Did the floating house from Pixar‘s animated film Up inspire you to fly to South America? This weekend, somewhere east of Los Angeles, a house tied to 300 helium-filled balloons flew 10 stories in the air. Each of the 8′ weather balloons contained an entire container of helium. Inspired by Up, a crew from National Geographic Channel‘s new show How Hard Can it Be? filmed the house reaching an altitude of 10,000 feet. The 16′ x 16′ house remained airborne for an hour, presumably not weighed down by an old man, a Wilderness Explorer, or a talking dog.
Navy Pier, Chicago‘s biggest tourist trap, is offering visitors a new way to see the city. If riding the elevator to the top of the Sears Willis Tower or relaxing as a giant Ferris wheel slowly inches you skyward doesn’t satisfy your thirst for getting airborne, maybe this one will. A 120,000 cubic-foot helium balloon, called the AeroBalloon, promises to float you 350 feet above the ground.
The balloon’s gondola, which has a hole in the center through which passengers view the ground, can carry up to 18 people, which it will hold aloft for a ride of 8-10 minutes before returning to Earth. Kids must be at least 5 years old to ride and those under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The rides are offered from 8am to 10pm Monday through Thursday and from 8am to midnight Friday to Sunday. The attraction will shut down for the season on October 31.
Tickets cost a hefty $25 for adults ($15 for kids 12 and under). $25 for 10 minutes? No thanks. I’ll take my view with a side of cocktail – at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center – where I can pay around $15 and linger as long as I want.