Belle Isle Nature Center reopens following $2.5M renovation

The newly-reimagined Belle Isle Nature Center has reopened to the public after being closed for more than two years. Since its doors were shut in March 2020, the Nature Center at 176 Lakeside Dr., operated by the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS), underwent a $2.5-million makeover.

The center is now home to all-new exhibits and animal habitats designed to celebrate urban wildlife and highlight the intersection of humans, infrastructure and nature.

DZS Nature Centers Director Amy Greene. Photo: Supplied.

“We are so proud of this new facility, and after more than two years of being closed, we are ready to show everyone what we have been working on,” says Amy Greene, nature centers director for the DZS. “We have so many new and exciting features for guests to explore.”

Located on 5 acres at the northeastern tip of Belle Isle State Park in Detroit, the Belle Isle Nature Center offers unique educational, environmental, and natural experiences that help connect people with urban nature. Highlights of the upgraded facility include an expanded mudpuppy habitat, a replica Detroit sewer tunnel, and a pollinator area that allows guests to see how bumblebees experience their world. Now that it has reopened to the public, the Belle Isle Nature Center offers a variety of community and educational programming.

“The Belle Isle Nature Center is truly unique,” Greene says. “We’ve completely reimagined a new nature center that puts the focus on urban wildlife. Our intention is to reinforce the connections people have and the spaces they share with the nature that surrounds us. We want people to feel that nature is where we already are — we just have to notice and appreciate it.”

The Belle Isle Nature Center is free for guests to attend and is open daily to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.