Belle Isle, part I

While my mom was here, we went and showed her some of our favorite places (the library, etc) but we also decided to check out some things we hadn't done before.  Case in point: Belle Isle, in Detroit!

Belle Isle is a park on an island on the river between Detroit and Windsor, Canada.  It was most popular in the 50s and still has awesome attractions from its glory days.  It has some awesome playgrounds, picnic shelters, walking trails, a giant slide and other great outdoor attractions, but unfortunately it was very rainy the day we went so instead we checked out everything they had that was indoor. 

First off, we stopped at the Belle Isle Aquarium! 

It was built in 1904 and was open until 2005, making it the oldest continually operating aquarium in the U.S. Thankfully, last year volunteers re-opened the aquarium and are working on restoring the collections of cool fish. 

Look at that awesome Gothic architecture! 

There might not have been tons of awesome fish (mostly they had local fish, with some exceptions) but the architecture inside definitely made up for it:


Something I loved about visiting the aquarium was picturing what it would have looked like back in its heyday.  Can't you imagine throngs of people coming here in the 20s and looking at the displays?

Luckily, Nikolai didn't know that there weren't exotic fish and had plenty of fun looking at the fish they did have :)

 After we finished up with the Aquarium, we headed over to the Conservatory! In between the two buildings was this gorgeous Koi pond:

The conservatory also opened in 1904 and was modeled after...can you tell? Monticello!


But before we went inside, we had a little romp on the grounds: 

And check out the wheeling gazelle statue!

And then we finally went inside....and you guys, this place was NO JOKE.  I didn't get a lot of pictures of the big stuff, but there were huge tropical trees all over and it smelled SO good :)

And there were beautiful flowers everywhere! 

Sometime during the history of the museum, Anna Scripps Whitcomb donated her collection of 600 orchids to the museum, so they also had a huge section with tons of beautiful orchids!  

Honestly, I had no idea how beautiful I found orchids until I saw so many varieties in one place!

And then there were just really cool details that made me feel really artistically inspired: 

 Mom loved it too :)

Now, some more awesome pictures in random succession: 

We loved the conservatory! After this, we headed off to explore other parts of the island. Stay tuned for tomorrow's post with the rest of the details! 


Nate said…
ps this is melissa not nate, but we both think it looks cool.

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