Highlights of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Discover ancient petroglyphs, explore unique museums and learn the history, science and art of ballooning as you experience the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Rating (4.85)
Program No. 10427RJ
5 days
Starts at
Special Offer
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5 days
4 nights
8 meals
2 B 3 L 3 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Introductions, Welcome Dinner
Nativo Lodge

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, to get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule and other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Transportation for program-related activities will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a plated meal or buffet with selection of entrées plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Take the rest of the evening to continue getting to know your fellow participants, relax, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day ahead.

National Hispanic Cultural Center, Old Town, Ballooning Talk
Nativo Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; walking several blocks over varied terrain in Old Town; standing at National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: At the hotel, we will begin with an expert-led presentation on New Mexico’s fascinating history. From the earliest Paleo-Indians to the Spanish conquistadors and American merchants who followed, New Mexico has been at the crossroads of history. Continue to learn about the history of the area with field trips to the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Old Town. .We will then proceed to Old Town, which has been the focal point of community life since Albuquerque was founded in 1706. With a local expert, we will take a leisurely stroll around Old Town and learn the history of the historic adobe buildings that surround the central plaza, including San Felipe de Neri Church, which dates back to 1793. The city's settlers built their homes, shops and government offices here; many of these have been converted into the restaurants, art galleries and shops that we see today.

Lunch: At a selected restaurant, enjoy plated meal featuring local cuisine with a selection of entrées, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll go to the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Dedicated to the preservation, promotion and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts and humanities, the National Hispanic Cultural Center celebrates the art and culture of Hispanic traditions through a variety of exhibits including a performance center, art museum and a library. The permanent collection features Frederico Vigil’s buon fresco, “Mundos de Mestizaje,” depicting thousands of years of Hispanic and pre-Hispanic history, and ¡Aqui Estamos!, a circulating exhibition or art from the Center’s permanent collection. We'll return to the hotel for a class on hot-air ballooning led by a local expert balloonist.

Dinner: Plated meal or buffet at the hotel.

Evening: Optional video.

Balloon Fiesta, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Nativo Lodge

Activity note: Getting on/off coach; walking up to a mile over varied terrain at Balloon Fiesta Park; standing for up to 2 hours at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.

Breakfast: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at the festival. There are a number of food booths at the Park offering everything from funnel cakes to flavorful New Mexican favorites. Coffee and donuts are also available at the Hospitality Tent.

Morning: We board our motorcoach for an early morning departure for Balloon Fiesta Park. This morning's session is scheduled to include the Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension. Due to the large number of people in attendance and the size of the Park (crowds can exceed 100,000 people, and the launch field is 78 acres, the equivalent of 54 football fields put together), it's impractical to view the events as a group; participants will be free to enjoy the launches and explore the field on their own. During Mass Ascensions all participating balloons launch in two waves as directed by "zebras," launch coordinators recognizable by their striped black-and-white shirts. At a designated time after the balloon launch, we'll meet the coach at a predetermined location and depart for return to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll depart for a field trip to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque where a local expert will lead as we learn about Pueblo history and culture. This beautiful, unique center, operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, preserves and perpetuates Pueblo culture and history. We will return to the hotel following the Cultural Center visit.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Balloon Fiesta, Balloon Museum, Petroglyphs, Balloon Glow
Nativo Lodge

Activity note: Walking over packed dirt, grass, and paved terrain up to one mile over course of the day at Balloon Fiesta Park; standing for up to 1 hour at balloon museum; walking to the Balloon Museum; walking over varied terrain with inclines at Petroglyph National Monument.

Breakfast: On your own to enjoy what you like at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Morning: We have another early morning departure for the second morning of the Balloon Fiesta. This morning's session is scheduled to include the Special Shape Rodeo. After our time at the Balloon Fiesta, we'll head to the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. The Museum showcases a large collection of balloons and related aerial artifacts tracing the history and science of hot-air and gas ballooning.

Lunch: Plated meal at a popular local restaurant; selection of entrées, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We'll ride to Petroglyph National Monument, one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America. Four to seven centuries ago, the Rio Grande's Pueblo people carved symbols and images into the boulders along the volcanic escarpment known as the West Mesa. Spanish settlers followed suit, and depictions of crosses and horses lay side-by-side with those of suns, spirals, birds, animals, and the little hump-back flute players representing the Hopi fertility deity. Return to the hotel for program closing, followed by departure for Balloon Fiesta Park.

Dinner: On your own at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Evening: The Special Shape Glowdeo™ is a special moment at dusk when tethered balloons ignite their burners and inflate without launching, glowing from within in a display of rich colors. Afterward, the AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show lights up the sky with a spectacular display that brings the evening to a perfect close. After the fireworks show, we will return to the hotel.


Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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