the abandoned zoo

i post this at the risk of becoming one of those blogs about ruin porn , what with a post about the lafeyette building not long ago and now this.

i don’t have that much fascination with most of the abandoned buildings of the motor city, but a zoo, that’s something completely different.  the zoo located on belle isle was used as recently as 6 years ago to house a herd of some kind of strange deer that i think are native to asia or something.  they used to run across the isle freely, but then were caged to try to help the native wildflower vegetation, first at the zoo, and now at a nature center not far from the zoo.

now whatever your thoughts on ewoks themselves, i think we can all agree that the their village was pretty cool and the most appealing thing about the abandoned zoo is that with its strange little wooden huts and elevated wooden pathways, it has a decidedly ewok feel to it.

entrance into the zoo is not especially easy, you are out in the open, and it’s pretty overgrown, but once is side you can navigate your way around using the elevated pathways, or to be more accurate, you walk under the elevated pathways.



underside of the elevated pathways

the zoo without all the animals is not that much to look at really, it’s mostly the surrealness of being in old animal cages, looking up at where people used to be, and being where a tiger used to roam.  the soils in many of the cages seem especially rich, and plenty of burdock and catnip was taking hold.  i guess all that animal poop has made it healthy.  it’s a great place to watch primary succession happening, and i know i’ll be taking more trips back to poke around.

pathways though out the cages have been trampled down, more likely by animals than people.  i couldn’t help but think about feral packs of dogs occupying the space, making me a bit weary.  even more disconcerting was the fantasy i was concocting of  new civilization of dogs that was created here in the abandoned zoo.  away from the prying eye of their masters, they are able to form a new rule – one of the canines.  what if the dog king takes me prisoner.



ewok village huts viewed from the inside of former cage

other thoughts are of what a great place this would be to squat, it’s right on belle isle, so it’s close to work, we have tons of open land to grow veggies and raise animals, and of course all those cute little ewok huts.  i forgot to check if the water was still on – a task for next time.

i did not realize just how big the zoo was, i thought i had explored the whole thing and popped out of another hole i found, only discover on my walk back, that i’d only seen part of it, and plenty of wooden huts to check out.  ma wants to go in too, so i’ll be back to check out the other half.




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