Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque
The new Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum opened on 1 Oct 2005. The 59,000 square foot facility is located at the south end of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Park. The museum is shaped so it will seem like you are walking into a hot air balloon that is being inflated. Exhibits cover the people, history, science and art of hot-air and light gas ballooning.
Regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The museum is closed Mondays and city holidays. The hours are extended during the Balloon Fiesta. Admission is $4.00 for adults (with $1.00 discount for New Mexico residents with a valid ID); $2.00 for seniors (65+); $1.00 for children, ages 4-12; and under 3, Museum Foundation members, ICOM, AAM & NMAM members are FREE.
If you ever go to the "land of enchantment" you might want to plan it around the time of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It's the biggest in the world (so I'm told). You'll have to get up early for this event as balloons start to fly as soon as the sun breaks free over the Sandia Mountains. Your not a spectator here, you get to walk and talk to the crews, touch the balloons and for a reasonable price, ride one! You'll love the special shape balloons with anything from animals, to storybook characters, aliens, and odd geometrical shapes. The food is great, delicious green chile anything. Great atmosphere! Oh, and if you can't manage to get up early, no worries. You can always visit the balloon glow at night. Watch hundreds of balloon light up after an unforgetable New Mexico sunset. You wont be dissapointed.
This beautiful new museum highlights the development of recreational hot air and gas balloons, and the use of balloons in science and aerospace research. The Museum also contains one of the worlds best collections of historic balloons, ballooning artifacts and art reflecting the history of ballooning around the world.
This is a great museum for anyone who is interested in air travel history or ballooning, and for people with kids.
The balloon fiesta is definitely a sight to be seen if you happen to be in albuquerque during the month of october when the festvial is ogin down.
There are about 800 hot air balloons all going up at once with a great chance of coming down right on top of you as they are guided by wind forces.
It is a five day event with activities going on all day...obviously all related to hot air balloons.
The day starts extremely early around 5:30 AM and its usually pretty chilli at that time so be prepared.
There is plenty of food and art stands (what a combo huh?) to keep you occupied between races and lift offs.
The evenings offer light shows which consist of the pilots lighting the flames in the fully blown up balloons.
There is an entrance fee but don't worry it won't break your bank. The balloons can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the city (Sandia casino offers a good view) and its pretty cool to have these giant balloons flying right over your head while strolling the streets of the ABQ.
No trip to Albuquerque would be complete without watching the balloons lift off. The Balloon Fiesta is the perfect opportunity to get immersed and see what it's all about. The festival is hosted in Balloon Fiesta Park and visitors aren't kept on the side lines. You can walk freely among the balloons. Take care not to impede the crews though!
Each Day usually starts with a mass ascension. There are special shapes that go up as well. In the evening there are "Glowdeos" where the balloons inflate and use their gas to "glow" in the night. Following the Glowdeo is a fantastic fireworks display (called Afterglow).
There are tons of vendors offering about anything you would want to eat along with Balloon Related Merchandise (imagine that!).
If you take a shuttle they will typically include admission to the event for the day and will drop you off inside the gates. The shuttle for us was no hassle in both directions and I highly recommend it.
Add this event to your list of things to do before you die. This is a most uplifting event and one you will NEVER forget. The festival in 2005 will be held 9/30 - 10/9/05. It is held at Balloon Fiesta Park. This is mainly an early morning event. I mean EARLY. We usually go there about 5 am. Believe me you want to get there that early because this is part of the whole experience. Absolutely bring a jacket that you can take off later, a hat and sunglasses. Wear comfortable shoes. . There is alot of walking and it gets pretty crowded.
My favorite event is the Special Shapes Ascension. Great for children as many of the balloons are giant cartoon characters.
The Fiesta spans ten days. Listen to the news in the morning before you leave as they may have weather and traffic tips. But don't worry even when you see the traffic, the parking is very organized. The acensions depend on the weather so if it is too windy this could cause problems and possible cancellations of the acensions on a bad day.
There are tons of food vendors. You may have to wait in lines but there is good coffee and I recommend the breakfast burritos myself.
On selected evenings during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, they have Glowedos. The balloons are tethered and they light up using their burners. It's a beautiful sight and the weather is usually quite comfortable.
If you are in Albuquerque starting the first weekend in October, you can see one of the premier events in the world. It is the largest hot air balloon fiesta in the world. During the mass ascensions there may be 800-900 balloons in the air at one time. That is why it is called "The Big One." There may be 200,000 people there on the first day. You can even walk among the balloons as they are taking off. It's cold in the early morning that time of year, so dress warm. There are plenty of vendors. Plan to eat breakfast at the Fiesta. The favorites include breakfast burritos, funnel cakes and curly fries.
The largest gathering of hot air balloons in the world. Pilots come from all over the world to fly their balloons in this week long celebration. Over 750 balloons fill the skies of Albuquerque every year in October.
The first week in October, Albuquerque puts on the Fiesta. There is even a city Balloon Fiesta City Park just off of Alameda Avenue.The Fiesta is about a week long and features over 400 balloons rising each morning into the desert air. During the summer the balloons are a bit sparce but I was about to catch a photo of one
The first 2 weekends in October, includes the week in between - some years we have over a thousand balloons up in the air at once ..... a beautiful site to see (and photograph!) By getting there early, and signing up in the crew tent/hut - you can help an out of town balloonist set up, fly, and take down their balloon. You can usually get a free flight out of it too! But to do that, you should agree to help them for a few days :) There are beautiful native american ruins, pueblos, nearby hotsprings, and Santa Fe is only an hour away. This is definitely a must see/ must do time to visit.....
If you visit Albuquerque, arguably the ballooning capital of the world, it would be rude not to take a flight. I love the experience and could not pass up this opportunity.
I've put more information and pictures in the Hot Air Ballooning Travelogue so please take a look.
They offer a flights from $150 (per person) and up (10% discounts are available) and will pick you up from and return you to your hotel which greatly eases the process.
Believe me you shouldn't miss the chance to take a flight
Click the link for the Travelogue
In order to attend the morning events, you need to get out to Balloon Fiesta Park VERY early, unless you want to be stuck in traffic. The police funnel all the traffic into two entrances: one from the north off of Tramway Road and one from the south off of Alameda Boulevard. Interstate 25 can become very congested as the morning wears on. I usually try to leave my home in the Northeast Heights around 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning on the first Saturday (crowds thin out some during the weekdays). It's dark and cold, so dress warmly. At the Park, there are many concessionaires selling all sorts of hot food (I recommend the breakfast burritos) and drinks. You can also buy all manners of souvenirs, clothing, etc. The Dawn Patrol balloons lift off around 5:30 or 6:00 to check the wind conditions. By mid-morning, the skies are filled with balloons. I usually like to get something to eat when I first get to the grounds (admission: $4) and spend some time wandering around the field. When the first couple of waves of balloons have lifted off, I then start browsing in the shops. The field used to be just dirt, but they planted grass a couple of years ago and now it is covered with soft grass (I didn't go this past year, but I hear it's very nice and keeps the dust down).
But the best way to experience ballooning's grandest event is to attend the launchings at Balloon Fiesta Park. It's quite a site to walk among hundreds of balloons being filled on the ground and then lifting off overhead. Albuquerque is one of the few places that allow you to walk on the launching field during the lift-offs and landings. The best events are the Mass Ascensions (early in the morning) and the Balloon Glows (at dusk).
The first couple of years I lived in Albuquerque, I was content to watch the balloons "off-site", meaning away from the Balloon Fiesta Park. Balloons are visible throughout the city during the fiesta, but the best off-site viewing locations (depending on which way the wind is blowing) are in the North Valley. I used to park on Tramway Road close to the river. Many of the balloonists enjoy flying over the Rio Grande and often try to "Splash and Dash" where they actually lower the balloon until the gondola touches the water before lifting up again.