[Host City Information - Detroit]


Located three miles from the downtown via the MacArthur Bridge, Belle Isle Park is Detroit's popular 1000-acre urban sanctuary, which attracts more than one million visitors annually. The island was officially designated a public park in 1879 after the city of Detroit purchased the property for $200,000 from the heirs of a wealthy Detroit family. In 1883, Frederick Law Olmstead, architect and designer of New York City's Central Park, was commissioned to design the park. Legend has it that the park was named after Isabelle Cass, daughter of General Louis Cass, Governor of Michigan in the 1800s. Others believe that the name was selected because it translates from French, (Detroit's founders) as "beautiful island."
Today, Belle Isle Park is a favorite spot for picnicking, fishing and recreation. The island is home to a number of popular attractions: Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory; the Belle Isle Nature Center; the Belle Isle Aquarium, the nation's oldest freshwater aquarium; the Dossin Great Lakes Museum; the Belle Isle Zoo; Scott Fountain; and the Floral Clock, complete with 22,000 plants and flowers. Recreational facilities include racquetball and tennis courts, a golf course and baseball fields. The island also offers breathtaking views of Great Lakes' freighters accessing the Detroit River.
The various institutions on Belle Isle Park host special events throughout the year including six floral shows in the Conservatory and the "Wolverine 200" bike-a-thon. Each June, more than 500,000 fans line the Island's shores for the Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest hydroplane races on the Detroit River. The excitement of auto racing also returns every June with the Detroit Grand Prix, which takes place on a 2.1 mile, 12-turn temporary race course on the island's west side.
Belle Isle Park can be accessed from East Jefferson Avenue near East Grand Boulevard.
Admission to the Aquarium and Conservatory is $1 for adults, 50 cents for children, seniors and groups.
Admission to the Zoo is $2 for adults; $1 for senior citizens; 50 cents for children 2-12.

Contact:Keith Kaminski, MDCVB, (313) 259-4333
Ethan Downs, Belle Isle Park, (313) 267-7121

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