Guide to Family Fun in Columbus, Indiana

With some of the most innovative play-spaces in the Midwest, a three-story children’s museum, and an authentic, old-fashioned ice cream parlor, Columbus is a great place for a family adventure, and it’s an easy drive from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville!

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor

A Columbus must-see
329 Washington Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos of Zaharakos

Commons Playground

A family fun favorite!
300 Washington Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, phone, reviews, photos of The Commons


A vibrant learning space
309 Fifth Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, phone, reviews, photos of kidscommons

Modernist giants built here!

Throughout downtown Columbus – stop by the Visitors Center to pick up free walking guides to the downtown art and architecture.

Explore the public art

Explore the architecture

Anderson Falls

A forty-four acre park featuring a cascading waterfall (amount of water can vary significantly by local rain patterns) and two hiking paths of about two miles each.

3699 N 1140 County Rd E, Hartsville, Indiana – Map it

Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

4742 Ray Boll Boulevard
Map, reviews, photos of the Air Museum

Bartholomew County
Historical Society

524 Third Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos for the Historical Society

Bartholomew County Public

536 Fifth Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, photos for the library

See lots of library events on the calendar

Blue’s Canoe Livery is located just north of Columbus and nearby Edinburgh Premium Outlets. It is an outdoor recreation center that provides canoe, kayak, and raft trips on the Driftwood River, as well as camping and smallmouth bass fishing. The most popular river trips flow through a secluded state wildlife preserve and a part of Camp Atterbury wilderness area, where you may encounter deer, beaver, great blue heron, osprey, and wild turkey. There are occasional mild rapids for added excitement. Large groups are welcome, overnight camping is available, and a shelter house can be used for picnics.

See also Pathfinder Outfitters for more kayaking adventures


Ceraland Park

3989 S 525 E
Map, reviews, photos for Ceraland Park

Columbus Bowling Center
Whether you’re a competitive bowler or a casual bowler we have a league that fits you. Have a blast under the black lights cosmic bowling with your friends!

Columbus Rock Gym

1551 Cottage Avenue
Map, reviews, photos for the Rock Gym

David Zinn art

David Zinn’s temporary creations of fantastical creatures were scattered around downtown Columbus and hidden, in plain view – three of them have withstood weathering and are still looking good! Can you find them ?

Escape 812

325 Fifth Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos for Escape 812

Hamilton Center and Ice Arena

2501 Lincoln Park Drive
Visit Website
Map, reviews, photos of Hamilton Center


The original Swiss chalet style building was designed by Harry Weese as a community building with warming house and changing rooms for an outdoor ice rink. The building exterior features rough-hewn granite boulder battered walls and glass with views to the exterior. The interior features triple-peaked roof with wood beams and planking. A central granite fireplace, highlighting the spacious interior, is surrounded by wooden benches, an inviting sight to chilled skaters.

Because of an increased community interest in ice skating and the need to extend the skating season, the community decided to enclose the outdoor rink in 1975. Koster and Associates designed the enclosure of the large ice arena as an extension of the existing center with similar exterior materials and architectural details, and now includes a regulation- sized hockey rink and an adjacent practice rink, so the facility offers year-round skating.

Hangar 5 restaurant at the airport
4770 Ray Boll Blvd
Visit the Hangar 5 website
Maps, reviews, photos of Hangar 5

Located in the main terminal building at the Columbus Municipal Airport –  you can watch the plans while you eat!

Irwin Gardens

608 Fifth Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos for The Inn Gardens

Open Tuesday and Saturday afternoons, seasonal, see calendar for hours

Jolie Crider Memorial Skate Park

In Clifty Park – across from East High School
Map it


The city’s latest design destination is unique – it’s a skatepark designed by Janne Saario, a Finnish landscape architect and former professional skater.

As noted in an Oct. 1, 2019 New York Times article: “The podcast ’99 Percent Invisible’ got Mr. Saario the job: Jonathan Nesci, a designer who lives in Columbus and is the father of a skater, cold-emailed the architect after listening to ‘The Pool and the Stream,’ a 2017 episode about the connection between curvaceous swimming pools and skatepark design featuring Mr. Saario.” – read the full NYT article by Alexandra Lange

See more photos of the skatepark

Mill Race Park

427 Washington Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos of Mill Race Park

People Trails

Anything people powered is welcome on the more than 27 miles of paved trails, and the route in and around town and into the countryside is a pleasant way to enjoy the outdoors. The paths run very close to three rivers, two creeks, plenty of green space and productive farmland. Great for leisurely exercise with a distraction or two.

Jubilee Farm Studio
11520 Moores Vineyard Rd, Columbus, IN 47201

Pet, paint, and grow! Jubilee Farm Studio has it all! These local homesteaders have a big love of animals and imagination. Make sure to check out their studio space and get in touch with your creative side through their variety of classes.

While on the farm, meet and greet their team of goats, pigs, chickens, and bunnies – many of whom are rescues! Their farm stand is open during harvest season and offers healthy produce like eggs and flowers.

Touch the Earth and Tangeman Woods

Touch the Earth

Located conveniently near State Road 46 just west of Columbus, this preserve is one of the larger protected natural areas in Bartholomew County and is an excellent spot for hiking and bird watching. Sycamore’s Tangeman Woods preserve is less than a mile away, just on the other side of State Road 46.

A mowed parking area along County Club Road provides access to two miles of mowed trails through scenic woods and former farm fields that have reverted to nature. The trail features several benches and an observation deck. Dedicated neighbors volunteer to keep the trail and parking area mowed for visitors.

Located less than a mile from Tangeman Woods

Tangeman Woods

Tangeman Woods is a beautiful mixed hardwood forest with intermittent creeks, located on the eastern edge of southern Indiana’s rugged Norman Upland. The Outdoor Lab nature trail, created by the Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District in the 1970s, is still used for school field trips, including those conducted by Sycamore’s Environmental Education Program.

The Outdoor Lab trail features bridges over shallow but steep ravines, which have been repaired and enhanced by several Boy Scout service projects. Sycamore staff have worked to enhance the forest by controlling invasive bushes including privet and burning bush, and monitor annually for garlic mustard near the trailhead.

Located less than a mile from Touch the Earth

Tri-State Artisans

427 Washington Street
Columbus, IN 47201
Map, reviews, photos for Tri-State Artisans

Utopia Wildlife

Open to the public only during First Saturdays education events – check calendar for dates

Utopia Wildlife website

Utopia Wildlife on Facebook

Map, reviews, and photos of Utopia


Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators is a 501(c)(3) state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility dedicated to providing expert veterinary care, rehabilitation, and release of native Indiana reptiles, mammals, birds, and birds of prey.

Yes Cinema

Independent, downtown theater
328 Jackson Street
Columbus, Indiana
Map, reviews, photos of Yes Cinema