Up, Up and Away at Albuquerque’s International Balloon Museum

 
 

Kristy Alpert
Published December 01, 2015

When guests arrive at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, they do so with so much more than expectations of fantastic food, sprawling spaces and outstanding events; they arrive ready to be a part of the ride. Set in the hot-air-ballooning capital of the world, this Albuquerque icon opened in 2005 as the home for one of the most significant collections of ballooning paraphernalia, memorabilia and artwork in the world.

The museum was named after Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo, two of the three aviators who successfully piloted the first manned hot-air balloon across the Atlantic Ocean in 1978, and houses memorabilia dating back to the first balloon flight in 1783. Although the first hot-air-balloon flight took off in Annonay, France, Albuquerque has long garnered a reputation as the hot-air hub of the world as the host of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot-air-ballooning event.

The museum sits on the southern edge of the fairgrounds for the annual fiesta but welcomes visitors year-round to come celebrate the history, magic and wonder of these soaring swells of hot air. From multimedia technology displays that explain the science of flight to artifacts and engaging stories behind the barnstormers that pioneered the industry, the museum has something to pique any guest’s interest.

But there’s more to do at the museum than just walk beneath the floating exhibits; with so much happening in the air of this museum, the ground below sets a great stage for meetings and events.

“You can meet, marry and celebrate at the balloon museum,” said operations and events manager Linda Hubley. “Our stunning spaces build wonderful memories for all involved and offer the perfect place to entertain your group, whether it is a wedding, corporate meeting, night-out dinner and tour, or a lively party.”

With soaring views of the high-altitude-balloon festival grounds and a catering team that specializes in elevated gastronomy, events often reach new heights at this museum.

Meeting Spaces

The Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum offers spaces both outdoors and in to meet the needs of any small-group gathering. The museum boasts two large event rooms in the Pugash Hall at 3,350 square feet and the Sky Lounge at 3,342 square feet. Meeting and breakout rooms are also available; the museum’s smaller spaces, the Conference Room and the West Meeting Room, each hold up to 45 people. The outdoor spaces, which hold up to 8,000 people, are available to be rented out, and the museum even rents out the 683-square-foot catering room next to Pugash Hall to interested groups.

Culinary

Dining at the Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum offers groups the chance to experience exquisite epicurism. The museum works with six caterers that offer groups sensations from the flavors of New Mexico such as green chili cheeseburgers and red chili cheese enchiladas to haute cuisine such as New York strip steaks and roasted lavender chicken. Favorites among guests have included the mobile pizza oven that turns out wood-fired pies with homemade mozzarella, and the lavish brunch menus that include crab and asparagus quiche and mini brioche with cheddar cheese and chutney. Alcohol is available through The Cooperage.

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