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Welcome To1859 Balloon Voyage

1859 Balloon Voyage is open April through October

Science, technology, engineering and math come together with history in a seamless, one-of-a-kind voyage through time. You’ll find yourself in the middle of Lafayette, Ind., in the year 1859, to explore the history of manned flight, discover the rigors of airmail by balloon, and get a closer look at all the work required to lift a balloon into the sky. The culmination of this experience is the ability to step into the gondola of our tethered balloon, and be lifted 350 feet over Conner Prairie. (See balloon ticket prices below.)

Our 1859 Balloon Voyage is presented by Reynolds Farm Equipment.

We love seeing photos from our guests! Add yours here. #discoverCP

Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, ask the pilot next time you visit our 1859 Balloon Voyage!

 
  • Is it safe to ride the 1859 Balloon Voyage?

    Yes! It is filled with helium, a nonflammable gas also used in party balloons. A net and an aluminum guardrail surround the passenger gondola, and the balloon is operated by trained pilots and ground crew.

  • How tall is the balloon?

    At 105 feet, it’s as tall as an eight story building.

  • How many people can the gondola hold?

    Up to 20 people, depending on the wind conditions.

  • Is it cold up there?

    No. The temperature in the air will be roughly the same as the temperature on the ground.

  • How high does the balloon fly?

    Up to 370 feet.

  • How long will the average ride last?

    The average ride length is 10-15 minutes, which includes ascending, viewing and descending.

  • What are ideal weather conditions for flight? What types of weather and temperatures ground the balloon?

    No wind and overcast skies with temps under 80°F are ideal. Thunderstorms within 30 miles, clouds below 1,000 ft., winds over 24 mph and temps 90°F or above keep the balloon on ground.

  • How was the balloon inflated and how long did it take?

    The balloon was inflated very carefully over the course of one day. Before inflation, it took one full day just to prepare the site, move equipment into position and pre-assemble components for the envelope. Inflation day two required a large crew of 25 to unbundle the envelope and net and move it into position. Inflation with helium began early afternoon and progressed slowly until balloon was ready to fly seven hours after. Test flying and adjustments began on day three with the balloon ready for service by mid-day.

  • Can I reserve the balloon for a special occasion?

    Yes, you can! Call 317.776.6000 ext. 266 for more information.

  • Is the balloon wheelchair accessible?

    A wheelchair no wider than 25.5" will fit on to the gondola via a ramp, for easy access. If your wheelchair is too wide, we have one you can use.

  • What is the gondola made of?

    The gondola of the balloon is crafted of composite materials and aluminum, and the upper portion of the gondola is surrounded by netting. The balloon is filled with helium, an inert, nonflammable gas. The balloon ascends in good weather conditions only and will not fly in unsafe conditions, including storms or high winds.

  • What will I be able to see from up high?

    On clear days, the downtown Indianapolis skyline will be visible. The Pyramids at 86th Street and Michigan Road are quite clear. The beautiful bend in the White River and Conner Prairie’s “prairie,” a floodplain in actuality, are quite visible. To the east, the water towers of various communities are visible.

  • Who made the balloon?

    Aerophile s.a, the French company that manufactured and installed our tethered balloon, has been in business since 1994. They have sold over 50 balloons in more than 20 countries in cities including Paris, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers launched the first successful manned balloon in Paris. Aerophile carries on the French ballooning tradition.

  • Do I get my money back if weather prevents the balloon from flying?

    A Guest Services Representative at the Ticket Desk or at the Balloon Kiosk will gladly refund the amount you paid for your balloon ticket or issue a rain check if the balloon is grounded due to weather. If the balloon is flying and you decide not to ride after purchasing a ticket, your money will not be refunded.

  • How will I know if weather conditions are okay for the balloon to fly?

    You can check the daily weather notice on the home page of connerprairie.org to check if the balloon is currently flying. However, since weather conditions can change with little notice, you can also check at the Ticket Desk and at the Balloon Kiosk once you are on-site and ready to ride the balloon.

Your Ticket to Fly

Enjoy this unique experience that will carry you 350 feet above the Prairie!

In addition to a paid general admission to Conner Prairie, special tickets are required to ride the 1859 Balloon Voyage:

  • Members: $12
  • Non-Members: $15
  • Guests in Groups of 15+: $ 10
  • Symphony on the Prairie Balloon Voyages are $17 per member and $20 per non-member
 

To pre-register for a group balloon voyage or a private balloon flight, call Guest Services at (317) 776-6000.

 

Balloon voyages are weather dependent.

Up, Up and Away

1859 Balloon Voyage Fun Facts

Welcome to our 1859 Balloon Voyage, and your chance to take flight! The exhibit surrounding the balloon is an immersive experience with interactive activities, fun photo backdrops and realistic town square stores.

  • A crowd of 20,000 people gathered in Lafayette, Indiana, in 1859 to watch the launch of the 'Jupiter.' It was designed and piloted by inventor John Wise and marked the first successful airmail delivery in the U.S.
  • John Wise used coal gas to lift his balloon. Coal gas was also commonly used as a source of energy for illuminating lamps in the 19th century.
  • Conner Prairie’s balloon holds enough helium to lift 211,880 party balloons!
  • Passengers in the balloon float approximately 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 ride into historical context.
  • The balloon is 105 feet tall—the height of an eight story building.
  • The balloon is 73 feet wide—the length of Conner Prairie’s covered bridge.
  • Our balloon is environmentally safe, non-polluting, and almost completely silent.