National Balloon Museum in Indianola

Place/Event: National Balloon Museum and U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame
Location: 1601 N Jefferson Way, Indianola, IA 50125
Cost: (School Tour) ages 5-18 $1, adults $5 – bus driver and leader free – See website for general admission fees.
Grade/age range: K-12
Group size: large or small (they will split large groups)
Hands-on: Limited
Stroller friendly: Yes
Bathrooms: Yes
Food: No

The National Balloon Museum is staffed by very knowledgeable volunteers who are experienced in ballooning and have flown hot air balloons. The museum offers the history of ballooning and has over two dozen baskets on display.  Our younger students had fun watching a film about a clown who flies in a hot air balloons and answering quiz questions at the end of the film.

There is a smaller children’s learning center with a few games, books, puzzles and a basket they can stand or play in. The library is across the children’s area and is filled with books, resources and information on ballooning and its history. This would be an idea for keeping little ones busy if an older student was researching in the library.

National Balloon Museum and Ballooning Hall of Fame Indianola

children’s learning area

***If you have a budding pilot – sign them up for hot air balloon lessons. Students as young as 14 years old can apply for a learners permit. At 16 years old they can have their own pilot license and a commercial license at 18 years old.

National Balloon Museum and Ballooning Hall of Fame Indianola

Kids in the basket

Visiting the museum sparked my kid’s interest – so we came home and tried out a few science experiments. PBS Kids had a great little video that helped my kids remember what they learned on the field trip. I found this neat Science Experiment from

Hot Air Balloon bowls of water

First we put a balloon over a plastic bottle and had two bowls – one ice-cold and one hot tap water

goes up in hot water

Next we put the balloon in the hot water

Up with Hot water

The balloon filled with hot air and expanded within a couple of minutes

down with cold water

When we put the bottle in cold water, the balloon deflated as the cold air contracted

The kids were AMAZED and we did this over and over again. We even just laid the bottle over the hot bowl or cold bowl and watched the change…then we decided to try some other ideas out…

what if we poke a hole

we poked a tiny hole in the top with a sewing needle – just like a Hot Air Balloon lets a small amount of air out of the top when you pull the cord to control if the balloon goes up or down.

lets make a bigger hole

well nothing happened with the bottle in hot water with the small hole – so we made a Bigger hole…

hole got too big

…little Too Big…

tried taping the balloon

…we tried to tape the hole so we could keep experimenting…but our balloon was ruined. It was a FUN experiment.

***NOW we are excited and want to go to the The National Balloon Classic this summer! Stay tuned for an update! and more photos!



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