Century old Belle Isle Aquarium to reopen on Sept. 15

Published On: Sep 13 2012 03:52:59 PM EDT
Updated On: Sep 14 2012 05:27:29 PM EDT

It is the largest volunteer-run aquarium.

DETROIT -

After closing in 2005, the Belle Isle Aquarium is set to reopen on a limited basis.

Mayor Dave Bing will cut a ribbon officially announcing the reopening of Detroit's Belle Isle Aquarium Friday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the Aquarium.

The Aquarium will then be open to the public every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

An agreement was reached between the City of Detroit and the Belle Isle Conservancy to reopen the Aquarium on a limited basis, beginning Saturday, September 15, 2012. Admission and parking are free.

The Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory turned 108 years old on Saturday, August 18 2012. Belle Isle Park's Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory were designed by Albert Kahn and opened to the public on August 18, 1904.

On December 4, 1904, remarking on the Belle Isle Aquarium, Parks and Boulevards Commissioner, R. E. Bolger stated, "In design, equipment and the range of its exhibits, it is considered the finest in the world."

It is believed that the Belle Isle Aquarium is currently the only volunteer run aquarium in the country.

In April of 2005, the Belle Isle Aquarium was closed due to budget constraints. Since its closure, the former Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium, one of four nonprofit organizations that merged into the Belle Isle Conservancy, were awarded two grants to benefit the Aquarium. The first grant awarded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation helped to fund architectural plans and drawings of the Aquarium roof completed by Merz & Associates. A second grant awarded by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, a division of Michigan State Housing Development Authority, funded roof and window repairs. The Belle Isle Conservancy provided matching funds for the grant awarded by the State. Those repairs are now complete.

For more information visit belleisleconservancy.org.

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