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The New 6abc ZooBalloon


The NEW 6abc Zooballoon!

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's the Channel 6 Zooballoon! Today, the Philadelphia Zoo earned its stripes and unveiled the balloon's brand new look marking a new era of the Channel 6 Zooballoon at America's first zoo. The surprise, bold and fun new "Big Cat" look of the Channel 6 Zooballoon is part of the countdown activities for the Zoo's 150-year anniversary taking place March 21, 2009. Taking the inaugural ride of the new Channel 6 Zooballoon was Per Lindstrand, whose company not only created the balloon for the Philadelphia Zoo but is also an aeronautical engineer, pilot and adventurer who has lived in Oswestry, England, since 1978. He is particularly known for his series of record-breaking trans-oceanic hot air balloon flights and, later, attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the Earth - all with British entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. In addition to Mr. Lindstrand, other riders included Keith Goffin, HiFlyer manager and supervisor, Bernie Prazenica, President and General Manager of WPVI-TV and Vikram Dewan, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo.

The 6abc Zooballoon Experience

Zoo visitors who climb aboard the Channel 6 Zooballoon embark on a soaring-safari high above the treetops of the Zoo overlooking the Zoo's 42-acres of lions, tigers and bears (and so much more - oh my!). The Channel 6 Zooballoon climbs to heights of 400 feet (weather permitting) and allows guests to enjoy spectacular views of Fairmount Park and the ever-growing Philadelphia skyline both daytime and evening flights. The Channel 6 Zooballoon is the region's lone passenger carrying helium balloon with voyages lasting approximately 10 minutes, features access for the physically-challenged (standard-size, non-powered, wheelchairs can fit inside the gondola) and all riders under 9 years of age must ride with an adult.

Balloon History in Philadelphia

In 1793, more than two hundred years before the launch of the Channel 6 Zooballoon, the first North American passenger balloon flight occurred in Philadelphia. The pilot Jean-Pierre Blanchard launched his balloon from the Walnut Street prison yard and landed 46 minutes later near Woodbury, NJ. President George Washington was present to witness the launch.



Balloon Fun Facts:

Over 55,000 annual riders

Approximately 220,000 cubic feet of helium fills the balloon (enough to hold slightly over 200,000 basketballs)

VIDEO: Inaugural Flight of the New 6abc Zooballoon
LINK: Philadelphia Zoo Online