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9 Free Things To Do In Columbus, GA That Kids Will Love

Clocking in as Georgia’s second-largest city, Columbus combines the thrills of a major city with the southern laid-back vibes of a rural town. The combination is enchanting. While it’s a major city in the Peach State, exploring with kids is manageable. 

Columbus holds a little secret you’d never expect – there’s so much to do for free! The city of Columbus is centrally located, making it a fantastic weekend destination that won’t break the bank either.

From water sports to outer space fun, kids will love the fantastic FREE things to do in Columbus, Georgia!

Free things to do in Columbus, Georgia
The Columbus Riverwalk at Night

The Best Free Things To Do In Columbus, Georgia (or Almost Free)

Columbus is surprisingly large. I recommend commuting in a car and walking when destinations are close by. For this list, I’m focusing on the uptown Columbus area. The majority of Columbus attractions have free parking.

I stayed at City Mills Hotel, which is a beautiful boutique hotel on the Columbus Riverwalk. It’s dog-friendly and centrally located to many of these uptown Columbus attractions.

The Coca-Cola Space Science Center

Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center is a treasure for kids interested in space exploration. It’s full of hands-on attractions, a planetarium, and museum artifacts that you’d never guess would end up in Columbus. 

Guests can control a mini Mars Rover or simulate a flight through outer space. Parents will appreciate the museum artifacts that offer behind-the-scenes stories of the events we grew up watching on television. 

The staff is so enthusiastic about the facts and stories around every attraction in the Center you’re sure to leave wowed. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children under ten, and FREE for children under 4. 

Coca-Cola Space Science Center in Columbus

The National Infantry Museum

If you’re a U.S. history buff, you’ll love The National Infantry Museum. Columbus is the nearest city to the Ft. Moore Army base, and the history of the United States Army Infantryman is honored inside the 190,000-square-foot facility that makes up The National Infantry Museum.

Walk through history as you re-live pivotal war moments that amaze with life-size exhibits. This FREE museum has so much to see, from the American Revolution to The War on Terror.

A virtual reality museum exhibit offers guests a chance to take on Army missions, like parachuting out of a plane or shooting targets, and that exhibit is an extra fee.

Columbus Infantry Museum

Splash Around At Woodruff Park

If the kids need to cool off from the sweltering Georgia heat, look no further than Woodruff Park. Located on the river banks, Woodruff Park offer a cute splash pad and playground area. Plan a picnic and watch the kids splash about.

Woodruff Park in Columbus

Chattahoochee RiverWalk

The Chattahoochee RiverWalk is an outdoor, 22-mile linear park beside the roaring Chattahoochee River. Outdoor fans can walk or jog along the paved path and catch views of wildlife that call the river home.

If you want to take a break from your Chattahoochee RiverWalk adventures, stop into the Millhouse Kitchen + Bar at the City Mills Hotel – and directly off the trail.

Columbus Georgia Riverwalk
Photo Credit: Visit Columbus

Columbus Collective Museums

Imagine floor-to-ceiling artifacts that bring you back to your favorite childhood memories. Inside the Columbus Collective Museums are the Lunch Box Museum, the Royal Crown Cola Museum, the Chero-Cola Museum, and the Georgia Radio Museum.

You’ll instantly smile when you see your favorite childhood lunch box – from Transformers to Barbie – they’ve got everything!

Lunchbox museum in Columbus

Visit Coca-Cola Historical Landmarks

Dr. John S. Pemberton is well-known as being the inventor of Coca Cola, and there’s so much Coca-Cola history in Columbus. Dr. Pemberton is buried in Columbus (his grave is located in Linwood Cemetery) and you can drive by the old family home.

If you’ve been to the Sensational World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Columbus is definietly the next stop for Coke history.

Bo Bartlett Museum

The Bo Bartlett Museum is free and one of the most inspring art museums in Georgia. Columbus State University maintains the museum and offers community outreach programs for kids. The museum aims to deepen our understanding of art; it doesn’t hurt that it’s a great escape from the heat. 

One of the most unique art perspectives in the massive canvases that Bo Barlett used. You’d think it took the artist years to create, but each of these large canvases was finished in a month!

Bo Bartlett Museum in Columbus GA
Photo Credit: Bo Bartlett Museum

National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus

One neglected part of Civil War history is the naval side. Surprisingly, Columbus is home to the National Civil War Naval Museum, which houses the largest surviving Confederate warship, the CSS Jackson, as well as the wreckage of the CSS Chattahoochee. 

Why is a naval museum in Columbus? The Chattahoochee River played an integral part in the Navy, bringing supplies to soldiers. Families will love the living history events and the live weapon demonstrations. 

Naval Museum in Columbus, GA

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center

Oxbow Meadows is a haven for nature lovers, young and old. Kids will love the reptiles, including five alligators that call Oxbow home. Walk along two nature paths or see the process of how Oxbow makes its private-label honey. Kids will also love their special events programs that focus on different families of animals.

While there’s technially no admission fee for Oxbow Meadows, they suggest a $5 donation for admission that goes towards the care of the animals.

Oxbow meadows turtle

Columbus Museum

American art and regional history collide at the Columbus Museum. The museum houses over 14,000 artifacts showcasing the history of the Chattahoochee River Valley. Educational outreach programs, lectures, and films attract visitors of all ages.

The Columbus Museum is moving to a new space opening in May 2024. It’s the 2nd largest art museum in the state of Georgia. Admission is always free.

New Columbus Museum in Georgia
Photo Credit: Columbus Museum

Columbus Botanical Garden

This last one isn’t free, but it’s so close that we had to include it in this list! The Columbus Botanical Garden is $10 for adults, $5 for 4-18, and free for kids under three. 

Step into tranquility when you visit the Columbus Botanical Garden. The 36-acre gardens are open to guests who want to walk the grounds. Or sign up for community learning opportunities such as horticulture seminars. It’s a beautiful spot for photographers to enjoy nature – you’ll always find something blooming in the garden!

Columbus Botanical Gardens

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