Of course the beaches and sea are the main attraction in the Bahamas.  However, if you enjoy history and culture you will be able to fill a day with a tour of historical landmarks including art museums, a pirate museum, pink government buildings, beautiful botanical gardens and so much more.

The Bahamas was settled by many different cultures including Arawak and Lucayan Indians, British Colonialists, Spanish and West Africans, so the sites you see reflect those cultures.   Some of these historic sites are close together so you can walk from one to the next and to some you will have to take a taxi.

Ardastra Zoo, Gardens and Conservation Center has something for both kids and adults with it's variety of animals and marching flamingos, yes they are trained to march!  As well as turtles, lemurs, monkeys and two jaguars.  The gardens feature native plants and flowers, exotic fruit trees, coconut palms, bromeliads, orchids, brilliantly colored bougainvillea and hibiscus blossoms of every hue.  Visit their website for more information on the gardens and zoo at www.ardastra.com.

A short cab ride away or a 20 minute walk from the zoo is historic Fort Charlotte and Government House.  Fort Charlotte is the largest of the three forts in Nassau and offers a fabulous view of Nassau Harbor.  It features a waterless moat, a canon and underground dungeons.  It was built in 1789.  Government house is a beautiful pink building and is the official home of the Governor General of the Bahamas since 1801.  Here, kids will enjoy watching the changing of the guard and the police marching band.

Just head east a little ways up the street to Parliament Square with more colonial style pink buildings.  And just a little south between East Street and Collins Avenue is Fort Fincastle, the Water Tower and the Queen's Staircase.  The magnificent staircase was carved out of the limestone rock in the 18th century.  Walk to the top of the 65 stairs to get to Fort Fincastle, which was built in 1793, to see amazing views of the island.

The Bahamas Historical Society Museum provides a plethora of information about life on the islands prior to the arrival of European settlers. On display at the museum are exhibits featuring archeological, anthropological, and historical collections. Located at the corner of Shirley Street and Elizabeth Avenue, the museum is open Monday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and closed Sundays. Price of admission is $1 for adults, and .50 cents for children between the ages of 5 and 12.

Pirates of Nassau is an interactive museum that offers visitors a first-hand look at the Golden Age of Piracy, where the port of Nassau took center-stage. A highlight of the museum is a replica of the pirate ship Revenge, which visitors are encouraged to board and explore. The museum is located at the corner of George and King Streets, and is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Price of admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children between the ages of 3 and 18. In addition, one child under the age of 12 is given free admission per paying adult.

The Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation, housed in a building that once was the location of slave auctions during the 1700s, is dedicated to teaching visitors about slavery and its impact on the people of the Bahamas.

For more information visit www.NassauParadiseIsland.com and www.Bahamas.com .  Don't forget to bring your camera!