Did you know there are only four ironclad from the Civil War left? And one of right here in Georgia! So why haven’t you driven two hours from Atlanta to go see it? Here’s everything you need to know to add this Columbus, Georgia Civil War museum to your US family road trip.

Designed around the Civil War artifacts, this museum houses the CSS Jackson, the largest surviving Confederate warship.   At more than 200 feet long, it’s remains are especially impressive when you step back to see the metal frame built to show its original size. Also present are other salvaged ships and replicas as well as weapons and equipment from the Civil War era. Leave time to explore the wall of detailed timeline of the Civil War; it’s enough in its own. 

C.S.S. Jackson - The Giant iron and wood frame of the Ironside inside the Civil War Naval Museum
CSS Jackson The Ironside Remains and Rebuilt Frame for Original Shape

Hours and Admission to the National Civil War Museum

Where is the Naval Museum in Georgia?

Located in Columbus, Georgia, this Civil War museum is only 1.5 hours south of Atlanta.

What are the Hours for the Civil War Museum?

This museum is open daily! Monday to Saturday 10 AM -4:30 PM; Sunday 10:30 AM -4:30 PM

How Much Time Do I Need?

Mon to Sat 10-4:30; Sun 10:30-4:30

How Much Does It Cost to Visit the CW Museum?

Adults $8, Seniors and Military $7; Kids $6; under 6 free

How Can I Save Money on My Naval Museum Ticket?

This Confederate naval museum gives full reciprocity for your home NARM museum. Consider joining this museum as your membership is a great way to support a small museum!

Do I Have to Pay for Parking?

There is a big connected lot.

Upclose Partial wooden remains of an Ironside from the civil war in the naval museum in Columbus, Georgia
Reproduction of an Ironside


Picnic tables are right at the side of the entrance. Leave your food in the car and picnic afterward. 


Inside the museum. 


  • Check out all their field trip offerings online for a cheap rate for your group.
  • Special events are happening year-round which are listed through their website. 
Replica wooden U.S.S. Hartford in the Civil War Naval Museum
Reproduction of the USS Harford to Walk Through and See the Inside Rooms


  • There are only a few, slightly interactive exhibit areas for the littler kids. Other than walking through reconstructed ships (which are cool in their own right), there aren’t specific “play areas”.
  • With all the history and reading to absorb, this is definitely a museum for older kids and grown-ups if you want to stay long enough to read it all. 


Covering all of the Civil War, this is a great place to review so much history of the time period and not just related to naval battles. Learn about the different types of ships, ironclads, and early submarines that were used during the Civil War. Learn about artifact recovery and electrolysis to remove rust. Study the flags. Read the real-life stories of the brave sailors and soldiers. Imagine life inside the ships. See guns and cannons and swords. Discuss how advanced the engines were for the time and think about all the hours and men (slave labor) required for the amazing construction. 


  • It’s only a five minute drive to the Columbus Museum and downtown Columbus, Georgia.
  • The Naval Museum is located right on the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, so allow time to go down to see it or bring your bikes and scooters to hop on the paved trail. 

Looking for even more places to explore in Georgia, check out my Welcome to Georgia page.

The Wooden Top of an Ironside deck at the Columbus, Georgia museum
Looking at the Wooden Top of an Ironside

📚 Books: 

Big Bad Ironclads! (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #2): A Civil War Tale
By Nathan Hale
This is book 2 of the 11 hazardous tales stories. These graphic novels are great history reading material for elementary level kids, especially if you’re trying to get your hesitant-to-read-boy willing to read for fun. This book got my son interested in learning more about the Civil War ironclads.

Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs. The Virginia
By Patrick O’Brien
This upper level picture book speaks to the development of the first iron clads by both the Union and Confederate during the Civil war leading up to the 1862 confrontation. Pre-reading this book before your trip to the Naval Museum will make the exhibits so much more meaningful.

Iron Thunder: The Battle Between the Monitor & the Merrimac – A Civil War Novel
By Avi
When a boy takes a job during the Civil War working on the construction of an iron clad, he ends up helping the inventor finalize the Monitor for its battle with the Confederate Merrimac. This shorter novel, along with so many by this same author, throws you into history and is a great read for boys and girls alike.

🔗Link. https://www.portcolumbus.org

Two kids snacking at some Picnic Tables with nearby Cannons at the Civil War Naval Museum
Picnic Tables and Cannons at the Civil War Naval Museum

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