Albuquerque, NM—Want to become a global traveler, but don’t want to wait long months for your passport? How about circling the globe in a balloon at the Anderson-Abruzzi Albuquerque International Balloon Museum beginning Wednesday, July 4th?

The Balloon Museum kicks off “Around the World in 80 Days” with a reenactment of Albuquerque’s very first balloon flight by Park Van Tassel in 1882. First, at 1:00 p.m. Mo Palmer will offer a presentation on “1880’s Albuquerque.” Actors in period costumes, with props like an 1800 Albuquerque street car and gondola, will reenact the Van Tassel flight in two brief performances at 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. Then at 3:00 p.m., the Duke City Swampcoolers take the stage with a live musical performance. Throughout the day, the costumed actors will be doing “roving interpretation” of the period as they wander throughout the museum in character and engage with visitors. The museum will be open extended hours from 10:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. that day to kick off this fun and exciting program. In keeping with the festivities, Museum admission will also be free to the public from 3:00 p.m. until closing.

After “flying” over New Mexico on July 4th, the “Around the World in 80 Days” flights will visit a host of countries, exploring the areas’ cultures and connections to ballooning. Learning activities such as crafts, food sampling, entertainment, guest speakers, demonstrations and animal visitors from exotic regions will make attendees feel like they’ve truly visited each destination. Participants receive a “Passport” with a stamp for each regional program they attend, and can visit the “Around the World in 80 Days” special exhibit in The Balloon School to learn more about Jules Verne and his adventure stories, in which ballooning plays an important part. This special exhibit explores the geographic areas listed in Verne’s books and includes related artifacts and graphics from the museum’s vast collection.

So instead of waiting, and waiting, and waiting for your U.S. Passport, join the crowds traveling around the world with their very own “Balloon Museum Passport” while you learn more about our great big, but really very small, world. After the Wednesday, July 4th launch, the Saturday programs that are free with admission to the Museum begin at 10:00 a.m. and include:

July 4th           US – New Mexico   
July 7th           South America                     
July 14th         New Zealand                       
July 21st         Africa                        
July 28th         Italy                           
August 4th      France
August 11th    Germany
August 18th    Arctic (Iceland/Norway)
August 25th    Canada
September 1   US – Civil War Era

After  you’ve visited the Balloon Museum, taken part in the reenactment of Albuquerque’s very first balloon flight and learned all about ballooning in New Mexico head a short distance north to the big “Freedom Fourth” Celebration at Balloon Fiesta Park featuring Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. For more information visit or call 311.  For accessibility, call NM Voice Relay 1-800-659-8331 or 711.