- For the balloon item held in the player's hand and given out by Phineas, see Balloon (item). For the gift hanging from the balloon, see Present.
Balloons, or balloon presents, sometimes float along in the air, but always carry a present along with them. In Animal Crossing, a player would have to hope that the present got stuck in a tree, meaning that it could be shaken down, but in Wild World, City Folk and New Leaf, presents could be shot down with a slingshot. If shot down over water, and it lands in the water the player will show the emotion shock and will be unable to retrieve that present. Presents will also disappear if there are no free tiles for them to land on; this may occur when the ground is populated by patterns, fruit, or other items.
Balloons seem to float randomly over the town, but they in fact originate on the edges of the map at specific times, different for each town. The times they will appear will all end with the same minute value; for example, if players see a present float in from the edge at 5:45, they can be sure that each time it floats in will be a time ending in the minute value "4" or "5" depending on the game. Presents can then appear at times such as 7:55, 2:34, or 3:15. They will not appear at times such as 6:22 or 2:17. In Animal Crossing: Wild World presents only appear from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In other games they appear 24 hours a day.
After the player shoots down 15 packages, a silver (Animal Crossing: New Leaf only, in Animal Crossing: City Folk silver slingshots are rarely found in Tom Nook's store) or golden slingshot will float across the town on either a golden balloon (Wild World) or a group of two silver / three golden balloons (City Folk and New Leaf). These balloons have to be shot down in order to obtain the silver or golden slingshot tools, which shoot two and three pellets respectively and differ in appearance to the store-bought varieties.
In Anim. Crossing
Balloons generally appear randomly just above the player in Animal Crossing, and can sometimes float diagonally across town, unlike later games. There is no slingshot in this game, so the player would have to hope that the present got stuck in a tree, and then shake the tree to obtain it.
In Wild World
In Animal Crossing: Wild World, presents carried by balloons appear on the DS's top screen. They can now be shot down with a slingshot, but only when the player is standing in the top few tiles of town.
Balloons only appear from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and only when the minute value of the time ends with a "4". After 15 packages are shot down, the golden slingshot will appear, carried by a single golden balloon. If this is missed, it will reappear a couple of presents later. Rumors state that another 15 presents must be shot down, but these are false.
In City Folk
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, the balloon presents are the sole source for the Super Mario themed items, but common items can be shot down as well. Phineas the sea lion states that balloons actually come from the sky. This statement, however, cannot be proven.
Presents in Animal Crossing: City Folk return to appearing above the player, and take set routes at acre boundaries, which are the same routes that Gulliver's U.F.O. takes. They take 6-7 minutes to cross the town, moving much more slowly than in Animal Crossing: Wild World. The golden slingshot is carried by three golden balloons, and appears once the player has shot down a number (at least eight) of regular balloon presents.
In New Leaf
In New Leaf, presents can be caught by a net or shovel near the beach, once the balloon flies low enough. They are the sole source for balloon-themed furniture. They can also contain the Balloon Hat. They fly lower than in previous games and may fly to the south for a period of time if their path is obstructed by a building. Like in Wild World, they appear when the current time ends in a "4" (i.e. 10:04, 10:14, 10:24, etc.). Balloons spawn at alternating sides of the town (i.e. from the west at 10:14, from the east at 10:24, and so on), and take approximately five minutes to cross the town.
The silver and golden slingshots can be obtained once 16 presents have been shot down. The silver slingshot can be obtained more than once, however the golden slingshot cannot. The reasons for this are unknown.
Balloons also appear during Bunny Day, and contain sky eggs. The eggs can be opened and contain either a prize ticket, a grand prize ticket or candy. Prize tickets can be taken to Zipper T. Bunny for pieces of Egg Series furniture, while grand prize tickets can be exchanged for Zipper's picture.
For the Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo update, balloons floating over town can now contain other, non-balloon themed furniture. Before, the only items found in balloons were the Balloon Series and Balloon Hat.
In New Horizons
As in previous Animal Crossing series games, balloons carrying presents return in New Horizons and appear more frequently than before. Balloons can be heard from some distance away by the sound of blowing wind. Their shadows can also be seen moving across the ground. The Slingshot can be used to pop the balloons, though a Net can also be used if the balloon is near enough to the edge of a north or south-facing cliff.
Balloons are semi-color-coded, which correspond with the contents of the present the balloon will drop.
- Red, yellow, green and blue balloon presents can contain DIY crafting recipes, Bells, Furniture or crafting materials, such as clay, wood or iron nuggets
- Golden balloon presents contain the recipe for the Golden Slingshot
- Multi-colored balloons either drop presents containing Bunny Day DIY recipes, or drop Sky Eggs
Each balloon popped counts towards the "It's Raining Treasure!" achievement. After popping 300 balloons, a golden balloon will appear in town. Popping balloons may appear as Nook Miles+ objective.