With thousands of artifacts, monuments, interactive exhibits and video presentations on display, the National Infantry Museum was named the best free museum in the nation by the 2016 USA Today Readers’ Choice poll. This 190,000-square-foot facility opened in 2009 and has one guiding mission: to honor the legacy and valor of the U.S. Army Infantryman. Beginning with the Revolutionary War, experience 240+ years of American battles that put you in the fight for the Last 100 Yards. Coming soon, the immersive simulators will be next to none, allowing guests to take a shot at the rifle range–the same combat simulator used by the U.S. Army–or, climb aboard the Humvee and participate in a rescue mission seen on surrounding screens. Guests can also take in the action by viewing a military documentary in the Giant Screen Theater. The National Infantry Museum shows guests what it takes to be a U.S. Army Soldier and is a reminder of why freedom isn’t free. Visitors of all ages can experience firsthand the American Infantryman’s journey to defeat tyranny around the globe. The National Infantry Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is suggested. Group tours are available.
If you go
Breathe new life into the entire experience and come full circle with a visit to Columbus’ nearby Fort Benning where you can watch with awe–and new meaning–as soldiers parade down the street. Also nearby, the Columbus Whitewater experience is the largest urban whitewater course in the world and rounds out a visit to the area with another exhilarating dose of adrenaline-raising excitement. Stay near the Infantry at the practically on-site hotel and spend a weekend or week-long getaway exploring true Americana. Museum Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed Mondays) Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Free admission, $5 donation per person requested. Expand the inspiration and connect with the National Infantry Museum on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. For more information, visit: www.NationalInfantryMuseum.org.