I rode 350 feet in the air with a couple Conner Prairie staffers, Kimberly and Dan, and the balloon’s pilot, BJ Sullivan. It was a picture perfect day, and a great time to be up in a balloon. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and there was absolutely no wind.
During my last conversation with BJ, when I had the chance to watch them start preparing for the balloon, he told me about how people with a fear of heights tend to lose that fear when they’re on a balloon.
Since I tend to get a little nervous when I’m on tall buildings, I decided I’d give it a whirl. BJ said that when people are in a balloon, they don’t experience the same fear because they’re floating, because they don’t have the same sense of proportion that they do when they’re on top of a building.
However, my time in the balloon was an amazing time, and I didn’t get nervous, even when I looked at the ground. Dan and Elizabeth pointed out some of Conner Prairie’s exhibits, showed me how far their grounds extended, and I could even see White River snaking its way through Hamilton County. I looked for my neighborhood so I could make the typical, “Hey, I can see my house from here joke,” but I could barely spot the neighborhood. Maybe if we had gone up another 350 feet.
I did get to see my car in the parking lot, and geek that I am, I even took a couple of pictures of it.
While we were up there, we spotted a red-tailed hawk that had been making his home in the area, as well as a bald eagle that had been spotted for the last couple of days around Conner Prairie. He didn’t come close enough for me to take a picture, but I did manage to snap a couple of far-off pics of the hawk. This would be a great place for bird watching, if you’re into soaring birds of prey.
The view was spectacular, and I tried to see as much as I could before it was time to come down again. But 10 minutes went by too quickly, and BJ said, “Hold on, you’re going to feel a little bump,” before he started up the winch that brought us smoothly back to earth.
Conner Prairie has been hard at work turning the Clowes Commons into a recreation of the city of Lafayette, circa 1859. Visitors will be able to see storefronts from the city, learn about the benefits of air travel, and even how people viewed air transportation 150 years ago.
The cost of a voyage is $12 per person for members and $15 for non-members. But — and this is great news! — you can get a $5 off coupon for up to six people at any BP am/pm gas station from Indianapolis to Fort Wayne. This brings the price down to $7 for members, $10 for non-members. You can find coupon locations at the Conner Prairie website. You can also purchase tickets in advance beginning May 19, online, by phone, or at the Conner Prairie Guest Services desk.