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greates picnic park in USA
our family went to belle isle all the time. it was my younger sisters favorite place so we always had her birthday party there every october. we loved renting a boat and the bikes. it was a clean fun place for all ages.
if you've not been there it's a must visit place for all michiganders and tourists - you'll love it!
Beautiful and under-appreciated park
Belle Isle is about a 1000 acre island park in the Detroit River. It can be reached by a ½ mile bridge from Detroit, and is a breath of fresh air after spending time in the city. It’s a shame that more people don’t utilize the park, as there is some beautiful architecture and wooded areas, along with a beach near the Detroit Yacht Club. Contrary to popular belief, the water is quite clean along the beach, as the current in the river makes the water some of the cleanest in the Great Lakes.
The island was purchased by the city in 1879, and the master plan was created in 1883 by Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of NYC’s Central Park). Visitors could enjoy the park starting in 1889. Between 1903 and 1930, the Casino, Conservatory and Lighthouse were designed by Albert Kahn.
Between 1992 and 2001 CART raced on the island, and since 2007, the IndyCar Series has raced here. The park also hosts the Motor City Triathlon, and is one of the better downtown Triathlon venue’s.
The park is free and open daily from 10am to 5pm
Detroit`s fountain of mirth
I decided to write a separate tip about this fountain because I think its story is an interesting one.
It was built in 1925 - 15 years after the death of a guy who left $500.000 to the city of Detroit so they can build a fountain on Belle Isle.
Nice gesture, you may say. Well, the generous guy`s name was James Scott and he was a gambler and a naughty prankster despised by all who knew him. In his will the Detroit most eccentric bachelor had only one request: to build a life-size bronze statue of the donor (e.g. himself) next to the fountain. :)) Detroiters were furious... but finally agreed.
The fountain was designed by the NY architect, Cass Gilbert. Scott`s statue is there too. You may see it on the fountain`s left side - a bronze man sitting in a chair, looking at Detroit towers.
Those who knew Scott, said that he loved watching kids play. Good for him, cause till today children like to sit on his bronze lap.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Green spaces at Belle Isle
Belle Isle is in the middle of the Detroit River, Down stream from Lake St Clair (read: its clean). It's a beautiful green park, about 3 miles around with a great conservatory, lots of picnic areas, fishing, golf course, a water slide and even a beach. You can view the Detroit skyline and watch jet skiers and boats go by from under a shady tree or watch the barges pass on the side that faces Windsor. Be sure to visit Scott fountain which is far more beautiful than Chicago's famous Buckingham fountain.
- Budget Travel
CONSERVATORY AT BELLE ISLE
It's a beautiful conservatory that's been around for at least 70 years. The noise of the city seems a million miles away when you visit here. All kinds of beautiful, mature plant life to get lost in. Kids like this place, too. Don't skip it if you go to Belle Isle.
- Budget Travel
For well over 100 years Belle Isle has been Detroit’s island oasis. Before air conditioning city residents would escape to the island to spend the night during the hot sticky Michigan summers. It is still a popular weekend destination for picnics, to fly a kite or maybe even take a swim.
Although many of the islands once beautiful structures have fallen into disrepair, and the Frederick Olmsted designed landscape is overgrown it is still a pleasant place to take a drive.
If you would like a little more activity there is a small golf course, a children’s playground, and the only public swimming beach in Detroit.
Indoor activities include a plant conservatory and the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.
Be sure and stop by the Scott Memorial Fountain which was built in 1925 and is quite beautiful.
On a summer day the island is a wonderful place to sit and watch the boats go by on the river.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Belle Isle Conservatory
Oh Pretty Island! Belle Isle - in the Detroit River - was designed in the early 20th century by America's great landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead. It's still a very pretty place, an excellent venue for wedding photographs - as seen here.
The island is a giant park in the middle of the Detroit River. There is a zoo, a conservatory, an aquarium, and a bunch of other stuff to do. It's a great time for kids, or that's how I remember it. Also this is where they hold the Detroit Grand Prix in the summer.
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Detroit Travel Guide
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