Tour of an Abandoned Zoo – This Forgotten Belle Isle Gem Now Goes Beyond Creepy
Once upon a time, this beautiful Michigan zoo was one of Belle Isle's thriving attractions. Today, it's covered in graffiti and what remains of the property goes beyond creepy.
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
Does anyone else remember visiting the zoo back in its heyday? The pictures below bring back a vague recollection of visiting the zoo with my grandparents when I was a kid, probably sometime in the 1970s.
The Scene of a Movie
Even if you've never visited the Belle Isle Zoo, it may look familiar to you. If you saw the movie 'Real Steel' with Hugh Jackman you may recall that one of the zoo's main buildings served as the backdrop for a fight scene between two robots.
Here's a little YouTube refresher:
By the way, the movie was filmed almost a decade after the Belle Isle Zoo closed in 2002.
Opening, Renovation, and Closing
According to Mobile Instinct who created the YouTube video below, the Belle Isle Zoo was established in 1895.
According to this website, the zoo morphed into a children's zoo in 1947, nearly two decades after the Detroit Zoo opened in Royal Oak.
The property went through a major renovation in the 1980s when an extensive wooden walkway system was built. The walkway allowed animals to roam free as guests could observe them from above while still remaining safe.
Eventually, the Belle Isle met its demise in 2002 under the leadership of disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.