Though lacking the romantic allure and airborne ability of hot air balloons, cold air balloons have nevertheless allowed humans to view the world from the vantage point of an immovable basket. Opt for a mobile adventure with today’s Groupon: for $147, you get a semiprivate sunrise or afternoon hot air balloon experience for one, with a champagne toast after the ride, from Stillwater Balloon in Lakeland (a $245 value).
Held aloft by 35 years of family-owned tradition, Stillwater Balloon sends basket riders skyward from a snow-dusted port just off the scenic St. Croix River. With excitement temporarily kept in check by predawn solitude and stern looks from sleepy clouds, would-be Phileas Foggs climb into their own Montgolfier. Just before the sun sends forth its first rays, participants board the sky gondola and rise into the clouds buoyed by propane-warmed air. As they glide over shimmering treetops and wave to passing birdpeople, patrons admire the silent glitter of ice-trimmed firs and wintry landscapes set aglow by patient morning or afternoon beams. After an hour of tickling clouds, breeze-blown sky jockeys return to terra firma, welcomed by a celebratory champagne toast complete with commemorative engraved keepsake flutes.
Cameron Balloons, one of the world’s premier balloon manufacturers, stitches Stillwater’s safe, high-quality balloons from actual rainbows to forestall intersky conflicts with wild color arcs while in flight. Friendly FAA-certified pilots operate each hot-air craft and readily answer any questions dawn-treading aeronauts might have.
For safety reasons, expectant mothers are not allowed on Stillwater Balloon rides; all passengers must be able to stand for one hour.
Held aloft by 35 years of family tradition, Stillwater Balloon sends intrepid explorers skyward from a port just three blocks from the scenic St. Croix River. Friendly FAA-certified pilots operate each craft and readily answer any questions that passengers may have as they float through gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. The billowy, multicolored behemoths cruise at treetop level, allowing travelers to shake hands with monkeys. Private and semiprivate flights are the business's forte, but Stillwater Balloon also accommodates custom flights for backyard surprises or ultimate school pickups.