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Z-Balloon Adventures
Iowa's #1 Balloon Ride Company since 1989!

Z Balloon AdventuresDes Moines and Iowa's Balloon Ride Company!

Z-Balloon Adventures

Hot air ballooning was man's earliest form of flight.  Ballooning has been in existence for more than two hundred years, starting in 1783.

Our company, Z-Balloon Adventures, has been providing safe, enjoyable hot air balloon rides for more than 19 years. Our Chief Commercial Pilot, Dan Campbell has been involved in ballooning since 1972!

Following the traditions of the early aeronauts, we will embark on a journey filled with moments of excitement and serenity alike. As our guests of honor, your flight is guaranteed to be memorable and breathtaking!

Who are we?

Z-Balloon Adventures is the largest and most experienced balloon company in Iowa, centrally located in Des Moines Iowa and flying both Polk and Warren County (Home of the National Balloon Classic). We provide champagne hot air balloon rides, corporate hot air balloon advertising, New National Ballooning LTD. hot air balloon sales, hot air balloon flight instruction , Cold Air Rooftop Advertising Balloons , Aerial Advertising Blimps.  Plus we have the ability to take a loved ones cremains or ashes aloft over their favorite place to be scattered by the family members or by us. We can also provide weddings and balloon weddings.

REMAX David Barker Flight
Doing a Splash and Dash with the RE/MAX Balloon just south of Des Moines Iowa.  We are being followed by David Barker from France.

Where do we fly?

We have different flight areas, depending on which way the wind blows. We have to setup our flight path so that we have available landing sights since our steering is limited to flowing with the winds. We schedule and fly hot air balloon rides year-round in each area.

In Des Moines, we fly over the city with our commercial advertising balloons.  For the most part, our ride balloons are primarily done on the south side of Des Moines and the Indianola Iowa area.  This is to allow us ample places to land.  Landowners tend to get a little upset if you land in their crops! Can you blame them?  (NO, we don't land in crops!)

Our flights often take us over the beautiful Polk and Warren county countryside.  Close enough to see the city, yet out in the country!  We will be floating along gently, with just us and nature and your friends! Beautiful!

In Indianola, we launch our hot air balloons primarily just a few minutes south of town to just north of Indianola.

Call us the day of your flight between 12:15PM and 1PM for driving directions to our launch site of the day. To schedule a flight in any of our areas, call us at 515-265-2402.

Special Events & Group Flights

For occasions such as company picnics, workshops and other functions, we can can easily handle parties of people using a tethered hot air balloon.  Or we can do multiple balloons and do larger parties. Large groups will be divided into groups of 2 to 6 passengers per balloon. Group rates apply for ten or more passengers booked at one time. Call for pricing.

Amazing, unique and extraordinary Dawn Patrol Packages are available for a premium. Check out our one-of-a-kind ballooning expeditions close to home. We are the only hot air balloon company in the Midwest that offers balloon flights in the dark!

Muscatine Iowa Fall Balloon Ride with RE/MAX REMAX
Autumn Foliage Sunset Flight over Muscatine, Iowa

When can we fly?

We fly hot air balloons year-round, seven days a week. Weekends always tend to fill up first, so if you plan on a weekend flight, be sure to schedule in advance to guarantee best date availability. However, we can often schedule your flight with a day's notice (sometimes less!).

In the autumn, the leaves' spectacular color changes are a show not to be missed! The fall is one of our busiest times of the year for just that reason (especially fall weekends). Book early in the season to ensure your date is available.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend booking your preferred balloon flight date in advance to be certain it will be available. However, last-minute bookings are always possible - just give us a call to find out if we have immediate availability.

As always, all hot air balloon flights are weather permitting and at the discretion of the pilot-in-command. We have a 100% Safety Record and we work hard to maintain our record!

When do our balloon flights depart?

We only launch twice a day - at sunrise and 2 hours before sunset. These times are when the winds are the calmest to allow for a most enjoyable flight. During the middle of the day, it's usually too unstable to fly due to thermal activity and wind gusts. As an added bonus, sunrise & sunset are the most breathtaking times of day for balloon photography. The vivid light and rich color of the low sun on the horizon allows for many fantastic photo opportunities.

For morning flights, we will meet at the launch site approximately 30 minutes before sunrise. In the afternoons, we generally meet 2 1/2 hours before sunset. Be sure to call at the designated time that is included in your Confirmation Letter and we will inform you of the meeting time and launch site when you call.

Balloon Ride Passengers Morning Balloon Flight in Des Moines Iowa
Passengers enjoying their flight over Downtown Des Moines Iowa!

How High/Fast/Far will we fly?

Since balloons only travel as fast as the wind is blowing, we won't go much faster than 8 miles per hour near the ground. If the winds low to the ground are any quicker than that, takeoffs and landings become a bit tricky. In those cases, we simply don't fly. There's an old and wise saying we use in the ballooning circle - "It's better to be on the ground wishing we were up there, than to be in the air wishing we were down here!"

Most of our hot air balloon flights last over an hour, so we will cover anywhere from 1 to 10 miles in that time. You'll traverse lots of countryside and witness diverse changes in scenery on a typical balloon ride in Iowa.  We have never had any two rides alike!  Something we are quite proud of!

As to how high we'll be soaring, we can fly anywhere from treetop level to many thousands of feet up! Down low among the trees is arguably the most enjoyable part of any flight. You'll be able to pick leaves from the tops of trees and converse with earthbound folks as we gently float along.

We also like to climb up high to give passengers an expansive view of Central Iowa from a thousand feet up. On a clear day as seen from a hot air balloon, we can usually see about 30 miles!

Balloon Ride Morning Foggy Balloon Flight in Des Moines Iowa
Floating over the Des Moines River on a recent morning flight.

I'm afraid of heights! What should I expect?

Acrophobia: The fear of heights. I'll venture to guess perhaps 80% or more of all our passengers have some degree of apprehension about leaving the ground.

For those passengers who are adventurous enough to conquer their own fears and take to the air, 99.9% of them get back on the ground and vow to come back and do it again with us!

There's a simple explanation for this seemingly remarkable phenomenon:

When looking straight down the side of a tall building, parking garage or similar high place, you are able to visualize your physical connection to the ground. This actual perceived height is what makes you step back from the edge, grasp that railing a little tighter, or in extreme cases, get a little sick to your stomach. Not fun!

However, in a hot air balloon basket, there is no visible connection to the ground. This detachment from the earth essentially removes any uneasy sensations of height. Furthermore, there is no relative altitude in a balloon - whether two feet above the treetops or two thousand feet up, it all feels the the same. But the view is much better from up high!

We're sure you'll have no worries once you're up there. If you can get past your initial concern about leaving the ground, you'll be just fine!

What about motion sickness?

Turbulence is unheard of, as we are not fighting the wind like an airplane has to. Since the hot air balloon floats along with the wind, there's no movement to worry about.

While airborne, the basket is perfectly balanced underneath the balloon and there is no rocking sensation. The entire flight is very smooth, and changes in altitude are gradual and hardly noticeable. Passengers who suffer from even the most severe cases of motion sickness will not feel any effects from a balloon ride.

Who can fly?

Morning River Fog from RE/MAX REMAX Balloon over Sec Taylor downtown Des Moines DSM
A beautiful shot of the Des Moines River for a fly out with the RE/MAX Balloon for "Race For The Cure".

Everybody is welcome to fly with us! We've flown passengers from age 6 months to 96 years old. However, there are a few requirements we need to stand by to make the ride pleasant and enjoyable for all.

You should be in good physical shape with no recent surgeries, broken bones or other medical issues which may affect your ability to take part in a physical activity. You'll also need to be able to stand for the duration of the balloon flight (at least one hour). It is important that we be informed of all potential medical/physical problems at the time of flight reservation. In most cases there is no reason for us not to fly a passenger, but we do need to be aware. The safety of our friends and passengers is paramount.

The weather is the most influential factor on any hot air balloon flight, and the winds will determine our landing conditions. Despite all the advances in modern forecasting technology and up-to-the-minute aviation weather resources we have at our command, weather is still ultimately unpredictable in flight. Keeping that in mind, there is always the possibility of an occasional windy, bumpy landing. In this case, the basket may make a firm touchdown, tip over in the direction of travel, and drag along the ground until the balloon deflates and we come to a final stop.

For many people, this is an exciting addition to an already adventurous flight! However, for others, a hard landing may not be quite what they expected at the end of a graceful balloon ride. We like to educate and prepare all our passengers that every flight has the potential to end this way. Although we will never launch when conditions are expected to result in such an exciting landing, there's always the possibility we might have a little more fun than we anticipated. Our professional pilot is skilled and prepared to handle any possible situation in the air.

Ballooning is one of the safest forms of aviation, but it still has inherent dangers like all other outdoor recreational activities. Please be aware of your physical limitations when scheduling a balloon ride, as it is important to understand all the possible risks involved.

Children are always welcomed, however they should be at least 42 inches tall to be able to see over the basket edge. We don't often recommend children under six years of age, mainly because they'll have to stand still for an hour. Most kids that young will get fidgety and restless after a few minutes of standing in the same place. As well, many youngsters are afraid of the loud noise the burner makes. However, if you're sure your young child will be willing and able to behave well, we'll be glad to have them join us on the balloon flight.

We regret that we cannot take up those who are far along in pregnancy. If you wait a few years and take your child up when they're old enough to appreciate it, it'll be a much more enjoyable experience for the both of you.

Per FAA regulations, intoxicated passengers cannot be flown.

What should I wear and bring?

There's no noticeable temperature difference at the altitudes we normally fly, so you should dress for an outdoor activity according to the season and temperature of that day. It's probably best to wear clothes that you aren't afraid to get wet or dirty, although we certainly won't aim to do such things!  The temperature above is usually the same as on the ground.  So no need for a parka in the summer.  :)

Waterproof shoes or boots are a good idea in the mornings, as it's not uncommon for the ground to be very wet with dew. Shorts and skirts may not be suitable for some of our landing spots, so they are discouraged for safety reasons. Hiking boots, sneakers, or a comfortable flat shoe are the preferred footwear. Heeled shoes should be avoided at all costs.

Feel free to bring along your camera. Bring twice as much film as you think you'll need, and then some! We recommend disposable cameras, in case you forget yours, we usually carry a few in the chase vehicle. You'll be able to capture beautiful pictures aloft to remember your flight by and to show friends your exciting adventure. We cannot be responsible for personal property.

Downtown Des Moines Balloon Ride in Iowa with the REMAX balloon RE/MAX
A breathtaking sunrise hot air balloon flight. Hot air balloon rides are offered at sunrise or two hours before sunset.

Sign me up!

Please call us at (515) 265-2402 for balloon rides in Des Moines or Indianola, Iowa.

We'll be happy to arrange your reservations and answer any questions you might have. Alternatively, continue to the reservations page below to submit your information. We will try to take care of you as soon as possible.

Please be aware that due to the high volume of online reservation requests we receive daily, your best bet is to call us directly at (515) 265-2402 to reserve your desired flight date, especially on short notice.

Hot air balloon ride Gift Certificates are always available and make wonderful gifts for friends, family and loved ones. Put someone on cloud nine by giving the gift of flight! Give us a call for gift certificate ordering.

Continue to this page for our premium Adventure Flight hot air balloon expeditions.

Please call for an immediate response!

We look forward to sharing a truly wonderful adventure with you.

Call us: (515) 265-2402
Anywhere in Iowa

Send us an email

Is there such thing as a free balloon ride?
Sure! Sign up right now or call if you'd like to help us out in exchange for balloon rides. We'd be delighted to have you come out and crew for us the next time we go out for a flight. The more you help out, the more you'll get to fly.

To get involved today, click here

All Photos are the exclusive property of Z-Balloon Adventures unless stated otherwise.

No pictures may be used without our express written permission.  Copyright 2008

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Hot Air Ballooning

Balloon Ride baloon ballon Des Moines Iowa Cedar Rapids Indianola Omaha Nebraska Missouri Illinois Minnesota Iowa City Ames Ottumwa Oskaloosa RE/MAX Remax REMAX Dan Campbell BFA Balloonist Pilot FAA National Balloon Classic BOI Balloons Over Iowa Bartholomew Z-Balloon Adventures Balloon Ride Baloon ballon balon ryde Piccard picard Soaring Adventures Dan Campbell Danny Campell campbel Iowa Ames Des Moines Cedar Rapids Council Bluffs Omaha IA Nebraska Minnesota Indianola National Balloon Classic On The Fly balloons Over Iowa BOI onthefly250@yahoo.com Galena Illinois Rob rtholomew Phil Gray Midwest Balloon Services Clemmons BFA Balloon Federation of America 1800skyrides Z Balloon Adventures


Call us at 515-265-2402


We reserve the right to refuse any balloon rides for the safety of our other passengers as well as the people on the ground as well as the pilot and flight crew.
All pictures on this website are the exclusive property of Z-Balloon Adventures®  and may not be used without prior written permission.