Octopi, sharks, piranhas…and police dogs? The Cleveland Aquarium, once repurposed into a police dog training facility, has been vacant for decades. It was built in the 1930’s as the Gordon Park Bath House, and was converted into a very successful public aquarium with an impressive collection of creatures in 1954. It closed in 1986 not for lack of visitors, but because the structure had grown unsafe, and was then used as a K9 training facility for the Cleveland Police until it grew too dangerous for both species of cops as well.
The facility is located at the lakefront Gordon Park, which also features several playgrounds. Cleveland’s ABC5 did a story last year on the unlocked doors and potential dangers within, prompting…absolutely nothing, despite Cleveland City Councilman Jeffrey Johnson’s promise to have it taken care of within 48 hours. [x] The doors were still open during our 2016 visit.
Things have certainly declined since the news crew visited, and many of the artifacts have been stolen. Still, the midcentury modern architecture, leftover documents from the K9 unit, and some of the semi-intact tanks proved it to be a very interesting location.
(We spent a half hour in this spot, changing a flat tire in Cleveland’s onslaught of brutal, lakefront winter wind.)
Historic images and source text from AbandonedOnline.net. They’ve got a pretty amazing gallery of its glory days, if you’re interested.