aquarium closes after 101 years
April 4, 2005, 4:36 AM
DETROIT (AP) -- Hundreds of visitors have turned
out to say goodbye to the Belle Isle Aquarium,
which has closed after 101 years because of a
municipal budget deficit.
"This is sickening," Marion Morris of Ypsilanti
said on the aquarium's final day Sunday. She
said the closing would discourage people from
coming to Detroit.
The Detroit Zoological Institute, which owns the
aquarium, announced the planned closure in
January. The plans sparked a grass-roots
movement to save the facility, which opened in
1904 and was designed by noted architect Albert
City officials have said that the aquarium
closing will save about $530,000 a year.
Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium continues
working to save the facility and is pushing the
city to let it lease the building as a nonprofit
The group has landed several big donations,
including $10,000 from Yazaki North America and
$2,500 from the Greektown Casino, The Detroit
News said. A weekend benefit raised $15,000,
while about $25,000 has been pledged by
businesses and individuals.
Interest in the aquarium has declined over the
years. In 1995, 113,000 people visited the
aquarium at Belle Isle, the city's island park.
In 2000, attendance fell to 86,000, and 56,000
people visited last year.
"This is our public, affordable gem," Karen
Twomey, a member of the group, told the Detroit
Free Press and pointed to a line of visitors
waiting to get inside Sunday. "And these people
represent dollars. I think this tells our
elected officials where we stand."
On the Net:
Friends of the Belle Isle Aquarium: