Boosters of Albuquerque’s hot-air balloon scene—which has been flourishing since the first rally in 1972—include locals Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, and Maxie Anderson, who in 1978 made the first Atlantic crossing by balloon in the Double Eagle II helium craft.
bruzzo and Anderson then also crossed the Pacific and set a long-distance record (5,678 miles) in the Double Eagle V.
These pioneers, and many others, are honored at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum (505/768-6020, www.balloonmuseum.com , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $4, $3 for New Mexico residents, free Sun. morning), in Balloon Fiesta Park just off East Alameda Avenue.
The displays are a great mix of historical background, interactive physics lessons and games, and inspiring footage of record-setting balloon ventures. As long as you don’t dwell too long on the zeppelin exhibit, complete with salt-and-pepper cellars from the Hindenburg you’ll definitely come away inspired by the grace of balloons and wanting to take a ride in one yourself.