New Venue Spotlight: Polk Penguin Conservation Center

Whether or not your event is black-tie, host it at the Detroit Zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center and at least 80 guests will be wearing tuxedos.

The King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Macaroni Penguins and Rockhopper Penguins, to be exact. The stunning new center for the four species, designed by Jones and Jones and Albert Kahn Associates, resembles a gigantic Arctic glacier.

“It’s the largest penguin facility in the world, and features an incredible 325,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area with an underwater viewing gallery and two acrylic tunnels that provide spectacular views of the birds,” says Jennie Miller, the zoo’s communications manager. The interior is meant to evoke Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, and the display even includes blasts of icy air and salty seawater mist.

The $30 million facility, which opened in April, is available for evening event rentals, granting your guests VIP access to close-up views of the penguins. Your crowd will be delighted as the charming birds provide the entertainment by sliding down the snow and diving into their deep-blue tank, twirling, flipping and trailing bubbles along the way.

The space can accommodate 60 guests for a seated meal or 170 for a strolling reception. The $5,000 rental fee includes tables, linens, chairs and parking. Catering is provided through Detroit Zoo Catering and full bar service is available, along with menu options ranging from plated meals to a hot buffet or elegant passed hors d’oeuvres. And since both food and drink are managed in-house by

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