The city of Warner Robins lies in central Georgia, the southern point of an imaginary triangle formed with Atlanta to the north and Augusta to the east.
While located in the state’s plateau region, Warner Robins is less than 250 kilometres from both the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.
The city is even close to the bustling metropolis of Atlanta, just 160 kilometres north, and the authentic rural vistas of peanut farms and endless cornfields often associated with the US south in the popular imagination.
When it was founded in 1942, Warner Robins was a rural community called Wellston that was little more than an isolated halt on the rail line.
Renamed with the arrival of the US Air Force, the military continues to play a key role in the city’s economy and lifestyle, which has been recognised as one of the finest in the state.
Here are the best things to do in Warner Robins, Georgia:
1. Museum of Aviation
You’ll find the Museum of Aviation on the eastern edge of incorporated Warner Robins. It is the second largest museum dedicated to aerospace run by the US Air Force, and welcomes more visitors than any other attraction in Georgia outside of Atlanta.
Spanning four exhibition buildings and a total of 21 hectares, the museum contains 85 aircraft from right across aviation’s first hundred years.
Some of the museum’s most iconic vehicles include B-29 and B-52 bombers, a U-2 spy plane, and the uniquely-shaped Cold War veteran the Blackbird.
The example on display is the record holder for the faster flight airspeed, of just over 3,500 kilometres per hour. Set in 1976, it’s a record that’s yet to be broken.
2. Rigby’s Water World and Entertainment Complex
Still large at almost half the size of the Museum of Aviation is Rigby’s Water World theme park.
One of the largest water parks in Georgia as a result, it boasts around 20 slide-based rides and a further 40 additional water activities, including a large water bucket and popular Runaway Rapids, where visitors ride tubes ‘downriver’.
In addition, there’s a good-sized adult swimming pool, and cabanas for up to eight which can be rented by the day.
In the same location you’ll also find Rigby’s Entertainment Complex, which copies the attractions of a traditional amusement arcade, with games machines, laser tag, roller skating and mini-golf housed here.
3. Historic Depot Row
This National Historic Site comprises four different buildings that began life as a rail depot with segregated passenger waiting rooms.
Today it houses a series of spaces that will enthral anyone with an interest in the region’s history. Fittingly, one of the main exhibits is a Southern Railroad caboose – or railroad car.
Mildred’s County Store is jam-packed with local antiques dating from each of the city’s seven decades.
The Elberta Depot contains a small museum supplying the detail behind these objects, with displays featuring the birth of the city, rail lines, and links with the air force base.
The Georgia Artisan Centre is the place to head for all your unique Georgia-made souvenirs.
4. International City Golf Club
Offering a driving range, pro-shop, and public 18-hole golf course, this club offers day ticketing for anyone who fancies practicing their swing within the great outdoors around Warner Robins.
Opened in 1958, its main course was designed by Lou Burnett, and blends effortlessly with the area’s tree cover. Water also plays a significant role on this par 72 course, and can be found in one way or another on six of the holes.
As an indication of the sort of playing skill you’ll need, the club says its easiest hole is hole 18, a par five hole of 460 yards.
5. Little Theatre
The Warner Robin’s Little Theatre is a community theatre that has been putting on shows just about as long as Warner Robins has been in existence.
Its small band of passionate amateurs and professionals manage to put on five main shows each season, as well as a series of workshops and special events.
Its programme shifts from serious dramas to musicals and comedies.
6. Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park
Ocmulgee Mounds is one of the best places to undercover the sometimes-hidden history of the region’s native Americans, who were forced from their ancestral lands in the 1800s.
Covering more than 17,000 years of the South Appalachian Mississippi culture, its most significant remains date back around 1,000 years.
Grass earthworks shape the landscape into a series of defences trenches, burial mounds, ceremonial mounds, and even a Great Temple complex.
A wooden staircase leads to the summit of the Great Temple mound, providing views across the site and the surrounding woodland.
The park is located approximately 30 minutes north of Warner Robins, on the outskirts of Macon.
7. Tybee Island
Georgia has roughly 180 kilometres of Atlantic coastline, and while it might not be known for its beaches outside of the United States, it should be remembered that Georgia is just north of Florida.
Tybee Island is one of 15 barrier islands that dot this stretch of coast. A homely beachside destination, the island has an almost unbelievable beach, stretching long and wide with clean pale sands lapped by warm and gentle waves.
Elsewhere, visitors can check out the black and white lighthouse, that dates to 1736, and its museum, and the historic Fort Screven.
Tybee Island can be reached in three hours by heading west along Interstate 16.
8. International City Farmers Market
Warner Robins holds its ‘international city’ nickname because of its ethnic diversity, and has been Georgia’s official international city since 1968.
Some of this diversity can be discovered from the viewpoint of peoples’ stomachs at its weekly farmers’ market. It pops up each Thursday afternoon at the corner of Maple Street and Watson Boulevard.
In addition to a range of locally-grown fruits and vegetables, dependent on the season, the market has become a great place to sample the menus of many of the city’s small food businesses. You can often also find small artisan items such as bath bombs.
9. War-Town Escape Artists
Nothing to do with artistic talent (that comes with later things to do in Warner Robins), War-Town Escape Artists offer a series of escape rooms to which you can test your code breaking skills.
You have an hour to attempt to get out of a locked room, using the series of clues you – hopefully – unearth to lead you on your way.
However, should you need a little help, a games master will enter the room with you and be on hand. If successful, you can compare you time to those on the leader board.
10. Fine Art Society
Downtown Warner Robins is the home of the Fine Art Society of Middle Georgia. Visitors are welcome to explore the small gallery space, and maybe even pick up a new piece for a wall at home.
The society also offers regular classes, for everyone from beginners and children to semi-professionals.
A similar experience in a slightly less formal atmosphere can be had at Lush Art, next door to the War-Town Escape Artists.
Meanwhile, The Painted Door also hosts sessions in which you can create your very own masterpiece, before or after viewing the artworks for sale that hang from its walls.
11. Tubman Museum
This museum is named after prominent African-American Harriet Tubman, whose portrait will be found on newer $20 bills. An escaped slave, she became an important player in the Underground Railroad which helped slaves to escape the southern states.
The museum is the leading exhibition space for African-American art and culture in the southeast of the US, with a collection that ranges from historic artefacts to modern sculpture and artwork.
Its walls are covered with a 17-metre mural that depicts the voyage of African-American ancestors from Africa to the New World. Exhibits include those focussing on the life of George Washington Carver, an important agricultural scientist in the early twentieth century.
The Tubman Museum is in Macon.
12. Wellston Trail
The Wellston Trail is a short walking and jogging route through central Warner Robins. Its eastern end lies within Fountain Park, before following the course of Bay Gall Creek for 3.2 kilometres.
Flat and paved, it’s suitable for all the family, and is one of a number of walking trails in the area.
Passing through shaded woodland for the first half of its length, Wellston Trail then enters friendly residential neighbourhoods, giving an idea of how people in this part of Georgia live.
If you’d like to stretch your legs a little more, consider the six-kilometre Hitchiti Loop Trail in Gray, taking in the Ocmulgee River and good bird-watching territory.
Gray is 50 kilometres from Warner Robins.
13. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
Although it is called a park, this site consists of a series of buildings in Atlanta that relate to the life of Martin Luther King Jr, one of the leading figures in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
These include his childhood home, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was christened as a baby.
For anyone who lacks a little knowledge about the Civil Rights movement, there’s a visitor centre and museum that charts its development, and the role of Martin Luther King within it.
Visitors can also pay their respects to King, who was assassinated in 1968, at his grave. The state capital of Georgia, Atlanta lies just over 150 kilometres north of Warner Robins.
14. Walker’s Pond
Open to the public for just a few years, Walker’s Pond used to be the private property of the Walker family – hence its name.
The pond is large enough to have rafts of vegetation floating across its surface, and is surrounded by trees, making it a great place for a relaxing couple of hours.
A short one-kilometre path rings the pond, which has been a haven for indigenous plant and animal species for decades.
15. Panola Mountain State Park
Panola Mountain is a granite outcrop typical of the region. It is close to Stockbridge, an hour and a half north of Warner Robins.
A pristine wilderness, it is said to have changed little since the arrival of Europeans on North American shores.
Forest trails span the park for those looking to get use out of their hiking boots, while paved trails are also available for cyclists.
Other activities within the park include archery, orienteering, and fishing in Lake Alexander.