Thursday, March 10, 2005


The entryway of the aquarium

Sadly, it looks like another glorious Detroit landmark will soon be closed. According to numerous articles, the 101-year old Belle Isle Aquarium has been a financial drain on the already fiscally-troubled city of Detroit.

Crowds gathered at the aquarium on Saturday afternoon

In this week's issue of Metro Times, Jack Lessenberry writes that the aquarium costs approximately $500,000 per year to operate, yet only brings in about $115,000, making it a prime target for shutdown. To make matters worse, the Albert Kahn-designed building would need a new roof, a fixed cost that would add another $500,000 to the bill.

This aquatic creature gives new meaning to the term "Big Fish"

Although the dedicated members of the group Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium have made numerous pleas to Mayor Kilpatrick, Governor Granholm, and the Detroit City Council to keep the nation's oldest aquarium up and running it has struggled to raise the half a million dollars it needs for the next year. As of tonight, the FOBIA has raised about $22,000, an amount that would stave off closing only for a few weeks.

The bright spot in this whole story, though, is that the aquarium is not closed yet, meaning you still have time to visit. I went with my fiance last Saturday and we had a blast. So whether you live in the city or the suburbs, go alone or with a group, get there and enjoy this treasure before it closes on April 3.

The Belle Isle Aquarium Celebrated its 100th Birthday in 2004

Although the Mayor's office has repeatedly stated that the aquarium will close, the Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium has generated much local interest within the short month that it has been in existence, thereby lending the small chance that the property could stay open. To donate, lend your ideas, or talk to others that are trying to help stave off the aquarium's closing, please visit the Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium website.