Beautifully designed by famous Detroit architect Albert Kahn, the Belle Isle Aquarium is an architectural marvel that was built on 18th August, 1904. The aquarium is one of America’s oldest and most beloved underwater attractions and has been captivating locals and tourists alike for generations.



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One of the most striking features of the aquarium will greet you at the very start. The entrance of the structure has a classical Beaux Arts design and the stone façade is embellished with two water-spouting stone fish adorned with the historical emblem of Detroit. When the Belle Isle Aquarium opened its doors to the amazed public back in 1904, it was hailed as one of the biggest and the most beautiful aquariums in the world.

However, tragedy plagued the aquarium in 2005 due to the worsening economic situation in the city of Detroit, which meant that keeping the landmark afloat was proving to be daunting, and it was shut down that year. However, in 2012 the historically popular aquarium was given a second life after being saved by the Belle Isle Conservancy and it finally reopened on 15th September, 2012.

After being given a second chance, the past few years have proven wonderful for the aquarium and the conservancy as the number of people visiting has increased three-fold. The initiation of the Belle Isle Conservancy was propelled forward by a group of friends, who had the passion, the vigor, and the hope needed to restore one of the most significant parts of Detroit’s history. The conservancy is a non-profit organization that has a string of goals associated with the architectural maintenance and restoration of the aquarium.

The Belle Isle Aquarium is still a work in progress, but the conservancy is hopeful that as funding grows it will be able to add a plethora of fish tanks, new species, and a bunch of other attractions to accentuate the overall environment of the aquarium. They have done an amazing job of restoring the fish tanks and preserving the historical pride and joy of Detroit for many, many years to come.

When the aquarium opened in 2012, the total number of tanks on view was just six, but these attracted more than 4,000 locals on opening day! The Belle Island Conservancy was welcomed with plenty of financial support from various organizations and foundations a year after the Belle Isle Aquarium was re-opened, and that, together with donations from the local community, enabled the conservancy to completely renovate the famous skylights of the aquarium. Moreover, in just a year, the aquarium has installed a total of 42 tanks, which are home to a staggering 175 different species of fish as well as a number of species of amphibians and reptiles.

Back to: Detroit, MI

900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, website, Phone: 313-402-0466

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