Unique Points of Interest

Some interesting Marion County attractions or places to visit include the following:

Pearl River Interpretive Plaza

Walter Payton's sculpture overlooks Columbia High School's Payton Field at Gardner Stadium.

Walter Payton’s sculpture overlooks Columbia High School’s Payton Field at Gardner Stadium.

Walter Payton Sculpture

Columbia is proud to be the home of National Football League Legend and Hall of Famer Walter Payton. A memorial sculpture of the famous running back overlooks the football field of his alma mater, Columbia High School. The sculpture is titled “Sweetness,” the name by which Payton was known to his teammates. During his career, Payton racked up 16,726 yards and scored 110 rushing touchdowns for the Chicago Bears who drafted him in the first round of NFL selections in 1975. He led the Bears to a 1985 Super Bowl win, 46-10 over the New England Patriots.


Hill HardwareHillHardware_small

Opened in 1901 by the Hill brothers, Hill Hardware is the oldest business in downtown Columbia. Its architecture and atmosphere present a glimpse into yesteryear, while offering modern amenities and inventory… and free popcorn!


White Squirrels

The white squirrels seen in Columbia, especially in the Friendship Park area, are not albino, but rather a unique species that was introduced into Columbia by Governor Hugh White.


Beekeeper Dwight Wesley exhibits his beehives to visitors.

Beekeeper Dwight Wesley exhibits his beehives to visitors.

Wesley Bee Farm

Marion County is a winter home to thousands of bee hives but D.L. Wesley is an       established local beekeeper and manages several colonies. His honey has garnered   many state fair awards and he loves to share his amazing honey bees with visitors… AND his honey, too! For more information or for educational tours call 601.736.6385.


PioneerAerospacePioneer Aerospace

Pioneer Aerospace began operation in Columbia in 1933 and has designed and manufactured recovery systems for NASA’s Jupiter Galileo Probe, the Space Shuttle, the Mars Pathfinder missions, the Genesis Solar Particle Return Capsule, the Stardust Comet Intercept Probe and Mars Exploration Rovers projects. Additionally, in 1999 Pioneer built the world’s largest Para foil at 7,500 sq ft for NASA’s x-38 Crew Return Vehicle—and emergency escape system for the international Space Station.