Columbus, Indiana is a fun, affordable place to create unforgettable memories with your family. Plan an adventure that's close to home and easy on the pocketbook.
- The kids' jaws will drop when they lay their eyes on Luckey Climber in The Commons, right across the street from Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor.
- Admission is always free and there's a large indoor playground to explore, as well as the amazing Chaos I sculpture, always a kid favorite.
- Visit The Commons web site for hours and events.
- “...a 109-year old, cake-icing confection of mirrors, marble, Tiffany glass, carved woodwork and polished soda-fountain plumbing.”
- The one-of-a kind Victorian ice cream parlor and museum is a wonder to kids of all ages, who enjoy the musical sounds of the Orchestrion music machine and the homemade sodas and ice cream specialties. The gift shop features handmade toys, trains, and ice cream items.
- To see photos of Zaharakos, and learn more, go here.
- For hours of operation, go here.
- Explore three floors of interactive learning and fun. Get flushed down the famous, giant toilet slide, do your best Spiderman imitation as you scale the climbing wall and work up a healthy sweat in the Kids on the Move exhibit.
- For details, go here.
- To see a video overview of the kidscommons, go here.
- For a discount coupon on admission to kidscommons, go here.
- Paddle down the scenic Driftwood River in a canoe, kayak, or raft. As you float the six- or eight-mile course down river, you may see deer, beaver, great blue heron, osprey, or wild turkey. Occasional mild rapids add a little excitement.
- See photos of Blue's Canoes here.
- Parks, playgrounds, and trails. Almost 20 miles of people trails, 13 parks and playgrounds make Columbus fun for families. Go here for photos of the People Trails.
- The newest playground is Freedom Field, a one-and-a-half-acre playground featuring universal design that allows people of all abilities to enjoy. Located at Chapman T. Blackwell Park, it has been designed for the handicapped and able-bodied to access and play. For information and photos of Freedom Field, go here.
- Public art finds a home alongside some of the great modern buildings in Columbus, making Columbus feel like one big playground. Kids love to see these pieces and, often, they can touch them, and run around and through them. See a Dale Chihuly chandelier that looks like macaroni and cheese; put a spin on the world as it floats in a pool of dark water; marvel at the colors of Chihuly’s Sun Garden Panel in Suspended Circle.
- Walk through Henry Moore’s Large Arch, resembling the pelvic bone of some prehistoric giant. Play hide and seek around the bright red structures at Mill Race Park.
- For details, go here
- History-loving kids and parents will enjoy Bakalar Museum, a no-cost attraction that features memorabilia from World War II. Learn about glider pilots and see the cockpit of a glider, just like the ones that coasted into Normandy. Learn about the WASPs, the Women Air Force Service pilots, like local veteran Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck, a test pilot who was anything but conventional. For details, go here.
- Read blogger Nicole Wiltrout's suggested stops for getting up close and personal with aviation in Columbus here.
- Then, visit the award-winning Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans and read the letters home written by the brave soldiers who fought and died in the 20th Century wars. For details, go here.
Columbus was selected in 2007 by Nick Jr.™ Family Magazine as one of the Ten Most Playful towns in America for the quality of its park system, unique architecture and its cultural offerings for kids.
Relax and reconnect as you explore this one-of-a-kind community together. Its small size combined with its family-friendly activities makes Columbus a great place for a family getaway.
Check out our calendar for lots of other fun things to do. First Fridays for Families offers free performances that kids love. There are festivals, fairs, parades, outdoor movies and concerts, organized bike rides and sporting events throughout the year.
( bottom photo of Harry McCawley and grandchild by Bob Bolner )