The friendly folk at History SA are about to emerge from their nest at the Torrens Parade Ground and distribute this year's About Time History Festival guide. It contains a listing of over 500 tasty events scattered all about South Australia for history lovers to consume, and the best part is that many of them are free.
About Time is full of things to do in Adelaide and the regions of South Australia, so that nobody need miss out. I've managed to get a sneak peek at the program, and have some suggestions for exciting things to see and do. For the full program you'll need to race out to your local library and pick up a printed copy before they disappear, or view it online.
Do remember that bookings often fill very quickly, so if you see something that you like then book early.
In Adelaide One of the perennially popular activities for kids and families is a visit to the old Adelaide Gaol, and there's no better time to visit than on the Three Dollar Day. Of course that's $3 per person, but it's still quite a discount over the usual entrance charge and there will be plenty of activities for kids too.
Garden Secrets is a guided walk in the Botanic Gardens which will reveal a rustic temple, Diana's Island, Wardian cases, a Victorian palm grove, Adelaide's Crystal Palace, Crimean War guns and other secrets in this historic garden dating from 1855. Don't forget to visit the fantastic wetlands while you're there.
Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside Parliament House? Take a guided tour and explore - whose seat will you take in the House of Assembly? Be prepared for a battle as the fight for the seats was very hard fought.
Many people in Adelaide are migrants (or descended from migrants), and History SA's Migration Museum has several activities and reunions connected with its Hostel Stories exhibition (bookings required).
It's whale watching time again, and at the SA Museum you'll be able to pick up tips on viewing them from the South Australian Whale Centre. There'll be great activities for kids, so bring them along too.
The Crime and Punishment tour of the West Terrace Cemetery sounds quite thrilling, discovering graves of criminals and their victims. And if you like that, check out the Unfortunate Ends and Peculiar Practices tour too. Cost is $5 for adults, kids are free (bookings essential).
Fans of Adelaide architecture will want to take one of the City of Great Buildings tour - there are a few different choices and they're all free, but bookings are essential.
History SA and UniSA have combined to bring us ASIO, Don Dunstan and the Cold War in South Australia, which sounds like it will shed some fascinating insights on some of SA's darker secrets - free, but bookings are essential.
In the Suburbs
The National Trust has a display of vintage Fire Engines on Sunday May 25 at Beaumont House, which will delight many Adelaide kids. Admission for adults is $5 while children get in for free.
Check out Sluggo the Cat's Walking Trail in Prospect, and learn more about local history anytime in May for free. There's lots of things to do and activities for kids along the way.
Take a guided tour showing history of South Australian flight from 1910 to the present day at the SA Aviation Museum. Their F111 jet is very popular with all the family. (Admission charges apply).
For $5 the Maritime Museum will take you on a cruise of Port Adelaide's Inner Harbour in the Archie Badenoch. See the Birkenhead Bridge, Hart's Mill, Fletcher's Slip, the former General Motors Holden site and Dock 2, and maybe even some dolphins if you're lucky.
The Army Museum celebrates its centenary in 2014, join them for a guided tour of Keswick Barracks and explore South Australia's military history from colonial times.
Take a free bike tour (free bikes available) exploring a new trial heritage trail in Hindmarsh, or visit historic Fort Glanville and watch the spectacular military drills and canon firing - Adelaide kids just love to watch these displays. (Admission charges apply).
Unfortunately the government now has plans to sell the 1883 Fort Largs to a developer, even though it has never been open to the public. If you don't agree with this, make your feelings known and join the Facebook group protesting the sale. You can see a video of the fort which is heritage listed, although it could be de-listed at any time.
The Regions of South Australia
Take a Gawler Dark History Tour, find out What's in a Name? in the Adelaide Hills, discover A Hidden Gem in Cockatoo Valley or take a Heritage Workshop on Dry-Stone Walling in the Fleurieu Peninsula.
All About South Australia
Our country cousins are just as keen on history, and you can explore a cemetery at Mannum, learn about the Roundhouse at Murray Bridge, cruise on a historic paddle steamer at Goolwa, and join a History Swap and Share at Mount Gambier. The history festival is not just for Adelaide kids and their families!
Join in the Fun
History SA's About Time History Festival website has an easy search facility which lets you search by keyword (eg "free"), or you can browse by date or location. It makes things so easy to find.
If you'd rather have a paper copy of the program, then try your local library first, or check local councils, museums and tourist information centres. But be quick, as the popular events are booked out early.
If Fort Largs is to be sold off to developers the Government could make a few extra dollars out of it by delaying its sale till after May. Then, for a fee, the public could visit it during the History Festival.