New tethered balloon rides at Pigeon Forge attraction

New tethered balloon rides at Pigeon Forge attraction

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Wonders of Flight is a helium-filled, tethered balloon that's 72 feet in diameter. Wonders of Flight is a helium-filled, tethered balloon that's 72 feet in diameter.
Views extend out nearly 100 miles. Views extend out nearly 100 miles.
"It is the best view I've ever seen in all the balloon's I've flown in," said Todd Jolley, of Aerophile. "It is the best view I've ever seen in all the balloon's I've flown in," said Todd Jolley, of Aerophile.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - One day before it opens to the public, 6 News got a sneak peek at a new tethered balloon ride in Pigeon Forge.

The Wonders of Flight ride at WonderWorks celebrates its grand opening Friday.

It's a helium-filled, tethered balloon, made by Aerophile, that's 72 feet in diameter. It has a gondola attached so people can get a lift.

Up to 30 guests at a time can take flight, going up to 400 feet into the air to get a whole new perspective on the Great Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge.

The balloon ride is situated on a platform directly behind WonderWorks.

The balloon's designer says the 360-degree view of the Smokies can't be beat. "This is probably one of the best we did so far because nowhere else have we had such beauty of nature around us," says Aerophile President Jerome Giacomoni.

Views extend out nearly 100 miles, giving riders a panoramic look of East Tennessee.

"You see all these trees, all this green, all these mountains. It's like you're in a cocoon. It's absolutely gorgeous," Giacomoni said.

WonderWorks management says they're excited to offer the new attraction, one of only two of its kind in the Southeast.

"They can't get it anywhere else. It's going to be a totally different view of the area," said WonderWorks General Manager Ed Shaffer.

Guests can take advantage of daytime or evening flights. "It is the best view I've ever seen in all the balloon's I've flown in," said Todd Jolley, of Aerophile. "It's a whole different vantage point of view. It's like being on a flying carpet."

The balloon is environmentally friendly and totally silent. It's permanently filled with helium, brought up and down by a wench on the ground.

Shaffer says everyone who's tested the ride the last few days can't seem to get enough of it.

"A lot of people are really scared when they're waiting to get on, and by the time they get back down they're ready to go back up again," he said.

For Friday's grand opening, tickets are discounted to $9.99 for everyone.

Regular tickets cost $15.99 for adults and $9.99 for children.

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