Thursday, February 16, 2017 - by Columbus, Ga. Convention and Visitors Bureau
Between a science and history museum, two renowned performing arts complexes and an esteemed natural wildlife center, Columbus, Ga., bursts with family-fun. About an hour and a half south of Atlanta via I-85 and I-185, Columbus is the second largest city in the Peach State and offers an ideal family getaway. With so much to do, this thriving Georgia city is a boundless adventure for all.
Check out these top five picks for family fun:
1. Give the family an extraterrestrial experience without ever leaving planet Earth at the Cocoa-Cola Space Science Center.
Owned and operated by Columbus State University, this interactive museum is the perfect combination of education and entertainment for both the young and young at heart. Take a seat in the Omnisphere Theatre--a dome shaped movie screen that completely surrounds its audience with space-themed movies, real-time footage of the stars and can even take you on a trip through the human body. Call the shots inside the Challenger Learning Center, a space simulation program that puts the family in mission control. Turn into engineers while voyaging to Mars, have a rendezvous with a comet or travel to the moon. Don't leave without getting up close to Georgia's most extensive Space Shuttle artifact collection that includes a nine-time space-flown space shuttle main engine. Whatever you choose to do at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, expect to create memories that are out of this world. The space center is open Monday-Saturday. Adult tickets are $6 and children admission costs $4. http://www.ccssc.org/
Dazzle the family by taking them to a show-stopping Broadway performance at the Springer Opera House. The Springer is the State Theatre of Georgia and has been a leading Southern cultural institution for over 144 years. The Springer is not only Georgia's oldest professional theatre it is also only one of seven theatres in the United States that is also an historic landmark. You may be stepping back in time when entering The Springer, but this renovated jewel hosts a variety of fresh shows for the family. It offers a yearly season of three play series--the Mainstage Series in Emily Woodruff Hall, the Studio II Series in the brand new McClure Theatre and the Springer Children's Theatre Series. 2017 shows include hits like "Grease" and "Avenue Q". Is the family a flock of night owls? For families with grown children, every Friday night at 10:30 p.m. the Springer plays host to No Shame Theatre, open to those 18 and older. No Shame Theatre is an uncensored evening of original performance that allows anyone to explore their creative potential. Performances have been original plays, improvisation, spoken-word, rap, music, stand-up comedy and more. For show times and tickets visit: https://www.SpringerOperaHouse.org/
Walk on the wild side at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center. The center provides exciting exhibits, nature trails and also offers educational programs about the ecology and natural history of the region. Get up close to snakes, turtles, tortoises, fish, alligators, invertebrates and more. Families can stroll down gorgeous trails to catch a glimpse of native wildlife, view the wetlands and ponds or explore the Discovery Trail. The Center includes two classroom-laboratories, an 86-seat auditorium, state-of-the-art instructional media, a stream habitat supporting various plants and animals, a pollinator garden, beehives and environmental art. Planning a Saturday visit? Heighten the fun by hiking the Treetop Canopy Trail. The trail is suspended 35 feet above the ground and is surrounded by magnificent oaks, hickories and sweet gum trees. The 30-minute guided tour offers viewers a chance to observe wetlands, songbirds, vultures, eagles, deer, wood ducks and other creatures native to the region. The center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. There is a suggested $5 donation. https://Oxbow.ColumbusState.edu/
Sail back through time at the National Civil War Museum located on the beautiful Chattahoochee River. This prestigious establishment is the only museum in the world dedicated to telling the complete naval story of the American Civil War. Start at the timeline exhibit, which takes guests month by month through the war. This exhibit shows all naval events and features many of the museum's rarest artifacts, such as the uniform coat of Captain Catesby Jones and Admiral Farragut's two-star hat insignia. Get up close to the largest surviving Confederate Warship, the CSS Jackson and take in the wreckage of the CSS Chattahoochee. Climb aboard the full-scale replicas of the USS Waterwitch and the USS Hartford. This museum is also home to the largest collection of U.S. Civil War naval related flags in the country. The stories of the sailors and soldiers, both free and enslaved, at Port Columbus leave an indelible mark on all who visit. The museum is open Sunday and Monday from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 with discounted rates for military, seniors and students; children are free.
Located in the heart of historic Uptown Columbus, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is the centerpiece of the city's arts and entertainment district. This 245,000-square-foot facility is five stories high and is a visually stunning blend of the past and present, mixing the brick and ironwork of the area's historic buildings with a modern multi-level glass and steel façade. RiverCenter's state-of-the-art facilities include the 2,000-seat Bill Heard Theatre, the 430-seat Legacy Hall and the 180-seat Studio Theatre. The center has hosted a variety of world-renowned performers, including classical artists such as Jessie Norman, popular entertainers such as Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld; international ensembles such as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; and, national touring productions such as the Broadway shows "Chicago" and "Rent." This year, enjoy Shakespearian plays, robust orchestra performances and Broadway hits like "Mama Mia!" and "Cinderella." A show at the RiverCenter will give your family a cultural experience they won't forget. Visit www.RiverCenter.org for a full list of shows.
Columbus offers family-fun that enriches the mind, a break for the soul and memories to last. After a trip to this Southern charmer, the entire carload will want to turn back around for more.