The Belle Isle Nature Zoo has undergone more than $1 million in renovations -- with improvements that include restoration of the facility’s infrastructure, eco-friendly updates and new landscaping. Years of use and harsh weather made the upgrades to the 1970s structure necessary.
“The Belle Isle Nature Zoo is an important part of our complex of facilities and programs. It was time to make some significant and necessary improvements to continue to provide a great learning environment for the community,” said Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan.
Renovations to the Belle Isle Nature Zoo include:
• New exterior siding, landscaping and a repaved and restriped parking lot.
• Lobby improvements, including high windows that let in more natural light, guest service amenities and a kids’ “tree-trunk” reading nook.
• New turtle habitat with recirculating and filtered pond water.
• Energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the facility.
• A new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, with the ability to monitor the system remotely.
• Completely remodeled restrooms.
• New security infrastructure.
• Eco-friendly carpeting made with one-third recycled materials.
• Fresh paint throughout the building using zero-volatile organic compounds paint.
• New ceiling tiles with 30-percent recycled content.
The renovation project was co-developed and managed by the Detroit Building Authority and Detroit Zoological Society.
The Belle Isle Nature Zoo sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich. The facility features indoor animal habitats, a bee exhibit, bird observation window, outdoor native butterfly garden, outdoor classrooms and the Blue Heron Lagoon nature trail. A Deer Encounter allows guests to feed the fallow deer while learning about their history.
Operated by the Detroit Zoological Society, the Belle Isle Nature Zoo is located at the east end of Belle Isle near the Blue Heron Lagoon. The Nature Zoo is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., April through October, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through March; closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free.