Columbus, Indiana is known for its architecture due to the efforts of industrialist J. Irwin Miller, founder of Cummins Engine Company. The city possesses an impressive collection of architectural masterpieces designed by some of the world’s finest architects. Visitors will find museums, great shopping, dining, and a wonderful array of parks and trails.
Columbus is a small city that packs a lot in its small package! In addition to the attractions in the city, visitors can hike, camp, fish or tour beautiful Brown County State Park or visit Anderson Falls east of Columbus. Here are 8 excellent spots to add to your “must-see” list when you visit Columbus:
1. Cummins Corporate Headquarters Museum
The Cummins Corporate Headquarters Museum is located in downtown Columbus. The museum displays actual Indy 500 racecars, antique cars, and an "exploded" engine. The sculpture, designed by Rudolph de Harak, has every piece of a diesel engine separated and suspended by wire to show how all the parts fit together.
2. Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum
The Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum is located across the street from the F4C Phantom Jet Fighter static display at the Columbus Indiana Municipal Airport. This is the former location of the Atterbury Army Air Field and Bakalar Air Force Base. The museum is just a few steps from the ramp and control tower.
kidscommons provides a venue for children's exploration, collaboration, and creativity. Exhibits include Design Your City, Gateway Bridge Laser Harp, Bubble-ology, and a Climbing Wall
4. Mill Race Park
© Paul Wonning
Mill Race Park features wooded areas, baseball diamonds, picnic spots, and play areas. The park offers access to the extensive People Trails and is near the Flat Rock River. Visitors can also treat themselves to a grand view of the surrounding area from the 84-foot observation tower and walk across a beautiful covered bridge.
5. Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor
Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor is part-ice cream parlor and part-museum! Visitors can dine on delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads, topped off by a premium homemade ice cream treat. After the meal, a visit to their museum, located in the back dining room, will reveal a magnificent collection of ice cream parlor memorabilia. The displays include a restored 1870’s orchestrion, syrup dispensers, and the largest collection of pre-1900 marble soda fountains on public display.
6. Inn at Irwin Garden
These magnificent gardens are not open to the public, but if you stay as a guest at the Inn, which offers a bed and breakfast environment, you’ll have access to this beautiful spot. You might get lucky and catch a public tour, but these are only offered at specified times and this Inn is a great place to stay to ensure you see them.
7. Anderson Falls
Anderson Falls is a twelve-foot waterfall that is almost one hundred feet wide! It is on the Fall Fork of Clifty Creek and is located about eight miles from Columbus on County Road 1140 E.
8. Brown County State Park
Due to the park’s resemblance to the Smoky Mountains, the area has earned the nickname "Little Smokies." The twenty miles of roadways offer several scenic vista lookouts. Brown County is Indiana's largest State Park; it boasts over 15,000 acres of nationally renowned scenic beauty. Established in 1929, it is a popular tourist stop during the fall foliage season, but the park can be busy at any time of the year.
Columbus, Indiana is a must-visit spot for Hoosiers wishing to learn about Indiana’s rich history. For more info and further suggestions, visit