The Albuquerque Balloon Museum has something for everyone. We stopped by on a recent trip to Albuquerque and enjoyed spending an hour or two. The history of ballooning in New Mexico is interesting. One man decided to bring ballooning to Albuquerque and did just that, by funding an international festival. The rest is history. This museum tells the entire history of ballooning and has some great activities for the kids.
First, as you pay your entrance fee at the museum ($4 for adults, $2 for children, 3 and under free) make sure to ask for an item search paper for the kids. This is a small folded paper with picture and questions from each exhibit. Our boys enjoyed looking and reading for the pictures and answers in each question.
The museum takes you through the history of balloon flight, comparing hot-air and gas balloons along the way. There are some really interesting things to learn, too. Did you know that Japan sent hot-air balloon bombs across the Pacific to America? According to the exhibit about 1000 of the 5000 bombs reached America, but none of them landed where they did any actual damage.
We also really liked all the hands-on learning about balloons. There is one room filled with different activities that help you become a better balloon pilot. Knots, weaving, flying a virtual balloon, and building a balloon were some of our boys favorite sections.
There is also a really fun balloon flight game that our boys (and Dad) enjoyed. In the game, you climb into a balloon and use the controls to raise your balloon into the correct wind and try to land it on a target across the airfield on the monitor. The museum wasn’t very busy, so we got to try the game several times, but only Dad managed to land the balloon near the circle.
Plan on spending about an hour to ninety minutes in the balloon museum. This is a great stop if you find yourself with some extra time in Albuquerque.