refundable within 30 days of your scheduled tour. We will accommodate rescheduling                 as best we can but dates are  subject to  availability.

 

  • Where do we check in when we arrive?

            Please print this confirmation form and bring it with you on the day of your visit.

            Please print the attached “Group Tour Bus Sign” for your transportation. Our education team will use this as a tool to

            recognize your group. 

Belle Isle Conservancy | 300 River Place Drive, Suite 2800, Detroit, MI 48207 | 313.331.7760 | info@belleisleconservancy.org

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