Belle Isle Park's conservatory and aquarium reopen in Detroit

Contact: Jeremy Kemp (conservatory), 248-703-6199 or Linda Walter (OAC), 313-670-2682
Agency: Natural Resources

July 16, 2021

flowers leading up to outside of conservatoryBelle Isle Park is in full swing with the reopening of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and the Belle Isle Aquarium.


Although many of Detroit's outdoor amenities and spaces remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, two indoor attractions - the conservatory and aquarium - were closed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory reopened last week and will operate Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The conservatory, featuring a collection of exotic plants, is one of the most recognizable historic structures in the park and one of the oldest in the United States. It's managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Belle Isle Aquarium (operated by the Belle Isle Conservancy) reopens today and will operate Fridays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring more than 1,000 fish and an extensive collection of park memorabilia, it's the oldest aquarium in the country. 

While the conservatory was closed, DNR staff performed major pruning and worked on strategic placement of the plant collection. The Belle Isle Conservancy invested $1.2 million in improvements at the aquarium, including exhibit and behind-the-scenes infrastructure upgrades.

"After being closed for well over a year, it is very exciting for both the DNR and the Belle Isle Conservancy to swing open the doors to the public," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief.

The casino and the Flynn Pavilion also have reopened for rentals. A few park amenities, including drinking fountains and the giant slide, remain closed. 

Outdoor Adventure Center reopens

Another downtown destination, the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center also reopens today. Located on Detroit's riverfront, the OAC gives visitors a taste of Michigan's great outdoors in the heart of the city. This 40,000-square-foot historic building plays host to hands-on activities, exhibits and simulators that help visitors experience the outdoors. Don't miss special weekend reopening activities during Outdoor Adventure Days, today through Sunday, July 18, including outdoor lawn games, a vaccination clinic, birthday treats and more.


Note to editors: An accompanying photo of the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory at Belle Isle Park in Detroit is available below for download.