The Conservatory or Horticulture Building (as it was originally called) was designed by Albert Kahn in 1902 and patterned after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. It opened in 1904 and is connected to the Aquarium with an outside lily pond between the two buildings in the front. At one time, visitors could move between the two buildings. In 1953, it was dedicated to Mrs. Anna Scripps Whitcomb, who left her 600 plant orchid collection to the City of Detroit.
Now known as the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, it is the permanent home of hundreds of cacti, succulents, ferns, palms, tropical plants and one of the largest orchid displays in the country. Outside exhibits include formal perennial gardens and a lily pond. The 85-foot tall dome of the palm room has become a symbol of the island. The Conservatory is available for weddings, meetings and other special events. Contact Belle Isle Special Events Office at 313-628-2081 to schedule your event at this facility. It is home to the Belle Isle Botanical Society, a non-profit organization created to advance gardening efforts and educational programs.