The Belle Isle Nature Center reopened Wednesday — with a $2.5 million makeover — after being closed since March 2020.
Located on 5 acres at the northeastern tip of Belle Isle State Park, the Belle Isle Nature Center boasts educational, environmental and natural experiences that help connect visitors with urban nature.
Highlights of the upgraded facility include an expanded mudpuppy habitat, a replica Detroit sewer tunnel and a pollinator area that allows guests to see how bumblebees experience their world.
“We are so proud of this new facility, and after more than two years of being closed, we are ready to show everyone what we have been working on,” Amy Greene, nature centers director for the Detroit Zoological Society, said in a news release. “We have so many new and exciting features for guests to explore.”
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The new experiences are designed to give visitors the opportunity to connect with nature — while also learning how to celebrate and save wildlife and wild places found in their own backyards and communities.
New and improved additions to the Belle Isle Nature Center include:
- A major renovation of the entrance lobby, featuring reclaimed materials from the old Belle Isle Zoo.
- A sewer tunnel walk-through allowing visitors to learn about and explore the areas where city infrastructure and wildlife intersect.
- Expansive habitats for animals that call the Belle Isle Nature Center home, including turtles, mudpuppies, bullfrogs, snakes and urban woodland reptiles.
- An expanded and upgraded Nature Play Area to continue Belle Isle Nature Center’s Nature Tots programming.
“The Belle Isle Nature Center is truly unique,” Greene said. “We’ve completely reimagined a new nature center that puts the focus on urban wildlife. Our intention is to reinforce the connections people have and the spaces they share with the nature that surrounds us.”
The Belle Isle Nature Center, 176 Lakeside Drive in Detroit, is free and is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. However, a Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicles to enter Belle Isle State Park.
For a full schedule of happenings and events, go to belleislenaturecenter.detroitzoo.org.
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