Belle Isle Aquarium

Housed within a grand historic building, this aquarium has been providing an exciting and educational experience to the local Detroit community for many years.

Explore exhibits of fish and marine life in the Belle Isle Aquarium, a family-friendly Detroit attraction. The aquarium is considered to be the oldest in the U.S. and its stately design, along with its historical significance, have ensured that the aquarium has grown and flourished over the years.

The aquarium was designed by famed local architect Albert Kahn in the early 1900s. At the time, it was the third-largest aquarium in the world and featured saltwater that was shipped directly from the ocean. Today, its exhibits lead visitors on a journey through some of the most fascinating underwater environments around the world.

Before entering, take a moment to marvel at the aquarium’s architectural design. The building’s Beaux Arts-style entranceway is ornate, featuring two carved spitting dolphins and the emblem of Detroit. Inside, the grandeur continues. Look up to see the vaulted ceilings, which are lined with rare green opalite glass tiles.

Discover one of the largest collections of air-breathing fish in the world. Belle Isle Aquarium is thought to house the only known collection of all seven species of gar fish in North America. Other exhibits include catfish, eel, starfish, turtles, seahorses and frogs.

Learn more about fish and marine ecosystems at one of Belle Isle Aquarium’s monthly Science Saturday educational presentations. These fascinating themed lessons are held within the on-site classroom and are run by aquarium volunteers and local professors. The talks are usually held on the second Saturday of each month.

Find the Belle Isle Aquarium within Belle Isle Park, a 982-acre (397-hectare) island park in the Detroit River. To get here, ride a public bus inside the park. If you are driving, access the park via the MacArthur Bridge and purchase a Recreation Passport to enter; the Recreation Passport remains valid for 1 year.

The Belle Isle Aquarium is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. After exploring the aquarium, consider visiting some of the park’s other attractions, such as the Belle Isle Conservatory and the Belle Isle Nature Zoo.