Monday, June 9, 2014

Belle Isle

The times they are a changin'. Belle Isle was once a no mans land where hipsters gathered to have picnics when they needed to get out of the city. We used to go have a few beers at Belle Isle before a show or during a hot summer's day. But, this past February the park was sold and is now owned and operated for the next 30 years by the State of Michigan. This is a good thing and a bad thing.

It means that the place is a lot cleaner than ever before. They have revamped the park and made it more family friendly. And they have banned drinking in the park and have it on high patrol by the DNR and the State Police. We thought it was important for you to know what to expect at the new Belle Isle.

First of all, if you drive into the park your car must have a MI State Park sticker on the window of the car. If you do not have one you will have to purchase one yearly, right now they are charging $11 for a 2014 pass. This allows you unlimited access to the park for 2014 and also gives you access to all other State Parks in Michigan. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. There is NO ALCOHOL allowed in the park and Michigan State Police patrol the park 24/7 ticketing anyone who brings it inside the park. You must have a valid fishing license to fish in the park. All of the covered areas on the Isle are used on a first come first serve basis, unless you reserve them which can be done here. All of the play equipment in the park has been updated and is more child friendly than ever. You must pick up all of your trash when you leave or risk being fined. It is free to walk, ride, or skate into the park, so if you are in the area it might be a good idea to bike in. It is a much safer place than ever before, but it's just not the Belle Isle that I am used to.

Remember you can also visit these sites within the park:
Dossin Great Lakes Museum:World's largest collection of scale-model Great Lakes ships, maritime memorabilia and special hands-on exhibits. Open: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Year Round.
James Scott Memorial Fountain:An eccentric gambler James Scott, bequeathed his entire fortune for this huge, carved white marble fountain. Worth every penny. Colored light and water shows presented from dusk 'til 11 p.m. Fountain is operated daily from Memorial Day thru Late September.
Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory:Patterned after Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, permanent displays of cacti, ferns, palms and one of the largest collections of orchids in the country. Available for Weddings. Open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily, including holidays.
Belle Isle Aquarium:Belle Isle Aquarium is open every Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free admission and parking.
Belle Isle is located at East Jefferson and East Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48207.


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