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What's Up at the Air Zoo?

(besides aircraft and space artifacts)

We always have fun and exciting things to share with you.  Please check back often for exhibit information and openings, event details, special Air Zoo visitors, educationand  program announcements and soooo much more!

Media contact:
Nikki Statler, Director of Marketing  |  269.350.2811

Shaba Arrives This Week!

The Air Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of their newest aircraft.  Over the last eight days, Air Zoo President & CEO, Troy Thrash, along with a crew of dedicated transportation specialists, embarked upon a journey of 1,940 miles to bring the aerospace and science center's new aircraft home to the Air Zoo, located in Portage, MI. This new plane is a stealth fighter, a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Tail #817, and nicknamed Shaba.

“I really can’t believe the time has finally come, to sign for and start this exciting journey back to Southwest Michigan, with the first operational Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk released for public display east of the Rockies,” states Air Zoo President & CEO, Troy Thrash as he prepped for the trip to Tonopah, Nevada on November 30th. “This is a monumental event for not only the Air Zoo Family, but for everyone in Southwest Michigan, and this positive news could not have come at a better time.”

Last year, the Air Zoo was notified that they would be the proud recipient of one of the first Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks released for public display! This plane represents the U.S. Air Force’s first active military stealth aircraft, and the Air Zoo team could not be more excited to have been chosen for this honor. Once received, the week of December 7th, the Air Zoo is expected to be the first non-governmental facility in the country – and the only museum in the state of Michigan – to publicly display an F-117.

The highly decorated Shaba (tail number 817) was transported on two trucks across the country. The truck carrying the wings and tail fins made excellent time and arrived in Kalamazoo late Saturday night. The precious cargo was unloaded this morning at the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center.  The Air Zoo team eagerly anticipates the arrival of the fuselage this Wednesday afternoon, and plans to off-load it on Thursday, December 10th. They will work with a team from the Tonopah Test Range to reunite Shaba’s main components for display on the Flight Discovery Center’s exhibit floor on Thursday and Friday the 10th and 11th.  The Air Zoo’s Restoration Team will work to recreate the aircraft’s leading edges and to paint her for display at the Flight Innovation Center near the end of 2021. While under restorative care, Shaba will be available for guests to see up close and personal.

Those interested in learning more about project "Get Shaba" can connect with the Air Zoo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or on their dedicated Facebook Group page at

About the Air Zoo

Located at 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, MI 49002, the Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science experience with over 100 rare air & space craft, inspiring interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, full-motion flight simulators, hands-on science-based education programs, and more.  The Air Zoo is a not-for-profit organization and is open 360+ days per year. For hours, tickets, safety policies and procedures as well as temporarily altered experiences due to COVID-19, visit



Posted by Nikki Statler at 12:00 PM
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