Up, up and away at Navy Pier

September 2, 2009 (CHICAGO) The newest attraction at Chicago's Navy Pier is a helium balloon ride that takes passengers up 350-feet. It's tethered to the ground below.

"I wanted to go for it. You only live once, try it," said Lisa Bautista, rode the Aeroballoon.

Navy Pier is the number one tourist destination in the Midwest. This new addition, called the Navy Pier Aeroballoon, is now open for business. Many people waited in line to get a chance to be one of the first to go 35 stories up.

"I saw it in the sky yesterday and I had to check it out. I made reservations on the phone and tried to make reservations for my birthday," said Bill Linden, rider.

"Right now we're at about 300 feet, heading to the gondola level. Top of the balloon will be 480 feet. Right now, my job here is really just to monitor the helium pressure in the blimp, which is the balloon. And also to monitor the load cell, which will tell us how many passengers we can take on right now," said Doug Hase, president, Aeroballoon.

The basket fits about 18 people. And even those who have a fear of heights said it was worth it.

"I was scared at first, but when I was up there, it was definitely fun," said Helga Angel, rode the Aeroballoon

"Perfect weather. Just awesome. So beautiful up there," said Bambi Buiser, rode the Aeroballoon. "Beautiful. Beautiful. You gotta experience it. Now he's talking about going to Sears Tower to the ledge. I said, 'No.' This is enough for one day," said Bautista.

The ride is about 10 minutes and costs $25 for adults. Children under 12 years of age, seniors and veterans ride for $15.

Balloon rides are available until October 31, 2009.

Reservations can be made for morning flights from 8 to 10 by calling (312) 224-8827. Other flights are first come, first serve. For more information, please visit www.navypier.com/things2do/rides_attract/aeroballoon.html

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