Free Things to Do that the Whole Family Will Enjoy!
(Plus Fun Things for $5 and under)
We love Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley and the many options for family fun. But many of these magical moments come at a price. Good news: there are a number of venues, parks, nature preserves, and even museums where you can take the kids for free. Read on to find out our favorites spots for truly free family fun.
Home Depot Kids Workshop
Participate in a free Home Depot Kids Workshop in either Columbus, GA or Phenix City, AL. Home Depot offers free workshops for kids on the First Saturday of each month. You can register online or can walk in the store.
Sculpture Walk on Broadway
Look for original sculptures and artwork on the corners of Broadway between the blocks of 9th-13th Streets and also in the median.
Columbus Parks & Recreation
Columbus Parks & Rec provides passive and active recreational, educational, and cultural programming services for all age groups.
The Water Park at 5th Street Sports Complex has buckets, fountains, water slides, and much more.
Like to skateboard? Check out the Jonathan Hatcher Skateboard Park next to the Columbus Civic Center. Open daily. Users under the age of 12 MUST be supervised by a parent or guardian. Skate at your own risk.
Slide down the rocks or go biking on marked trails at Flat Rock Park. This beautiful local park is located on Warm Springs Road.
Feed the ducks at Cooper Creek Park, located on Milgen Road.
Columbus Aquatic Center
The Columbus Aquatic Center located on Macon Road features two pools: an Olympic size swimming pool and a smaller Warm UP Pool. The center is open year-round.
The RiverWalk Splash Pad provides loads of fun for little ones and the older ones. The Splash Pad is open mid-April to Labor Day weekend.
Phenix City Splash Pads
Phenix City has two splash pads for your family to enjoy. Visit the Southside Park Splash Pad (2625 Sandfort Road) or visit the Idle Hour Splash Pad (900 Airport Rd). Both pads are connected to playgrounds. Both are open seven days a week from 10 am to 8 pm, weather permitting.
The Columbus RiverWalk has a 22-mile liner paved trail that follows the Chattahoochee River. The path takes you from Downtown Columbus to the drill fields of Fort Benning, with lots of stops interesting stops in between that include parks and attractions.
Take a leisurely bike ride along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk to see the rich heritage of Columbus. Bikes are available to rent on Broadway in Uptown Columbus.
Do the RiverWalk GeoTour. Geocaching is a fun activity your whole family will enjoy, especially along the Chattahoochee RiverWalk.
The RiverWalk Island is one of the best places to view kayaking and whitewater rafting. You’ll find it directly below the Eagle & Phenix apartment complex. The Island is open daily from 9 am – 8 pm, depending on the weather.
Lounge in a hammock in the new hammock park, located at Woodruff Park next to the Dillingham Street bridge. The pocket park is composed of eight wooden posts with hooks for stringing up hammocks. At least eight people can use the area at once, and perhaps more if tension straps are used instead of the hooks.
Chattahoochee Valley Libraries
Visit one of the multiple libraries in Columbus and Phenix City and participate in one of their many structured story times. Each branch library provides hours of reading and has free events all week long. Be sure to check out the free family passes for Atlanta Zoo, Go-Fish, and Georgia State Parks.
Established in 1988, the corner features five preserved homes representing different eras of Georgia history. Among them is the Pemberton House, once the home of local pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton. He is renowned today as the inventor of Coca-Cola.
Columbus has many playgrounds for some outdoor fun. The Bridging the Gap playground (located behind the Columbus Public Library) is specially designed so that it is accessible to children of all abilities and helps stimulate kids’ senses to help them work better. Maintained by the city, this amazing playground was loving built through the generous donations of private funds.
RiverMarket Antiques & Lunchbox Museum
Take a walk down the memory lane at RiverMarket Antiques. Rivermarket Antiques includes the Lunchbox Museum, the Museum of Southern Stoneware, the Museum of Transportation Memorabilia, and the Antique Mall.
Tour Historic Linwood Cemetery -Tour Columbus’s first cemetery. See the grave of such notables as Dr. John S. Pemberton: the pharmacist who concocted the secret formula to Coca-Cola.
Uptown has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past 25 years. Check the many free music and other events throughout the year in Uptown Columbus. Explore the Market on Broadway, where over 200 local vendors selling homemade and homegrown products line the wide sidewalks every Saturday. The shops on Broadway are some of the best locally owned and operated retailers. Whether you’re looking for clothing, jewelry, unique gifts, new running shoes, or local cuisine.
Check out the Industrial Heritage of Columbus at the Heritage Park. Also, be sure to take a walk along 11th street to visit the historic homes.
Check out the Young Eagles Program (Free airplane rides for kids ages 8-17) and Flightways Tours (Tour of the Airport and ARFF Fire Station) at the Columbus Regional Airport. Offered the last Saturday of every month, weather permitting. Pre-registration required.
The RiverCenter for Performing Arts hosts many free and cheap performances by Columbus Youth Orchestra and Schwob Music Center and other performers. Check the calendar for these events.
Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center – It has wildlife exhibits featuring snakes, fish, alligators, turtles, and tortoises among other animals. Do not forget to register for the Treetop Canopy trail in advance for the older kids. Admission is $5.
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Fort Benning- Meet the soldier face to face and see how the Infantry makes a man into a soldier. Visit the Family Gallery and try on uniforms and explore the interior of a tank. The Patriot Park Giant Screen Theatre inside the National Infantry Museum hosts Kids Film Fests during the school holidays. The films are FREE to the public and are offered twice each day.
Vite the remnants of two Confederate States Navy vessels inside this 40,000-square-foot facility. Also on display are uniforms, equipment, and weapons used by the United States Navy from the North and the Confederate States Navy forces. Admission is $8 for adults. Children 6 and under get in Free.
Jonathan Hatcher Skateboard Park
Go Skateboarding at the Jonathan Hatcher Skateboard Park near the Columbus Civic Center.
Check out the American art exhibits and Transformations – which is a special Children’s wing for a hands-on play — at the Columbus Museum. It’s always changing and always free!
Columbus Botanical Garden – It has something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a quiet place to read, start a family adventure or some brisk exercise on their walking trails and paths and of course beautiful gardens.
Columbus Black History Museum
Find out more about Black history and its contribution to Columbus’s heritage at the Columbus Black History Museum and Archives.
Kadie the Cow
Kadie the Cow is a reminder of the dairy farm, Kinnett Farms. You can now see the larger-than-life cow in a vacant parking lot along Manchester Expressway, just west of Peachtree Mall. The Kinnett Dairies statue of Kadie has stood in place since 1967 and the property was sold to Best Buy Co, Inc. in 1998. The company opened the location as a store in 2003. As part of the purchase, Kadie was deeded to the City of Columbus as a historic landmark. In April 2022, she was moved to Woodruff Riverwalk Park, 1000 Bay Avenue, where she stands watch over the splash pad.
Drive the Black Heritage Trail, an urban trail connecting 30 African American Heritage Points of interest in Uptown Columbus. The Trail features many contributions and significant events in the African-American history of Columbus.
Fall Line Trace
Starting at the Rails to Trails parking area (3690 Manchester Expw) and walk or bike the Fall Line Trace. There is a playground adjacent to the rest area parking lot.
Burger King Train Station
Visit the Burger King Train Station (3103 Gentian Blvd). This chain restaurant resembles an old train depot, with a ticket booth and train cars.
Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble hosts a Saturday reading program. Every Saturday a book is read and there is a free activity.
Visit the Landing Pad children’s play and rest area at the Landings on Airport Thruway. Then enjoy a frozen treat at the adjacent Freeze Frame Yogurt Shop.
Visit the Under the Sea play area at Peachtree Mall. Located next to Macy’s.
Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only as a service of Muscogee Moms LLC. Please call ahead and confirm the hours and admission fees (if any) before going.