Conner Prairie Balloon Experience Lafayette, Ind., 1859. Credit: Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Up, Up and Away: 1859 Balloon Voyage Fun Facts

Aerophile balloons, the type of balloon Conner Prairie has, are among the largest and safest in the world! 

The first ‘passengers’ on a balloon were a duck, a sheep and a rooster. Their flight took place in France in 1783 and was approximately 10 minutes long.

Our balloon has 48 steel chains, eight inner mooring points, 16 outer mooring points and four gondola straps that will help keep it tethered during high winds and storms.

The “Jupiter” was the first balloon flown in Indiana. A crowd of 20,000 people gathered in Lafayette, Indiana in 1859 to watch the launch. It was designed and piloted by inventor John Wise.

John Wise used coal gas to lift his balloon. Coal gas was also used as a common source of energy for illuminating lamps in the 19th century.

Our balloon uses helium as a lifting gas because it cannot catch fire and helium also has very strong lifting power. Conner Prairie’s balloon holds enough helium to lift 211,880 party balloons!
Passengers in the balloon float 350 feet in the air. To put that in perspective, the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument located downtown on the circle is 284 feet tall. On clear days, the Indianapolis skyline is visible from the balloon.

Our balloon experience is the first in the world to put this experience, or ride, into historical context.
The balloon is 105 feet tall—the height of an eight story building.

The balloon is 73 feet wide—the width of Conner Prairie’s covered bridge.

Our balloon is environmentally safe, non-polluting and almost completely silent.