Belle Isle is a 982 acre (2.42 sq mi) island park in the Detroit River managed by the Detroit Recreation Department. It is connected to the rest of the city by the MacArthur Bridge. It is the largest island park in the United States and the third largest island in the Detroit River after Grosse Ile and Fighting Island. About 1.2 million people visit each year.
It is home to the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (1904), the Detroit Yacht Club, the Detroit Boat Club, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, a Coast Guard post, and a municipal golf course. The city maintains a Nature Center where visitors are able to traverse wooded trails and view wildlife natural habitats. The island includes a half-mile swimming beach.
The island's annual budget is around $800,000.
In May 2011, Councilman James Tate suggested a $2-3 entrance fee for the island. Previous fees were rejected by Council in 1994, 1996, and 1999.
The aquarium, designed by Albert Kahn, opened in 1904.
On May 26, 2011, the State Housing Development Authority granted the City and Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium $45,000 to hire an architect and contractor to re-roof the aquarium, the first step in stabilizing the building. The Friends are matching the grant.
In August 2012, ModelD announced that the Aquarium will be open for free on the first Sunday and second and third Saturdays of each month from 10am - 3pm.
Other uses for Belle Isle
- City looks at ways to spruce up Belle Isle, Detroit News, 16 May 2011
- State preservation grant will help fund repairs to Belle Isle Aquarium roof, group wants to re-open. WXYZ. 26 May 2011.