Belle Isle Aquarium
Belle Isle Aquarium
4
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Duration: < 1 hour
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Top ways to experience nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles128 reviews
Excellent
55
Very good
51
Average
19
Poor
2
Terrible
1

Tabitha M
37 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
Kids LOVED it! Especially the axolotl. Picture shown
For the adults in the family we felt a lot of the fish, especially on the first part, was things you'd see if you do much fishing. For adults it was small. Very nice, clean, and employees were very kind and informative.
Written 19 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Morella
Farmington Hills, MI1,111 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Family
This aquarium is relatively small. The displays are also relatively small: don’t expect to see sharks or any large fishes. But it is well organized and has a good variety of sea life.

Entrance is free. There is a box for donations and unfortunately very few people seem to donate.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and it was absolutely packed. Kids were having a blast.

The amount of information provided in each display is limited but good enough for a basic learning experience.

Limited chairs inside.

The aquarium is next to the Anna Scripps Conservatory which is amazing! Visiting both makes for a very nice outing.

In front of the aquarium several food trucks were available: ice cream, chicken and waffles, hot dogs. There is also plenty of seating in a covered area: nice!
Written 24 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Darcie M
St. Petersburg, FL56 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Couples
I wanted to love this place! It is the oldest aquarium in the US. It shows. The architecture is awesome! The displays are kind of small for the size fish they have in some of them. They are dirty and some are under construction. This place is run by all volunteers so I will cut them a little slack. The best part is the information they had on each fish. They do have some seahorses and sea stars which were neat to see. Other than that it was just sad seeing the large fish in small cases. Hopefully they will make larger displays for them once construction is done. This place is free to the public so hopefully they will get enough donations to improve the facility in the future. Kids that were there seemed to love it!
Written 16 July 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MikeG1952Liv
Livonia, MI16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Ok--this may not be one of the best aqariums in the US but it is truly worth your time to visit one of the first aquariums in the United States.
The setting is in the park on the Detroit River.
Belle Isle as well as the aquarium and conservatory fell into disrepair over decades but is making a nice bounce back since the State of Michigan runs the park.
At one point only half the exhibits in the aquarium were open. Renovations have taken place, the aquarium has been cleaned up nicely and 2020 all the exhibits will be open.
When we visited 12/27 the crowds were amazing. Love seeing folks come back. When you visit the aquarium, visit the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on the island or just park and watch freighters pass by.
Mike G
Written 28 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,417 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
Belle Isle Aquarium in Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Michigan, may not be the grande dame of the nation's aquariums as it once was. From the time of its opening in 1904, when it was the third largest aquarium in the world, to its closing in 2005, it was the oldest continually operating public aquarium in North America. Since its reopening, by popular demand, in 2012, it is home to over 1,500 fish of 146 species and largely features freshwater species native to Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Perhaps what is most interesting about the Belle Isle Aquarium, which continues to undergo restoration at this time, is the historic 10,000-square-foot building itself. Designed by noted architects George D. Mason and Albert Kahn, it features a single large gallery with an arched ceiling covered in green glass tile to evoke an underwater feeling.
Written 4 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ronald W
Grand Rapids, MI203 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
They request a contribution for entry. It's a fifteen minute visit. Interesting fish and sea creatures many from the great lakes. Next to the gardens, free parking, staffed by volunteers. The building is beautiful a relic of the last century.
Written 19 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Julio V
Saint Clairsville, OH25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
We researched our recent trip to Detroit & Ann Arbor, Michigan and The Belle Isle Aquarium was off the radar so we did NOT know about it. On a visit to Belle Isle we stumbled upon this Aquarium. What a wonderful and amazing facility. Oldest USA Aquarium yet in great shape, being renovated and not all yet open to public. Enough is functional and open that provides a great experience. In Michigan you can see rare and unusual marine specimens in display on natural environs carefully and scientifically designed to sustain them live & healthy for your viewing pleasure. A magnificent tour of Cuba marine life that may be unique, or at least rare to find any where else in USA.
If you go to the area do NOT miss this jewel. It is quite an eye opener and so well designed, crafted, and maintained you feel happy about their specimens being there!! And you get an up close, clear and vivid look at them acting very naturally. Don't miss it! I can not recommend it enough. Please discover it and share it with others!
Written 23 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alfred Brock
Wayne, MI411 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
Well, it’s still open, kind of. This aquarium has come a long way and recently a lot of that distance is down. It has somehow been taken under the care of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources but the operation of the aquarium itself and the administration of it is not clear.

Once home to beneficial and basic science concentrating on the Great Lakes, lakes, benthic systems, riverine systems, ponds and marshes it is now largely a tourist attraction centered around the building itself. The selection of fish on display are from myriad locations and show only a tiny slice of the wondrous variety of fish and creatures in the Great Lakes basin.

Hours are spotty to say the least. Signage is no longer accurate. Some of the tanks are empty and decorated in strange ways.

There is plenty of parking but the parking lot is in poor repair. The Koi Pond remains off limits and poorly maintained. The adjacent picnic area is maintained poorly so expect to see garbage left behind from whatever party breezed through their last.

The most disappointing thing about this location is what happened to the science. It is a small aquarium and always strained to meet the needs of the community it is serving but at the core of it science was genuinely alive and being practiced by caring professionals who shared their knowledge and made discoveries on a regular basis. Today’s aquarium shows little of that vitality.

It’s a nice place to visit and look at but I’m not one to have to spend my time imagining what a place used to look like and used to be before it became a shadow of its former self. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed by a visit to this location. Handicapped access is difficult and offered on the side if it is open.
Written 27 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sunshine50by50
Granite Falls, WA106 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Family
Aquarium is small but so historic and lovely. Oldest aquarium in the US. Beautiful tile walls and ceiling. Fee is donation based.
Written 3 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark H
Toronto, Canada468 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Family
This is must visit when you come to Detroit. The city is truly on the up swing for the first time in decades and Belle Isle is definitely a part of this resurgence. Well maintained, it is the jewel on the island. Classic Art Deco styling its like stepping back in time. Tons of fish to view, beautiful gardens and it’s free! Only issue is they do not have air conditioning so it can get very humid in the summer with only fans.
Written 29 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 124
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Belle Isle Aquarium - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

All Detroit HotelsDetroit Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Detroit
All things to do in DetroitZoos & Aquariums in Detroit
RestaurantsFlightsHoliday homesTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire