- For the balloon item held in the player's hand, see handheld items. For the gift hanging from the balloon, see present.
Balloons, also known as balloon presents, occasionally float in the air across town, carrying a present with them. The balloons can be shot down with a slingshot to obtain the present. If shot down over water, it will land in the water and be unobtainable. 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, weeds, 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. In Animal Crossing: Wild World presents only appear from 10 AM. to 4 PM. In other games they appear 24 hours a day.
In Animal Crossing
In Animal Crossing, balloons appear randomly above the player, and can sometimes float diagonally across town, unlike later games. Since there is no slingshot in this game, the only way to get the balloon present is to wait for the balloon to float into a tree and get stuck. The player can then shake the tree to retrieve the present. Balloons are much rarer than in later games.
In Animal Crossing: 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 AM to 4 PM, and only when the minute value of the time ends with a "4". After 15 balloons are shot down, a golden balloon will fly by. If shot down, the attached present will contain the golden slingshot. If this is missed, it will reappear a couple of presents later.
In Animal Crossing: City Folk
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, the balloon presents are the sole source for items in the Mario Series, but common items can be shot down as well. Phineas the sea lion states that balloons actually come from the sky.
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 at least eight regular balloons.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf
In New Leaf, presents can be caught by a net or shovel near the beach, once the balloon flies low enough. When shot down, they will contain items from the Balloon Series. 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.
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.
In the Welcome amiibo update, once all items in the Balloon Series are obtained, balloons can carry standard furniture items. Before, the only items found in balloons were the Balloon Series and Balloon Hat.
In Animal Crossing: 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 no longer be used to locate them as they are dynamic shadows, and therefore do not appear directly underneath the balloon. The Slingshot can be used to pop the balloons, though a Net can also be used if the balloon is close enough to the edge of a north or south-facing cliff.
Balloons can now be multiple colors: red, yellow, green, and blue. These balloon presents can contain DIY crafting recipes, Bells, Furniture or crafting materials, such as clay, wood or iron nuggets. Once 300 balloons have been shot down, a golden balloon will float by, which contains the recipe for the Golden Slingshot.
During the Bunny Day event, multi-colored balloons can float by, and can contain Bunny Day DIY recipes, or drop Sky Eggs
Each balloon popped counts towards the "It's Raining Treasure!" Nook Miles reward. After popping 300 balloons, a golden balloon will appear in town. Popping balloons may appear as Nook Miles+ objective.