7. Macy’s initially used real animals instead of balloons

Top 10 secrets of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade_Macy's Christmas Parade_elephants_Untapped Cities_Stephanie Geier_NYCThe parade initially featured live animals instead of the balloons we see today. Photograph Courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.

Prior to 1927, the parades were filled with real animals from the Central Park Zoo rather than balloons of ones. These animals included bears, camels, goats, elephants and even tigers and lions. However, some animals were less than cooperative while walking along the route, so by 1927 Macy’s replaced them with balloons.