If you have never taken the kids to Vivid, this is the year to do it! Vivid Sydney 2018 is going to be the most dazzling display ever and we can’t wait. So if you don’t live nearby, book your flights or plan a drive ’cause you don’t want to miss out.
Vivid Sydney is the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas and now the largest event in Australia. The event runs for 23 days – from 25 May to 16 June 2018 and transforms precincts all over Sydney into colourful canvases of living light. Some of our favourite Vivid locations include Circular Quay & The Rocks, Barangaroo, Taronga Zoo, Chatswood, Darling Harbour, and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
And we’re really excited that for the first time, the festival extends to new precinct Luna Park Sydney, with a large-scale projection on Coney Island. Also, Customs House is back in the mix this year and will be transformed into a charming journey through the Australian bush with author May Gibbs’ beloved characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, who are celebrating their 100-year anniversary.
SEE THE LIGHTS UP HIGH AT SYDNEY TOWER EYE
For something a little different, rise above the hustle and bustle and experience the stunning city lights during VIVID Sydney from Sydney’s highest point, the Sydney Tower Eye.
Perched 250 metres above the streets below, the Observation Deck will transform into a colourful light spectacular with activities suitable for kids of all ages.
The colourful celebrations include an interactive dance floor (from 9am daily) and glow-in-the-dark face painting every Saturday from 5 – 7pm. Kids can show off their best dancing moves while parents sit back, relax with a coffee and soak up the 360 degree views of the stunning Sydney skyline.
At 6pm, daily VIVID SKYWALK tours will provide guests (8 years old and up) with the chance to admire the lights from above, avoiding the crowds below.
FIRST FLEET PARK
Our first stop for family-friendly VIVID is First Fleet Park. First Fleet Park provides the perfect, family-friendly setting to enjoy Vivid Sydney 2018, and is located right on Circular Quay, which offers views onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and Customs House, all of which will be lit up as part of the festival.
The family-friendly highlights in this precinct include:
Fugu is a kinetic lighting sculpture of a pufferfish, which captivates audiences by expanding and contracting its spiky rotating form. As visitors gather, Fugu comes to life, his swirling body expanding, glowing and pulsating in colours inspired by marine life.
Wobbelees entices visitors into play with four oversized roly-poly toys that, when pushed or knocked or nudged off centre, return themselves to an upright position. When pushed, the Wobbelees wobble from side to side changing colour and making sounds each time it tilts. The installation is designed to be engaged by and accessible to all participants, regardless of size, age and mobility.
The Garden of Sweeties invites families and children to learn more about how solar panels, luminescent powder and mechanical energy can be used as a source of renewable energy. The installation takes a playful approach to entice interaction by presenting its components in the form of sweets, lollipops and striped candy canes scattered across a green corner of First Fleet Park.
Harmony Valley – Rainbow of Peace & Trees of Friendship is comprised of a set of large inflatable sculptures inspired by Japanese ‘kawaii’ culture. Visitors can interact with the sculpture by forming a human chain that connects with each end of the rainbow, which will prompt the sculpture to spring into life with new sounds, animations and brilliant pulsing light.
Peacock is an abstract depiction of the bird, its feathers represented by a series of colour-changing light tubes. The tubes are held in one line by 11 huge metal rings, which allow the work to offer a variety of light and form perspectives. Visitors also can also pass through the rings, which form a tunnel of light where all the colours from the peacock feathers merge together.
My recommendation for one of the best family-friendly places to experience Vivid is at Taronga Zoo. It’s easy to park, it’s pram friendly and the lights are spectacular!
This year’s theme of Vivid at Taronga Zoo is Light For the Wild. The zoo will be shining a light on conservation and the wonders of wildlife with a spectacular display of light sculptures. Alongside the festival favourites from last year, you’ll meet a whole new mob of awe-inspiring animal light sculptures.
Wander through a marine world to meet some of NSW’s most endangered aquatic species and emerge from the mouth of a Port Jackson Shark as it splashes through the façade of Taronga’s heritage entrance. Tread quietly through the Sumatran jungle to encounter endangered and ferocious animals along the way before stepping into our Taronga Centenary Theatre to behold a multi-award winning animated film, presented here as a 270-degree cinematic experience. Pause a while and rest beneath a canopy of stars and a glowing planet earth as imagined by children, before a final journey through an illuminated Australian bushscape takes everyone all the way home again.
Each of these incredible installations and light sculptures tells a fascinating tale about conservation. Discover the stories about these beautiful animals and learn how Taronga is working to help save 10 species from extinction over the next 10 years.
There are three sessions per night and limited availability of American Express Sky Pass tickets, which provide access to the Taronga Zoo Sky Safari at night to view the zoo from above and get a unique perspective of Vivid Sydney.
This year Vivid Sydney at Chatswood offers up an unforgettable experience for kids with Lightscape, an eclectic celebration of food, fashion, light and the planet cosmos.
At Chatswood Interchange, the Sky Portal will transport kids to alternate realities where they can swim in the Great Barrier Reef, wander among icebergs or walk along dry river beds in an interactive video experience. Nearby at the Magic Carpet, kids can bounce with bubbles, swim with fish, frolic with flowers and scatter stars in the highly responsive projection game.
At Westfield Chatswood, kids can gather under Crank Zappa the hot tempered electric jellyfish, touch its tentacles and watch as he comes to life, reacting to touch, pulsating and illuminating different colours.
Children will love the crazy professor managing the Liquid Lies installation at Chatswood Mall, which tests children on their skills of deception. Children will also be astonished when the park benches along the mall come to life to strike up a conversation at the I have Feelings Too installation
Futurescape at The Concourse will take kids and families on a visual journey through space, starting at the big bang and continuing on through the solar system onto distant galaxies with nebulas and black holes. Kids’ eyes will light up as they are immersed in the spectacular 360 degree projection featuring amazing NASA imagery. Families will feel as if they are on their own space exploration.
Vivid Sydney at Chatswood runs from 5.30pm to 10.30pm every night from the 25 May until the 16 June. For more information, visit: www.visitchatswood.com.au/vivid-2018
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN SYDNEY
These gardens are yet another gorgeous kid-friendly spot to view the VIVID lights. Start your visit at the QEII gates near the Opera House forecourt. Take a selfie at The Bloom, a giant electric, metallic flower featuring petals adorned with mirrors that refract and reflect light, puts you in the centre of the flower capturing the perfect photo moment. And be mesmerised by The Nautilus Forest, made up of 24 colourful and illuminated spiralling trees
Aqueous will dazzle with its interactive landscape of meandering pathways of light, which will flow and glow in full illuminated interactivity, engaging visitors in collaborative play.
Ride the wave of light at He’e nalu and join the Parrot Party, inspired by the New Zealand kea parrot and the Australian rainbow lorikeet, comes alive as people gather, breaking into song and radiating colourful light.
For more details about Vivid Sydney 2018, including transport tips, visit www.vividsydney.com and download the Vivid Sydney App, which will keep you up-to-date and help you navigate the precincts and installations. It is available free to download from the App Store or Google Play Store.