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Shiver on the River focuses on shuttered Belle Isle Aquarium
by Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News

Olivia Kirk, 6, of Dearborn checks out the fish in the aquarium during the Friends of Belle Isle annual Shiver on the River in Detroit on Saturday. (Steve Perez / The Detroit News)

Detroit -- The Belle Isle Aquarium was packed with people Saturday, and from the outside, it was difficult to tell that the historic building was not actually open for business.

Shuttered in 2005, the aquarium has sat vacant except for the goldfish and koi brought in from an outside pond in the cold weather months.

But on Saturday, boosters of Belle Isle held the annual Shiver on the River as way to highlight the island and raise awareness of the $1 million it will take to get the aquarium operational again.

"We knew they still had some fish and were hopeful there would be some to see," said Josh Simms of Royal Oak as his mother, Kris Simms, took a picture of him and his 11-month-old daughter, Shaelyn, as goldfish swam in a tank behind him. "We were hopeful."

Mary Kay Kubicek brought her three children to check out the aquarium on Saturday. She said she brought the older ones several times a month to visit the aquarium when it was open and brought them the day the facility closed.

"It is a great place," Kubicek of Dearborn said as her husband, Daniel Kirk, spent Saturday helping out at the aquarium directing visitors.

The aquarium opened in 1904 and was the oldest of its kind in the nation when city officials closed it because of a cash crunch. Noted architect Albert Kahn designed the aquarium that features Pewabic tiles throughout.*

For information about the aquarium, visit www.belleisleaquarium.com.

[send email to sesparza@detnews.com via gmail] sesparza@detnews.com (313) 222-2320

Page source, Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100206/METRO01/2060384/Shiver-on-the-River-focuses-on-shuttered-Belle-Isle-Aquarium#ixzz0etpJrJuk

 *(Web master's note) It is a common and understandable error, but the tiles are not Pewabic.