The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is slowly but surely moving forward with a long-term vision to reimagine a swath of long-forsaken land at Detroit’s storied Belle Isle Park that was once home to a modest yet beloved zoo.
Debuting in 1895 on the sprawling, Frederick Law Olmsted-designed island park is the Belle Isle Zoo, the attraction was rebranded as the Detroit Children’s Zoo in 1947 and renamed/revamped/re-themed again in the 1980s as Safariland. Plagued by declining attendance and political malfeasance, the zoo was ultimately shuttered in 2002 by disgraced then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and never reopened. Although the resident animals are long gone,
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