SAFARI LAND ZOO.
Detroits first zoological park was located at Michigan and Trumbull, long before Navin or Briggs Field, or Tiger Stadium. (razed) According to “Images of America Detroit’s Belle Isle – Island Park Gem“, The Detroit Zoo moved to Belle Isle in 1909. In 1956 the zoo would permanently move to the city of Royal Oak. At this time, the Belle Isle zoological park became a children’s zoo.
In 1980 this was converted to the Safari Land Zoo. In 2001, former mayor (convicted felon) Kwame M. Kilpatrick closed this facility temporarily.
The Belle Isle Zoo and the Belle Isle Aquarium have never opened since. Mr. Kilpatrick lives in a gated community in a Dallas, Texas suburb now.
Now let’s take a look underneath the catwalks
Here’s one of the facility buildings, complete with running water and all the lights still on.
These are the rear pen areas where they kept the Belle Isle mutant deer population for a few years. They are now moved to an open pen at the new nature center.
Pen for a “large field animal”
Um…For like, King Kong or something ? Look at the wattage they put into this electrical barricade !
Most of the grounds are completely overtaken by nature.
Life after people.
This is looking towards the main entry gates from inside.
Here are the main entry gates from outside of the zoo.
This is where you would exit the zoo.
Mushroom like understructure of the exit roof – this whole place has amazing rustic designs.
Mrs dFunk remembers going to the Belle Isle Zoo when she was very young, but I had no recollection of ever having gone through this park – until I saw this mural on the Arachnid House. This painting triggered the memory, I probably was here while I was in middle school.
I looked on YouTube but I saw no videos of the park when it was in operation. There are films up of the original Children’s Zoo that preceded this design.
Anybody have any memories or photos etc. of the “Safari Land Zoo” when it was still functioning ?
Heres a few other folks who took some good shots of the place: