Things to Do in Columbus, Indiana

Places to visit in Columbus, IN.

If you are looking for something to do while you are visiting Columbus, Indiana, there are many activities that you can choose from. From museums to the Blue’s Canoe Livery, you can find plenty of options for things to do in Columbus, Indiana.

There are plenty of things to do in Columbus for families with kids. There’s a three-story children’s museum, a genuine robotic arm, an art studio, and an early childhood garden. Kids can also take advantage of the playground equipment and two artificial lakes.

Best tourist attractions in Columbus, Indiana

Miller House and Garden

If you’re interested in exploring the architecture of midcentury modernism, a trip to the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana, is a must. The building was designed by Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect, and is one of the essential midcentury modern residences in the country.

You can tour the house on a general tour or an exclusive tour. Tours are coordinated through the Columbus Area Visitors Center. To receive a tour, you must purchase a ticket.

Miller House and Garden
Miller House and Garden

Although not an architectural masterpiece, the Miller House is one of the most significant modernist houses in the United States. It’s also been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Saarinen also won the competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which was one of the first major public works of modernist architecture in the U.S. After the house was completed, a series of improvements was made to the landscape. One of those changes was installing a basrelief by Jacques Lipchitz, located at the south end of the allee.

Miller House and Garden
Miller House and Garden

Mill Race Park

Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana, is a great place to spend some time. The park is home to several structures, including a covered bridge, a circular tube, and an observation tower. It is also great for having fun with the kids or enjoying a scenic view.

If you are in the market for fun things with your family in the Columbus area, look no further than the 83-acre park. You can choose from the many picnic shelters, a fun-filled playground, and a circular tube around the park.

Mill Race Park Columbus
Mill Race Park Columbus

The park also boasts an impressively designed and built observation tower. Built to the highest standards, it stands as an example of the collaborative spirit of the park. In addition, a portion of the People Trail runs through the park. In September, the park hosts an art show.

Zaharakos in Columbus, Indiana

Zaharakos, a historic landmark in Columbus, Indiana, opened in October 1900. Initially, it was a candy store, but it has become an ice cream parlor and museum.

Aside from serving ice cream, Zaharakos also offers sandwiches, salads, macaroni, and cheese. This restaurant has been a Columbus hangout for generations.

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor
Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor

The Zaharakos family first opened the business in 1900. Two brothers came from Sparta, Greece, and began selling sweets for a couple of years before moving to Columbus.

Zaharakos is located in an unpretentious brick building. It has a pressed tin ceiling and decorative fretwork. Throughout the decades, the interior of the building has been changed, but it has retained its old-school look.

In the museum area, visitors can find a collection of antique soda fountains and other items from the 1800s. These include a Mexican onyx and an Italian marble runner.

Bartholomew County Courthouse - Columbus, Indiana
Bartholomew County Courthouse – Columbus, Indiana

Blue’s Canoe Livery

Blue’s Canoe Livery is an outdoor recreation center that provides kayak and raft trips along the Driftwood River. You can rent a kayak or raft, which costs $30 to $38 per person. The company also offers a BYOB (bring your own boat) option. In addition, they offer a shuttle service to and from the river’s boat ramp.

The Driftwood River flows from Big Blue River to the east fork of the White River at Columbus. It is a shallow and narrow river that winds through farmland and wood strips on both sides of the river. As such, it is ideal for paddlers of all skill levels.

Canoes in the distance
Canoes in the distance

A variety of trips are available from two to seven miles. Depending on the trip, these trips can take between one and three hours. Depending on the season, rafting may be available. If you have your boat, you can portage for a nominal fee.

Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum

The Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum is located at the former Bakalar Air Force Base. It is free to visit, and no admission is charged. Volunteers dedicated to preserving the history of the airfield and its veterans are responsible for its operation. Visitors will learn about the base’s history, which was constructed during World War II.

F-4 Phantom II - Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum
F-4 Phantom II – Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum

In addition to the museum, visitors can see a static display of an F-4 Phantom Jet. There is also the Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck Memorial Chapel, who volunteers staff.

The Atterbury-Bakalar air museum is an educational center open seven days a week. Staff members include former service personnel, citizens, and volunteers. Their goal is to honor the men and women who served in the uniform and to remember the events of the Second World War and the war in Vietnam.

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