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 Iowa skies come alive as 100+ hot air balloons paint the sky with brilliant colors and charming special shapes. Don’t miss a moment of the excitement as skilled pilots compete every morning and every evening, while dazzling guests below. Great family fun and incredible entertainment await you at the Memorial Balloon Field. Just sit back and enjoy the beautiful countryside as you listen to live music during the evening balloon flights. Grab a bite to eat, buy a balloon ride for a one-of-a-kind view, and prepare to be awestruck as the skies come alive with a mystical glow of balloons! 


Day 1 – Home to West Des Moines, IA 

Only about an hour down the road we make our first meaningful stop. A guided tour of the Faribault Woolen Mills. A real live “Made in the USA” success story, this family-owned business was recently invited to the White House to present their products and business to the President himself. We will get to experience firsthand why Minnesota’s quality received so much attention. Lunch is on our own before we board the bus and soon exit the freeway for a side trip to Boone, Iowa. Ever been there? It’s well known for being on the Lincoln Highway (US 30), but even more well known for being the birthplace of none other than Mamie Eisenhower! We’ll make our way along Mamie Eisenhower Boulevard before turning up a side street to her very modest and humble home where she was born in 1896. We have planned a brief viewing of the home before continuing on our journey. Then we check into our hotel for the next three nights before enjoying the Manager’s “Kickback” Reception is available at the hotel. 

Included Meals: Manager’s Reception 

Hotel: Drury Inn (3 Nights) 


Day 2 – Madison County 

After a great Drury Inn hot breakfast, we are off to Madison County. We are privileged today to have our own local expert guide to tell us the history and story of this colorful place. We will visit some of the picturesque covered bridges! We won’t have time to visit them all, so our guide will choose which ones to take us to. There’s the Roseman Bridge featured in the book and movie, “The Bridges of Madison County.” The Cedar Covered Bridge is pictured on the cover of the novel. The Holliwell Bridge is the longest bridge at 122 feet and is featured in the movie. Three other bridges, Cutler- Donahoe, Hogback and Imes are famous in their own right! Maybe even more popular than the bridges, though, is the Birthplace of John Wayne. John Wayne: The mere mention of his name produces images of courage and patriotism! John began his life in Winterset in 1907, and we will visit the four room house now replete with Wayne memorabilia. Newly expanded, this is the only museum in the world dedicated to John Wayne. What fun it will be to share an included homemade lunch at First Presbyterian Church. Visiting the Iowa Quilt Museum, featuring the amazing work of Victoria Findlay Wolfe, is also on our agenda. You’ll have time to also enjoy strolling the sidewalks of Winterset town square, the home of the beautiful Madison County courthouse! We return to our hotel later in the afternoon to catch our breath. Then we make the short drive to Indianola and the opening night of the National Balloon Classic. Enjoy dinner on your own from one of the many food truck vendors. Behold – the visual exhilaration of scores of colorful hot air balloons filling the evening sky is sheer joy! Rest well tonight after an adventure-filled day. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 3 – Indianola & West Des Moines 

For our adventuresome early risers, roll out of bed very early, board the coach and head to the Memorial Balloon Field in Indianola. Prepare to be awestruck as dark skies come alive with a mystical glow as balloons ascend the skies. Bring your flashlight, it’s still dark! Watch in wonder as the balloons launch prior to sunrise and fly until it’s light enough to land. Secured with specially approved lighting systems, balloons flying in the dark are a rare phenomenon in ballooning. We don’t want to be late or we’ll miss it! If you purchased an optional balloon ride, you’ll be among the riders in the early morning sky! (Individuals are responsible for the cost and liability.) We’ll get back to the hotel in time to enjoy a relaxing hot breakfast buffet. We’ve earned it. Mid-morning we return to the streets of Indianola. Our reserved seats are the perfect place for a front row view as the Grand Parade winds through the streets of Indianola, including the iconic Iowa-style City Square. Indianola is a “down home Midwestern hamlet” with so much to offer. Enjoy unique shopping, craft beers, local wines, and great casual dining at the many food vendors lining the streets. Also located in Indianola is the National Balloon Museum and Ballooning Hall of Fame. This is an included, don’t miss, opportunity for us to tour & explore Hot Air Ballooning and its rich history through amazing and colorful exhibits. We’ll return to the hotel later this afternoon to rest and refresh before dinner is served at one of our chosen favorites, The Machine Shed Restaurant! Fabulous dining! Then we return to the Balloon Classic for this evening’s festivities. This evening is the Grand Opening of the Balloon Classic. The OPEN THE SKIES Mass Ascension Balloon Flight is an incredible sight to behold. Several hundred unique and colorful balloons rising almost simultaneously is breathtaking! Throughout the evening live music is on stage. A spectacular fireworks show at dusk caps off the opening. Our comfy bed will feel great tonight! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 4 – West Des Moines to Home 

Following another great, leisurely breakfast we visit the amazing Poppajohn Scultpure Park and also have a photo stop at the Iowa State Capitol – what spectacular building! Then we depart for home, stopping for an included ice cream treat at Russell Stovers along the way! What a special time we’ve had exploring Iowa and experiencing the National Balloon Classic! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Treat 


OPTIONAL BALLOON RIDE: $225 per person. 40-60 minutes.

Call for details: 1-800-758-6877.

Motorcoach Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $999
Single: $1,249
Triple: $939
Quad: $889

Motorcoach Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $67
Single: $85

Travel Bucks

$20 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$100 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 30 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed


Tour Pace

Moderate Walking (*Some uneven terrain. Early morning & late night walking in the dark.)

Price Includes

5 Meals & 1 Mgr. Rec. plus Treat, Hotels & Activities as stated in brochure, Luxury Motorcoach

The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 84°
Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
National Balloon Classic
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Tour Map

Tour Highlights

Faribault Woolen Mills Tour
Birthplace of Mamie Eisenhower – Boone, IA
Full Day Guided Tour of Madison County
Picturesque Covered Bridges
Boyhood Home of John Wayne & Museum
Homemade Lunch at First Presbyterian Church
Iowa Quilt Museum
Winterset Iowa Courthouse Square
National Balloon Classic
Early Morning Balloon Rise
National Balloon Museum Tour
Poppajohn Sculture Park
Grand Parade
Grand Opening Mass Balloon Ascension

Travel with R & J Tours to a warm destination where it is...
Minneapolis, Mn
National Balloon Classic
The average temperature while R&J is visiting is 84°
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