This post is a sponsored project with Texas Travel Talk. All opinions are my own.
Discover exciting adventures, family friendly activities, and a town full of rich history, in Columbus, Texas.
What can you find conveniently located between San Antonio, Austin, and Houston? The city of Columbus! This town is full of history and adventure, a little something for everyone. While there are festivals and events happening year round, the holidays might just be the best time to visit.
Santa Claus Museum
The Santa Claus museum is top of the list for making Columbus a holiday destination.
There is even a mailbox to drop off your letter to Santa!
There are only a handful of Santa Claus museums in the United States, and the Santa Claus Museum in Columbus is the only one like it in the south.
Inside you’ll find over 4,000 different Santa’s from all over the world including figurines, music boxes, dolls, dishes, ornaments, artwork, and needlework.
There is a nearly life-sized Santa from a department store in the 1950’s and a display where you can see the evolution of Santa and his reindeer.
Of course I was drawn to this crochet Santa and a snowman.
Santa collectors are likely to notice the artwork by Norman Rockwell and Thomas Nast, Lladró ceramic Santa’s, as well as a complete collection of Haddon Sundblom Coca-Cola Santa’s.
The Santa Claus museum is open for the holidays on Fridays and Saturdays from December 1-19. Hours are from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
While admission during the holiday season is free, monetary donations are gratefully accepted. The museum is also open by appointment only on other days, and does include an admission price.
Hatari Wildlife Park
After taking the family to the Santa Claus museum you might be ready to discover your wild side at Hatari Wildlife Park.
This is a brand new, drive-thru, safari park.
When you arrive you’ll be greeted with a bucket on animal food and a wildlife guide and then sent on your way.
You’ll travel first through the Dunes, a sandy rocky terrain with dry foliage and sparse grasses, and then into the Lower Grasslands, like the savanna, providing plenty of tall grass for grazing.
And if you like close encounters, you’re in for a treat. The animals were waiting to greet us as soon as we drove through the front gates.
And if you like close encounters, you’re in for a treat. The animals were waiting to greet us as soon as we drove through the front gates. Driving through Hatari we saw Roan, Emu, Sable, Gemsbok, Ostrich, Wildebeest, Bison, a Camel, and many more birds and animals.
Part-way through the Lower Grasslands you’ll have a chance to stop and get out of the car at the Explorer’s Retreat. Here is where you can visit the gift shop, grab a bite to eat, dig for artifacts, feed the giraffe, pet the barnyard animals, and take a stroll through the Lowland Forest range on a 3000ft boardwalk.
The Lowland Fores is an area filled with dense live oak trees and flooded swamp, and it’s where you’ll spot Kangaroo, Bongo, Red River Hog, and many more animals.
Like these peacocks! They were also enjoying a stroll along the boardwalk and seemed more than happy to be our tour guides.
Hatari Wildlife Park is open year round Thursday-Sunday, 9am to 4pm. Holiday hours may vary.
I love visiting historic courthouses, and the one in Columbus did not disappoint.
Restored to it’s 1900’s prime, my favorite part was inside on the second floor, where you look up in the main courtroom to view this spectacular Tiffany-style Glass Dome.
In Columbus there is history everywhere you turn. The Courthouse was built in 1890, the Stafford Opera House across the street was built in 1886, and just a couple blocks away you’ll find the Abram Alley Log Cabin which was built in 1836.
Built during the time of the Texas Revolution, this is a unique opportunity to glimpse early Texas pioneer life. The log cabin is just one stop on the historic driving tour, which is filled with historic homes and buildings.
Download the Columbus, TX app for a full driving tour of historic Columbus.
Where to Stay and Where to Eat
Vacation rentals has become my preferred way to stay, especially lately. A home all to myself where I can relax and unwind.
While Columbus boasts many charming Bed and Breakfasts that I would have loved to stay at (not in 2020), this vacation rental was completely perfect. Mary’s Nest, the name of the bungalow, is located in the heart of downtown Columbus, within walking distance of the Santa Claus museum and downtown shops. With three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a large front porch, and a full kitchen, it was everything we needed and more.
During my recent stay it was easy to get food to-go from local restaurants, and then take it to the house to eat. When picking a restaurant you’ll quickly see the influence of German, Mexican, Austrian, and Czech ancestors on this area of Texas.
We enjoyed some seafood Italian for dinner one night and I insisted on some delicious homemade kolaches from a market downtown for breakfast. I also enjoyed klobasneks for lunch one day.
With palm trees all around town, you know you can’t be that far from the beach. So yes, we took an excursion and went to see the Gulf of Mexico. Because when you’re driving down from Dallas, you can’t get that close to the beach and not go.
Go on a safari, write a letter to Santa, enjoy some delicious food, and make fond memories, all in Columbus, Texas.
Looking for more Texas Travel? Discover another Hill Country gem, La Grange.