41Today Staycation Nation: Columbus
Columbus, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The city of Columbus borders Georgia and Alabama, and sits on the Chattahoochee River.
For those looking to take on the outdoors, learn more about space and our nation’s military, it’s the perfect place to be.
Whitewater Express sends more than 40,000 people down 2.5 miles on the river each year.
“It’s the largest whitewater course currently in the world,” says Trip Leader Brentley Hudson.
You don’t have to be a professional to ride the rapids.
“It’s great for beginners, kids, the elderly who like to come out an enjoy,” says Hudson.
For thrill seekers, there is opportunity for you too. High waters allow you to kayak, wave board and surf.
“That’s a little bit more challenging,” says Hudson.
These rapids happen to be the largest man made waveshaper in the world.
“It is controlled by a 10 ton piece of steel and concrete. It has two large hydraulic presses on either side. The city, and uptown Columbus can adjust that pitch to adjust the waves that you see here.”
On dry land there is a 1,200 foot zip line stretching across the river and a ranger drop.
Trip Leader Brooke Nguyen says, “It takes about 30 seconds to get across and you can see the river as you’re zipping over. Sometimes there’s turtles swimming down there. They like to bunch up on the rocks. It’s really fun.”
There is never a dull moment at Whitewater Express.
Around the block, about three minutes headed near Columbus State University, you are able to experience Coca-Cola’s Space Science Center.
“Our mission here is to inspire the next generation of scientist, engineers and science educators,” says Executive Director Shawn Cruzen.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to check artifacts, simulators and get hands on with America’s space history.
“NASA decided not to give these [space engine nozzles] away to museums, because they wanted to use them again, so we’re among the very few places in America that you can go and see one of these nozzles on display,” says Cruzen.
The science center and the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center have a lot in common. Both are native to this region.
“This is a Smithsonian quality museum and it’s right here in Columbus, Georgia, because this is where it needs to be,” says Creative Director of the National Infantry Museum Foundation, Jordan Beck.
“So when you first enter the National Infantry Museum, you’re going to see our drum and the drum is the entrance-the entry way to the overview of infantry history. That will take you from the fields of the American Revolution to the Sands of Baghdad,” adds Beck.
Several key battles are replicated throughout the museum.
“It gives that experience to not only the military community to remind them to represent their service and honor them for the sacrifices that they are their battle buddies made, but for the civilian community to help explain,” says Beck.
To visit Whitewater Express in Columbus, call (706) 321-4720.
For more information on the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, call (706) 649-1470.
To visit the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, call (706) 653-9234.