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

It began as the first Cadillac dealership outside of Detroit, then became a roller rink in the 1950s. Now, the High Five GR is reopened as a premier event space in downtown Grand Rapids. The original roller rink hardwood floors remain, as do the vaulted ceilings and oversized arched windows that showcase the city lights. What’s new is a state-of-the-art a/v system and an event team that can create custom floorplans and organize set up/teardown and load in/out logistics.

 

The Townsend Hotel has been stacking up kudos in 2021. Maintaining AAA Four-Diamond status throughout its 34-year history and earning a Forbes Four Star rating for the last eight consecutive years, the 150-room luxury property in the walkable neighborhood of Birmingham and just 20 miles from downtown Detroit, was awarded the Travelers’ Choice Award by Tripadvisor in May, recognition that its positive review and ratings over the past 12 months placed it in top 10 percent worldwide of all hotels.

 

The Winery at Black Star Farms is widely admired for the award-winning wines produced from its 160-acre vineyards on both the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas. Now, the Black Star Farms is gaining kudos for its fruit-based brandies, too. At the 15th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, held in Grand Rapids on July 28-30, Black Farm’s Spirit of Pear earned first place in the “spirits” division of the competition while its Spirit of Apple took third place.