Recreation Department

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Belle Isle

(313) 628-2081
TTY: 311 or (313) 224-INFO (4636)


Whether your interests lie in nature, physical fitness, history, architecture, botany or athletics, you'll make fascinating new discoveries on Belle Isle. Come alone or bring your whole group...there's definitely something for everyone. Admission, and most of the park's attractions are free.

No visit to Detroit is too short to enjoy the splendor of historic Belle Isle, the crown jewel of Detroit's public park system. Located close to the hub of downtown, travel time to Belle Isle by car or bus is about five minutes.


Once on the island, you may get about by car or take a leisurely walk along the many miles of trails, paths and roadways that connect all of Belle Isle's points of interest.  The island is situated on America's busiest inland waterway and provides spectacular views of Detroit, Canada, freighter traffic and the Ambassador Bridge.

Detroit's city fathers purchased the 983-acre island in 1879 for $200,000, against the opposition of those who thought the price was too high.  They elected to retain the name Belle Isle (beautiful island) by which the property was popularly known.

In 1883, the designer of New York City's Central park, Frederick Law Olmstead, created the master plan for Belle Isle's transformation.

By 1889, visitors could enjoy the park via the islands' first wooden bridge.

Olmstead also helped select Cass Gilbert's design for the mammoth Scott Fountain, chosen over 93 other entries in a nationwide competition. Among Gilbert's other achievements was the design of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Between 1903 and 1930, the Casino, the Whitcomb Conservatory, and Livingstone Lighthouse were designed by Albert Kahn, who was also selected for the General Motors and Fisher Buildings.

The nearly half mile-long bridge that takes you to Belle Isle today was originally constructed in 1923 and a meticulous renovation was completed in 1986. In 1942, the bridge was renamed after General Douglas MacArthur.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Belle Isle Brochure.pdf

Download your copy of the Belle Isle brochure, complete with a map of attractions.
Nancy Brown Peace Tower
85-foot carillon tower, dedicated to the newspaper columnist who raised most of the building fund from her readers. Computer automated performances.

The Casino
Gambling? No.
Available for rent - call (313) 628-2081.

Dossin Great Lakes Museum
World's largest collection of scale-model Great Lakes ships, maritime memorabilia and special hands-on exhibits. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Year Round.

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 till 11 p.m. Fountain operated daily, Memorial Day - 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 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily, including holidays.

Belle Isle Beach and Water Slide

As the summer heats up, stay cool at the Belle Isle Water Slide, open the second week of June  through Labor Day.  Enjoy the slide all day for only $3.   If you enjoy the sand beneath your feet, the Belle Isle Beach is staffed beginning the second week of June through Labor Day.  On Sunday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. you can also enjoy Jazz on the Beach  begiing on July 13th with Damon Terrell, followed by Lisa Cunningham and 7th Heaven July 20th, Brenda Joy July 27th and Gerard Gibbs & ReORGAN'YZ on August 3rd.

Kid's Kingdom Playscape
Calling all Kids! Come play on the newly renovated playscape that assures safety standards and accessible play equipment for the physically challenged.

MORE TO SEE AND DO: Giant floral clock entryway • Giant slide • 200-acre woodlands • Fishing piers and bulkheads • Bicycle and nature trails • Handball/racquetball/basketball •  Chip-N-Putt Family Golf Center • Driving range/putting greens • Nine baseball diamonds • Ten lighted tennis courts • Cinder running track • Half-mile swimming beach • Historical monuments • Picnic shelters • Water slide at beach • World Cup Soccer Field • Kid's Kingdom Playscape • Paddle Boats • Peace and quiet...

In Winter:
Sledding • 30-foot ice sculpture • ducks to feed and love • The Conservatory, is open year-round.