Up, up and away: Experience a floating balcony aboard WonderWorks’ Wonders of Flight
By Erin Freeman | Senior Account Executive, Ackermann PR
Guests to the Great Smoky Mountains are now able to view the area in a completely new way — from up to 400 feet in the air — all while letting their imaginations soar to exciting heights with Wonders of Flight, WonderWorks Pigeon Forge’s newest attraction.
After being delayed from opening for almost three months due to a national helium shortage, this unique attraction opened to the public last week, just in time for the beginning of the fall season.
Different from any other attraction in the region, guests board a gondola beneath the giant blue and green helium-filled balloon located on a landing platform situated behind WonderWorks. The 72-foot diameter balloon holds up to 30 guests in the gondola at one time.
One of only two attractions of its kind in the Southeast, the Wonders of Flight balloon, the Aero30NG, was manufactured in France by Aerophile, the world’s leader in tethered gas balloons. The Southeast’s other tethered balloon is located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., while others are featured in some of the world’s biggest amusement parks including China’s Oct East Amusement Park and France’s Disneyland or in world-famous cities such as Berlin, Istanbul and Paris.
According to Jérôme Giacomoni, Aerophile president, the open air gondola allows guests to experience the sensation of being on a flying balcony. “The ascents, by day or night, provide guests with an unmatched, 360-degree panoramic view of the Smoky Mountains,” Giacomoni said. “In one single gaze, the entire breathtaking view can be seen from exceptional heights including a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the fall leaves.”
Giacomoni explains that the Wonders of Flight balloon is environmentally friendly and totally silent thanks to its permanently inflated helium envelope and a hydro-electric winch. “The system consumes no more energy than an elevator and is completely noiseless,” says Giacomoni.
According to Ed Shaffer, general manager of WonderWorks, Wonders of Flight provides guests with a unique and affordable experience at a rate of $15.99 (plus tax) for adults and $9.99 (plus tax) for children ages 12 and under. Children 36-inches and under are admitted for free.
The 10-minute flight experience is offered daily, with daytime and evening hours, weather permitting.
Stimulate the mind
Additionally, Wonders of Flight is an ideal attraction for groups, weddings and adventurers of all ages. “Especially those couples looking for an intimate and truly one-of-a-kind wedding should consider Wonders of Flight as it creates a romantic, storybook setting overlooking the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains,” Shaffer said.
Wonders of Flight is the latest addition to the WonderWorks attraction, known as an “amusement park for the mind,” combining education and entertainment in more than 100 hands-on exhibits aimed at sparking the imagination and stimulating the mind. Visitors to the attraction can enjoy a variety of experiences including being blown by 65-mile per hour hurricane-force winds, maneuvering the controls of a NASA spacecraft, lying on a bed of 3,500 nails, piloting a fighter jet, designing and riding a 360-degree virtual roller coaster, climbing a 50-foot tall ropes challenge course, competing in a game of lazer tag and much more.