Detroit’s Belle Isle Nature Center is finally reopening for the first time since March 2020

The center has been closed since March 2020

click to enlarge The interactive pollinator exhibit at the Belle Isle Nature Center. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
The interactive pollinator exhibit at the Belle Isle Nature Center.

An interactive pollinator habitat, snakes, frogs, and salamanders await the return of visitors to the Belle Isle Nature Center.

The center has been closed since March 2020, and has undergone extensive renovation both inside and out for its doors to reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Additions to the nature center include an expansive play area for kids, better habitats for turtles, bullfrogs, snakes, and reptiles, and a sewer-tunnel walk-through that allows “visitors to learn about and explore the areas where city infrastructure and wildlife connect.”

“We’ve completely reimagined a new nature center that puts the focus on urban wildlife," said Amy Greene, nature centers director for the Detroit Zoological Society, in a press release. "Our intention is to reinforce the connections people have and the spaces they share with the nature that surrounds us. We want people to feel that nature is where we already are — we just have to notice and appreciate it.”

A newly renovated lobby will also feature reclaimed materials from the original Belle Isle Zoo, which disgraced former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick opted to close in 2002. The Belle Isle Nature Center then opened to replace the zoo, with bond money granted by the city council to fund the zoo’s reopening.

Other renovations include a floor-to-ceiling bird viewing bay and an immersive frog and toad crawl-through that allows visitors to get up close and personal with see-through domes inside the habitat.

The nature center will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Sept. 28, and entry is free.

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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D .Her favorite pastimes are meditating on...
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