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Best Idea Ever: Hot Air Balloon Bumper Cars (In Las Vegas!)

What you see above is concept art for one of the coolest things I have ever heard of: Parabounce.

What’s Parabounce, you ask? It’s simple. At least according to twisted genius Stephen Meadows, the brains behind the brilliant idea for Parabounce Vegas, a planned 100,000-square-foot facility near the Strip where 20 customers at a time will be able to fly around the gigantic facility while strapped to 22-foot helium balloons, soaring hundreds of feet in the air. That’s crazy stuff, man.

Via the Las Vegas Sun:

Think of it as “3-D bumper cars,” he said.

“You’re flying. That’s the biggest thrill,” said Meadows, underlining the experience’s visceral appeal. The balloon’s design allows riders to navigate themselves, offering a complete sense of control in the air.

“It’s not an elevator ride,” Meadows said.

Bad. Ass. Parabounce Vegas received preliminary approval in 2008 for the concept which was patented by Meadows way back in 1996.  Since then, the Parabounce concept has been featured on The Today Show and has made an appearance at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Meadows once even landed one of the contraptions on the White House lawn to greet then-President Bill Clinton.

For those of you who desperately want to book your Parabounce-themed Vegas vacation as soon as possible, you will have to wait awhile longer, although a preliminary opening date for the entertainment complex has been set for some time in 2011.

The entire Parabounce Vegas complex sounds absolutely amazing, but I wonder how in the hell Meadows is going to manage to pull this one off. Of course, I imagine a man like Meadows had the foresight to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s regarding his vision, which I presume involved convincing an insurance company that his brilliant idea was perfectly safe and won’t result in people plummeting hundreds of feet to the ground to their deaths on a daily basis. And if he somehow managed to sweet talk some tight-assed insurance broker to cover this concept, my hat’s off to him, because this guy must be as smooth as they come.

Vegas’ next thrill: High-flying balloon ‘bumper cars’ [Las Vegas Sun]