Get Up Close and Personal With The Goodyear Blimp

I had the thrill of a lifetime on Friday when my son and I got to ride in the Goodyear Blimp! Since he was tiny, he has loved this blimp; we even watched videos of it on YouTube and looked at pictures online, and we would wave anytime we saw it.

Photos: Lara Scott Visits and Rides The Goodyear Blimp

Seeing it up close and actually being inside the passenger area was something else! For one thing, the blimp (which is called “Spirit of Innovation”) bounces around and is only tethered on one end with ropes, so when it’s time to board you have to hustle and get in your seat quickly. The “balloon” part is massive, and the engine is really loud!

We wore headsets during our flight, and our awesome pilot Kristin explained that we would be bounced like a basketball for takeoff! That’s exactly what happened, and then it felt like we went straight up. If I’m remembering correctly, the blimp goes about 15 mph, so in our one-hour trip we headed to the ocean and back from the base in Carson. It was very beautiful from above, as we were close enough to the ground to see everything extremely well, so we got a great look at Downtown Long Beach, The Queen Mary, the port in San Pedro (including a ton of cargo ships, the USS IOWA, and the Vincent Thomas Bridge), and the historic Banning Estate.

Our flight was over way too soon, and as we made our steep descent and came in for a landing I was once again so impressed with our pilot and the terrific ground crew, who looked like the literally grabbed the ropes on the blimp and pulled us to a stop as we came in. Best of all, my son started chattering about learning more about physics, engineering, blimps, and science in general since he loved the ride so much.

YOU have a chance to see the Goodyear Blimp up close and watch your own kiddos get excited! There is a special day happening at the base in Carson on Tuesday, June 21st, that is free and open to the public! Get the details and register at

More from Lara Scott

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