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10427
New Mexico

Highlights of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Learn the history, science and art of ballooning as you experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, explore the city’s unique museums and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Rating (4.83)
Program No. 10427RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,399
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
New Mexico

Highlights of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Learn the history, science and art of ballooning as you experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, explore the city’s unique museums and Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,399
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Length
5 days
Rating (4.83)
Starts at
1,399
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Program No. 10427RJ

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Oct 6 - Oct 10, 2022
Starting at
1,399
Oct 5 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

Oct 9 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

Oct 12 - Oct 16, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 7, 2022
Starting at
1,749
Oct 6 - Oct 10, 2022
Starting at
1,749
Oct 5 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at
2,099
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

Oct 9 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
2,099
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

Oct 12 - Oct 16, 2023
Starting at
2,099
Special Offer

Enroll by March 31, 2023 to take $100 off the price shown!

At a Glance

Experience the best of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, study the history of hot-air ballooning and feel the excitement of the Balloon Ascensions during several visits to the Balloon Fiesta Park. Learn how balloons are made and the science behind flying by a local expert and pilot. Discover why Albuquerque is such a perfect place for this premier ballooning event.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to two miles over uneven grass and paved surfaces in the dark at Balloon Fiesta Park; climb a flight of stairs. Standing up to two hours on field trips. Elevations of 5,300 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Watch the pilots and their crews prepare huge and intricately constructed balloons for inflation and flight.
  • Enjoy balloons from countries around the world.
  • Learn about the history and science of ballooning first hand.

General Notes

This is a large group program; participants will be separated into smaller groups for some activities, including Field Trips, free time, and some meals. Groups will be determined by Road Scholar in advance of the program start; if you are travelling with someone with whom you would like to be grouped, please include their name(s) on your Personal Information & Preferences as far in advance as possible.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Kelli Ballengee
Kelli Ballengee has crewed for hot air balloons since 1995. She is a member of the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association and their Youth Committee. She is registrar and previous assistant director of the Rio Grande Balloon Camp for teenagers. She serves as the Secretary of the Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society and is the Balloonmeister for the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye in Belen, New Mexico. Kelli retired in 2009 after 30 years as an Air Force colonel working in occupational health and environmental protection.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tom Fisher
Tom Fisher View biography
Tom Fisher has been an FAA-certified commercial hot air balloon pilot for 22 years and can usually be seen flying in and around the state of New Mexico. He has flown in the Balloon Fiesta for the last 22 years. Tom was a latecomer to ballooning as he started ballooning at age 50. Before this adventure, he served the Indian Health Service for 35 years before retiring on June 2005. He was the director of the agency's telecommunications division.
Profile Image of Kelli Ballengee
Kelli Ballengee View biography
Kelli Ballengee has crewed for hot air balloons since 1995. She is a member of the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association and their Youth Committee. She is registrar and previous assistant director of the Rio Grande Balloon Camp for teenagers. She serves as the Secretary of the Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society and is the Balloonmeister for the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye in Belen, New Mexico. Kelli retired in 2009 after 30 years as an Air Force colonel working in occupational health and environmental protection.
Profile Image of Elizabeth Mesh
Elizabeth Mesh View biography
Elizabeth Mesh is an educator, artist and actor with a master’s and license in art therapy. She has led thousands of people at the SITE Santa Fe art museum. She has also been on over 20 film and TV sets in New Mexico. Biking, hiking, blue skies and clean air make New Mexico a place she loves to share. Elizabeth has been teaching traditional and expressive art for two decades and has been featured on the Home and Garden Network Television’s segment “That’s Clever!”
Profile Image of Vannetta Perry
Vannetta Perry View biography
Dr. Vannetta Perry is a retired educator and lifelong resident of New Mexico who is deeply rooted in the southwest. Her family homesteaded and ranched in Southwestern New Mexico and farmed in West Texas. As an educator, Dr. Perry worked in the university setting, teaching biology and directing science outreach programs. Her love for travel was sparked when she led research studies in developing countries. Since retiring, Dr. Perry has continued to share her love of travel and education as a travel director and leader.
Profile Image of Scott Aarestad
Scott Aarestad View biography
Since moving to New Mexico as a child, Scott Aarestad has developed a deep love for New Mexican culture, history, cuisine and landscapes. After living and working abroad with his wife for several years, he earned his bachelor's in international management and entrepreneurship from the University of New Mexico in 2015. He enjoys learning about history, spending time outside hiking and camping, volunteering with animals and playing board games with friends. Scott is thrilled to share the enchantment of the state with Road Scholars.
Profile Image of Sue Shoemaker
Sue Shoemaker View biography
Sue Shoemaker lives on a farm in Michigan’s “thumb.” After a long career in middle level education, she prepared for a career leading groups. Her dream became a reality in 2015, and now — 26 programs later as a Group Leader and nine programs as a participant — she is an Ambassador for Road Scholar. Sue has also worked on multiple Great Lakes study cruises as well as study cruises on the Columbia River. New Mexico has been part of numerous road trips since the 1960s.
Profile Image of John Layton
John Layton View biography
John Layton has visited 70+ countries and 48 states during more than 30 years in the travel industry. “As a career, travel is all I know and I’ve been lucky that I have never had a job I didn't love.” After many years sailing the seas as a cruise director, John is now a flight attendant for JetBlue, a travel blogger, and a group leader for Road Scholar. He has led Road Scholar programs throughout Florida, around Cuba, and on the Great Lakes.
Profile Image of William Manus
William Manus View biography
William Manus III is an LTA (lighter than air) certified hot air balloon pilot. He has been crewing for hot air balloons since 1996, and bought his own hot air balloon — named “Shadow Dancer” — in 2003. He participated in his first Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in 2004, leading him to attend the VFRS (Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society) St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye in 2019 and 2022. Manus has continued to attend multiple balloon rallies in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.
Profile Image of Diana Schroen
Diana Schroen View biography
Diana Schroen is the wife and crew chief of a pilot, Tom Fisher. Ballooning is an important part of their lives. They try to fly most weekends and usually participate in several rallies a year, but the big event of the year is Balloon Fiesta. Crew chiefs provide quality control on balloon assembly, eyes on the weather, and getting the truck to the balloon for pick-up after the flight. Pilots may be stars of the show, but they can’t fly without a supporting staff.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Spell of New Mexico
by Hillerman, Tony (Editor)
A gathering of essays that evoke the unique and mysterious appeal New Mexico has had for some of the twentieth century's best-known writers. included are selections by Mary Austin, Oliver La Farge, Conrad Richter, D.H. Lawrence, C.G. Jung, Winfield Townley Scott, John DeWitt McKee, Ernie Pyle, Harvey Fergusson, and Lawrence Clark Powell. Hillerman's preface and introduction are choice specimens of his incisive humor and his own deep love of the state.
Great Escapes: The Stories behind 50 Remarkable Journeys to Freedom
by Christianson, Scott
Media of every kind love escape stories. They lead the news, inspire books, and become Hollywood movies. Several of the 50 adventures recounted in this photographic compendium became box-office smashes, including "The Great Escape" (1963), "Papillon" (1973), and "Apollo 13" (1995).
Forgotten Albuquerque, NM: Images of America
by Bannerman, Ty
In 1706, Spanish colonists founded the Villa de Albuquerque on the banks of the Rio Grande. Three hundred years later, that once quiet farming community has grown to become Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico. Using over 200 vintage images from public archives and individual collections, author Ty Bannerman explores the city's many guises over time, from its prehistory as a thriving province of the Pueblo peoples to its post-World-War-II population boom.
Albuquerque in Our Time: 30 Voices, 300 Years
by Hughes, Debra
Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city astride a great river, celebrated its tricentennial in 2006. This book pays homage to the city with a rich medley of narratives by its most colorful residents: well-loved town characters, writers, journalists, politicians, civic and business leaders who have helped shape Albuquerque's character and guided its growth.
Ballooning: A History, 1782-1900
by Kotar, S.L. & Gessler, J.E.
This book chronicles the development of the hot air balloon and advances the endeavor from 1782 to the beginning of the 20th century.
Heaven's Window: A Journey Through Northern New Mexico
by Wallis, Michael & Parsons, Jack
Photographer Jack Parson's stunning images reveal the magical qualities of the upper Rio Grande region. this compelling spot in the Southwest, which includes Santa Fe, Taos and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, has long been a magnetic crossroads. travel with parsons to bustling Indian marketplaces, charming historic churches, ancient petroglyphs, lively fiestas, and haunting old ranchos. Award-winning storyteller, Michael Wallis explores the rich history of this remarkable region. Peeling back the layers of time, Wallis gets at the enchantment, turbulence, and mystery of this very special place and the people - native American, Hispanic, Anglo and others - who inhabit it.





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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
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