(MOSTLY) OUTDOOR FUN
Located eight miles east of Columbus, off of Highway 46
A forty-four acre park featuring a cascading waterfall (amount of water varies by rainfall) and two hiking paths of 1.75 and 2.25 miles.
Directions : from Columbus, go east on SR 46 about 8.5 miles to CR 925 E (on the right) and turn right. The road will turn sharply left, becoming CR 200 N. Follow this road about 2.2 miles to CR 1140 E (on the left just before the creek) and turn left. Go about 0.4 mile to the parking lot on the left.
Batting Cages at Lincoln Park
Two slow pitch softball, two fast pitch softball, two baseball. Machines are also available for team rental. Hours may vary due to scheduled tournaments and weather – call (812) 418-0011 for the latest schedule.
Best Bike Ride in Indiana
Starts at Dag’s Deli
According to Bicycling magazine, the 56-mile bike route that starts in Columbus is the best in the state. It’s not too hard and not too easy, ranking 5 out of 10 on their difficulty scale.
“I’ve ridden in nearly all corners of Indiana and 23 other states, and my favorite ride is from Columbus heading west into the hills,” says Connie Szabo Schmucker, advocacy director for Bicycle Garage Indy. “You can ride fifty miles and see ten cars total, and you can start and finish at Dag’s, a great ice-cream shop with unique flavors. Try persimmon, heavenly hash, or a concoction called coffee and brownies.” Read the full article HERE.
The starting location is ideal, you can jump off Interstate 65 and be parked and ready to go in minutes.
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.
Columbus BMX is your home for racing excitement and family fun! Anybody, any age, can race BMX. All you need is a bike and a desire to have fun! Come join us at the track to learn more about the exciting sport of BMX racing! There is a spot for everyone in BMX, from the two-year-old on a Strider bike, to the expert racer chasing an Olympic dream, to Moms and Dads looking for a fun new form of exercise.
Less than ten minutes southeast of Columbus, your family can have their pick of a wide range of recreation options at CERA Park, a 345-acre park with both indoor and outdoor activities. You may have a hard time choosing from the many things you can do, there’s a stocked lake for fishing, paddle boats, row boats, canoes, seven shelter houses, and picnic areas. Then there are two outdoor basketball courts, shuffleboard courts, six horseshoe pits, two sandpit volleyball courts, a go-kart track, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a driving range, six tennis courts, an outdoor amphitheater that hosts many events, playgrounds, a remote control airplane strip, a rifle and archery range, a trap and skeet range, nine ball diamonds, an aquatic center with a large water slide and toddler play area.
- View the CERA Park guide (PDF)
Or you can head indoors and use the 30,000-square-foot sports and fitness center with two full gyms, a cardio room, a running/walking track, a weight room, and locker rooms, as well as a Fitness Center to help you achieve your fitness goals! Outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate how close the park is to two state parks that are favorites in Indiana: Brown County State Park, the largest in the state known for its stunning vistas, is only thirty minutes away, and Clifty Falls State Park, with its must-see waterfalls, is only sixty minutes away.
CERA is also known for its beautiful 355-site campground, including camping cabins, and has been a prime location for motor coach and camping club rallies. In 2013, CERA was given a ranking of 9/10 for facilities, 9/10 for restrooms, and 10/10 for appeal by Good Sam Camping Club and the park is now a Good Sam Certified destination. CERA also hosts many local youth camping retreats for scouts, church groups, and school athletic teams, because they have found that it is a perfect choice for team building and camaraderie.
TripAdvisor reviewer Rhilohso recently wrote, “We had a beautiful campsite right on the lake and under some beautiful pine trees. It was really the best campsite we have ever stayed in. So much nature but also so many others things to do there. We enjoyed kayaking (brought our own), putt putt, disc golf, driving range etc. We took a day trip to Brown County State Park for horseback riding and hiking. Great fall weekend with family.”
In addition, CERA is the host site for Bartholomew County Little League, Fastpitch Softball, and Baseball tournaments and leagues, and is an AAU-sanctioned park.
Corner of Marr Road and Hollowell Drive, Columbus
Columbus Dog Park is an off-leash recreation area for all sizes of dogs, with a fenced area where dogs may run, play, and socialize with each other under the supervision of their owners. Day passes are available for $5 at Hotel Indigo and the park is open from dawn to dusk year round. There are two, separate fenced areas for large and small breeds. The park has water, a shelter house, park bench, picnic tables, and dog potty-bag stations. The park is run by a dedicated group of volunteers.
Donner Park has a 50-meter outdoor pool with a 160-foot water flume slide, in-pool climbing wall during special periods, a snack bar, and a zero-depth pool. The park also has picnic areas, shelterhouse, restrooms, play areas, and basketball courts, shuffleboard and horseshoes, People Trails, multi-purpose room with seating for 350. Four Tennis courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Photo by The Republic newspaper
Hamilton Center Ice Skating
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.
Photo by Lynn Lucas
Landscape Management recognized this 85-acre riverfront park as one of the top 100 parks in the nation for design, reputation, and accessibility. Designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh, and featuring structures by Stanley Saitowitz, it includes an 84-foot observation tower, a covered bridge, people trails, fishing at two lakes, picnic shelters, playground equipment, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, and an amphitheater that hosts concerts and performances.
Mill Race Park is managed by Columbus Parks and Recreation. Contact them at (812) 376-2680.
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.
Welcome to The Red Zone, the only laser tag arena within five counties and provides the safest fun center for all ages. Come on to try laser tag, blaze through the bounce house, fulfill your superhero fantasies on the Spider Wall, and soar into a slam dunk on our Aeroball!
Columbus Skateland is a locally-owned and locally-operated skating rink that has been serving the Columbus area for over 35 years. This clean, safe, reasonably-priced, family-orientated facility serves Columbus and surrounding South Central Indiana counties.
The mostly wooded 32-acre Tangeman Woods features the Outdoor Lab nature trail, which the Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District created in the 1970s and continues to use for school field trips. The Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation donated the preserve to Sycamore Land Trust in 2007 and named it in memory of Clementine Tangeman, a past owner of the property and sister of J. Irwin Miller.
Touch The Earth Natural Area is the largest park in Bartholomew County and features natural hiking trails and bird watching.
Photo courtesy Arrows Sent Forth
Otter Creek Golf Course has been ranked among the top 25 public golf courses in the U.S. since its inception in 1964. Located in the midst of a serene countryside, Robert Trent Jones Sr. created the original 18 holes of this championship course. His design harmonizes the gently rolling hills of southern Indiana with adding his incredible knowledge of the game by utilizing the existing contours of the land to ensure that each shot is as natural as it could possibly be.
Many championship tournaments have been held at this property, including: the 1991 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, AJGA tournaments, NCAA regional championships, the Independent Youth classic, and the Indiana Men’s Amateur Championship – 26 times. The course has also served as a qualification site for the U.S and Senior Open, plus the National Public Links.
- Go to the Otter Creek Golf Course page, with more information about the course
- View photos of Otter Creek during the 2014 AJGA golf tournament
Timbergate Golf Course is one of four Indiana courses rated as a “good value” by Golf Digest, and the only one in Southern Indiana. Named for the rich history of wood crafting the town was built upon, Timbergate is located minutes from Edinburgh Premium Outlet shopping facility and Hoosier Horse Park.
Designed by Clyde Johnston with Indiana native Fuzzy Zoeller, Timbergate is one of the premiere public courses in Indiana. The links-style design was geared to be both challenging to experienced players as well as playable by higher handicappers. Each hole has five or more bent grass tee beds to vary the yardage of the course from 5,000 to 7,000 yards.
CLOSE TO COLUMBUS
Brown County State Park is located just thirty miles due west of Columbus. Nicknamed “The Little Smokies” because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges, and fog-shrouded ravines. Glaciers from the most recent ice ages stopped short of the “hills o’ Brown,” but their meltwaters helped create the narrow ridges, steep slopes, and deep gullies of the park.
Indiana’s largest park is a traditional fall color hot spot, with nearly 20 miles of tree-lined roads and many scenic vistas overlooking miles of uninterrupted forestland. And, of course, Nashville is on the edge of the park and features dozens of art galleries, artisan shops, and restaurants.
Explore Brown County Adventure Park offers: 15 zip lines, paintball, ATV and buggy tours, 30 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. Explore Brown County has the fastest, longest and tallest twin racing zip line in Indiana! Soar over a mile of cable to heights of 80’ through treetops, over hollows, and a lake. Buggy and ATV Tours explore 1,000 acres visiting historic sites. Paintball offers over 90 acres of woods and Speedball. Harvest Hall seats 250 while camping cabins sleep up to 80.