The Duke City's best known event is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Held the first week of October, the event draws more than 500 hot-air balloons and hundreds of thousands of spectators who watch the rainbow dewdrops take to the sky.
But Albuquerque has a far deeper connection to ballooning than this once-a-year event. It's a year-round destination for the sport, and top pilots such as Ben Abruzzo, who was among the team who successfully crossed the Pacific in a balloon in 1981.
This museum details the history of ballooning—from its start several hundred years ago—to today. Prime artifacts include the Double Eagle II and V, crafts that crossed the Atlantic and Pacific respectively. Kids will enjoy balloon flight simulator—I must confess, I did too!
Plus, during the fiesta, the museum offers beautiful views of Balloon Fiesta Park, and sells tickets to its Diamond Club (a VIP viewing experience complete with a buffet breakfast.)