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« Detroit Moxie's Weekend Roundup | Main | Head to Hamtramck for Paczki Day »

Belle Isle: Fish, Flowers, Photos & a Friend

A week or so ago we went down to Belle Isle for “Shiver on the River.” We’ve spent a lot of time on Belle Isle in the last year but haven’t had the pleasure of actually going into any of the buildings until now.

Belle Isle Aquarium

The Belle Isle Aquarium

First up was the Belle Isle Aquarium. The now closed aquarium, which was designed by Albert Kahn, opened to the public in 1904. It was the oldest continuously run aquarium in North America.

Only one tank was filled with fish.

Unfortunately, the Belle Isle Aquarium closed in 2005 and was only open to the public on the day we visited to raise awareness and funds to reopen.

The green Pewabic tiles that adorn the walls and ceiling are striking. I was also delighted that one of the tanks had fish in it. The Belle Isle Aquarium may be small but it’s a perfect little jewel.

They had candles lined up on the dividing wall in the aquarium.

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

Next, we walked into the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

I snapped my first photo.

Ooops! Although, I am kind of liking this 'mistake' now.

Whoa! I knew something was wrong immediately. I looked at my lens and saw that it was all steamed up. I’m pretty new at this photography stuff and didn’t really know what to do.

My husband handed me his hanky (yes, he carries a hanky) but I wasn’t sure that was the best answer.

Meet Ralph Jones

I saw a man a few feet in front of us who had a better camera than mine and more gear. He also looked, even all bundled up, like he knew what he was doing.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said. He turned around and I explained my situation to him, “what should I do?”

He pulled out a dust cloth, very similar to my husband’s hanky, and I wiped the steam from my lens. I felt a bit stupid for my amateur freak out moment but I got talking with this man.

Ah, much better without the steam!

They grow oranges, bananas, and pineapples in the Conservatory.

I asked him if he was a part of the photography group that was doing a photowalk on that day. He said, “No, I’m just Joe Blogger.”

My ears perked up a bit, “I’m a blogger too,” I blurted out. He kind of looked at me in disbelief as my husband explained Detroit Moxie to him. Ralph told me he also blogs about Detroit.

Ralph and I exchanged business cards and said we’d check out each other’s blogs. Ralph was headed over to Ice House Detroit after Belle Isle, I told him that we just came from there and showed him some pictures on my camera.

I checked out Ralph’s blog as soon as I got home. His photo blog of Detroit is amazing. Ralph also checked out Detroit Moxie and I got an email from him the next day. I do hope our paths cross again.

I made a new friend. And of all the people who were walking around with cameras that day, I’m sure glad it was Ralph that I stopped to ask for help.

Lastly, I had to check on my Ice Tree. I’ll only share one shot with you today. I loved that you could see crystals and the water spray at the top.

The Belle Isle Ice Tree, 2/6/10.

The husband acting like a child.

All in all, what a fabulous Detroit day!

Check out Ralph Jones' photo blog 'Detroit Highlights & Shadows'.

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Reader Comments (7)

I so remember those banana trees from visiting as a kids. Thanks for posting this!

February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Peckens

I really wanted to go on that photowalk...but I'm glad I got to share the trip vicariously here :)

February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

Thanks Dave & Dominique! I didn't actually go on the photowalk, I just happened to be there at the same time.

February 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

I grew up near Belle Isle and spent a lot of time there as a kid. When you could still swim in the Detroit River. Nice memories of chilldhood 60 years later.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstevie

Your photos are so full of a beautiful and charming atmosphere of some exotic countries. Fantastic work!

June 17, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteronline resume writer

I want to say, that it was really interesting to read your story! I think that your trip was wonderful. It must be mentioned that the photos are cool! Use"> to improve your English.
Thank you for this post!

July 5, 2016 | Unregistered

I would like to visit such wanderful places. They are awesome and it's a great time to relax and think a little.

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