Updates Abound at Newly Reopened Belle Isle Aquarium

Aquarium curator Dr. Paul Shuert says updates like new signage, resealed tanks and saltwater species offer new highlights for visitors.

Belle Isle Conservancy
Belle Isle Conservancy

After more than a year, the Belle Isle Aquarium has reopened its doors to the public. The island attraction has several new features and improvements for visitors including new exhibit signage, saltwater tanks and new species including garden eels, lionfish and scorpionfish. Dr. Paul Shuert is curator of the Belle Isle Aquarium. He says that what began as a few small upgrades snowballed into a more significant renovation over the course of the pandemic-induced closure.

Learn more and see some of the updates to the aquarium as Annamarie Sysling and Sandra Svoboda of DPTV’s Great Lakes Now for a virtual Facebook Watch Party at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept 3.

“At the very beginning when everybody was locked down we were still coming in. And, of course, like everyone else we thought we’d be opening soon so we hurried up and did a couple of quick renovations. When it became obvious we were going to be closed for awhile we just kept going,” says Shuert of the extensive updates to the aquarium that have transpired over the last 18 months. Shuert says the more than $1 million spent in renovations allowed for gallery improvements and rebuilding essential infrastructure behind the scenes. 

As far as what’s visible to visitors, Shuert says the entire collection has been realigned by regions, the alcove portion off the gallery has been entirely rebuilt and eight new saltwater tanks were installed. Existing tanks were cleaned, resealed and new glass was installed in some cases. 

The aquarium is now open to the public from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and masks are required for all staff and visitors.

Listen: Explore the new updates at Belle Isle Aquarium.

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