If you’re in need of an island vacation, Belle Isle State Park is the perfect place to escape with the family this summer.


The state park and jewel of Detroit is one of our favorite places to visit any time of the year. With a $10 annual state park pass, you can drive on the island and enjoy ALL of these FREE family activities.




Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

Enjoy a tropical escape in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory! The oldest conservatory in the country features a Palm House,  Tropical House, Cactus House, a sunken Fernery, and Show House. It’s also a beautiful background for some family photos and fun to explore. The Conservatory is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm.



Photo credit: Source

Belle Isle Aquarium

Designed by famed architect, Albert Kahn, the over 100 year old aquarium is the oldest in the county. Although it is relatively small, it is fun to explore – you definitely want to see the ‘Finding Nemo’ inspired exhibit and say hi to Mr. Ray. The aquarium is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.


Dossin Great Lakes Museum

A great hands-on museum for kids and adults, the Dossin Museum celebrates the maritime history of Detroit. Take a seat on a variety of boat exhibits and take a look outside to see what kind of steamboats you can spot on the River. An outdoor enhancement project is underway and you can now enjoy a new Riverwalk with observation telescope and patio seating. The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.



Belle Isle Nature Center

The Belle Isle Nature Center is operated by the Detroit Zoo and promotes environmental awareness through education and hands-on exhibits. The center is now open for special events and activities including weekly Family Nature Hikes + Nature Art Hikes, Nature Tots (great for kids ages 2 to 4), and Nature at Night. Find a complete list of programming here.


The Belle Isle Nature Center is also where you will find our favorite play structure with large slides, zip lines, climbing walls and more. The Playground on Oakway Road is open and accessible to the public daily.


Oudolf Garden Detroit

Oudolf Garden Detroit is a local group of volunteers dedicated to creating and maintaining a Piet Oudolf public garden in Detroit. Both artistic and ecological, the garden project is underway and will be fun to watch grow in the years to come.


Belle Isle Beach

Soak up the sun, play in the sand and make a splash in the Detroit River at Belle Isle Beach. The beach is open to the public daily from 5am to 9pm.


Photo credit: Belle Isle Nature Center Playground