Trinidad may be known more for sunny beaches and its wild Carnivals than its museums, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t institutions helping to preserve and share the island’s culture.

The National Museum and Art Gallery is an excellent introduction to the rich heritage of the island nation and to its top artists. Located opposite Memorial Park on Frederick St. in Port of Spain, the National Museum’s exhibits shed light on the culture, economy and history of Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the most prized items in the museum’s collection of over 10,000 are paintings by Trinidad’s first great painter Michel-Jean Cazabon. As of Jan. 2009, the art gallery was closed for renovations, but the museum was still open. Be sure to check in advance if the art gallery is open. There are also a number of smaller museums affiliated with the National Museum scatted around Port of Spain, including the Museum of the City of Port of Spain at Fort San Andrés and the Museum of the Police Service at Police Headquarters on St. Vincent St.

Just outside of Arouca, the Lopinot Complex is a palatial estate and cocoa plantation established by the French count Charles Joseph de Lopinot. The mansion has been restored and is now operated as a museum. It is definitely worth checking out if you’re in Arouca, though it is probably not worth a trek from Port of Spain.

West of Arima's city limits is a small recreational park called Cleaver Woods with a replica ancient AmerIndian hut that doubles as a museum. A few AmerIndian artifacts along with a fairly concise early history of the island and replica AmerIndian artifacts make the stop worthwhile if traveling to the NE coast from Port of Spain. The park also has picnic tables for family outings in the Woods.

Located at a former U.S. military base, the Chaguaramas Military History and Aerospace Museum in Chaguaramas details the military activity in the area through a series of exhibits set up in the site’s airplane hangars.