Vivid Sydney is back for another year, so before you head out with the kids, check out our list of the best places to see the lights!
Vivid Sydney is back in 2019 and organisers believe it could be the best year yet! Vivid Sydney is the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere and is set to take over the harbour foreshore and surrounds from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June this year. The 2019 festival is a celebration of innovation and creativity, with The Rocks, The Royal Botanic Garden, The Museum of Contemporary Art and of course, The Sydney Opera House just some of the must-see locations on the Light Walk.
If you’re planning to take the little ones out to check out all the magic that the festival has to offer, the crowds can be overwhelming. To make life easier, we’ve put together our top picks for the best places to take in all of the incredible lights and entertainment.
Darling Harbour is fast becoming a popular spot for families wanting to get involved in the Vivid excitement without the chaos of Circular Quay. Robot SPACEland is taking over the precinct, with an incredible 16m tall Ecobot just one impressive part of the light and sound experience. Kids will love the return of the Tumbalong Lights’ interactive, inclusive and accessible play space, created in collaboration with artists who have a disability. This year’s space-themed installation allows visitors to explore underneath the Milky Way, Journey To The Moon And Back and compete against their friends in a game of Space Balls.
The Florescentia installation is another must-see, with illuminated blooming flowers providing the perfect backdrop for all your family pics. There’s even a glow in the dark Kiddo Disco each Saturday during the festival so your little ones can bust a move under a sea of light. With so many attractions to choose from, Darling Harbour is the perfect place to begin your Vivid journey for 2019.
If you just can’t bring yourself to drag your family into the heart of the city but don’t want to miss out on all the fun, Taronga Zoo is the place to be! The zoo is lighting up for another year, with an animal projection show, illuminated interactive walking trails, giant animal inspired light sculptures and a special 270-degree screening of an award-winning short film in the Centenary Theatre.
The Lights for the Wild installation is a two-hour experience, which makes it ideal for young children to immerse themselves in all the Vivid magic, and while this is a ticketed event, all proceeds go back into the zoo and its conservation work. Combining the family-friendly environment of the zoo with the creativity and beauty of the festival is a genius idea – definitely worth checking out!
Further out of the city, Chatswood is a showcase of local and international artists away from the hustle and bustle of the main festival. The six-metre tall Listen to the World heart sculpture in Chatswood Mall is a beautiful addition, and the interactive musical trumpets of Trumpet Flowers mean that little ones won’t miss out on the chance to get involved. The two to five-metre tall trumpets, controlled by the oversized trumpet keys in the floral forest, allow visitors to create custom tunes that echo throughout the mall.
This year a 22-metre tall Ferris Wheel is set to be the star attraction, alongside a glow in the dark mini golf course, creative workshops where kids can make their own slime, and delicious Vivid themed food. Chatswood is growing in size and popularity with each festival, so this year is a great time to pay a visit!
The Royal Botanic Garden
The harbour really is the main attraction for Vivid 2019 so The Royal Botanic Garden offers families the opportunity to see the bridge, Opera House and foreshore from a distance. Not only that but the garden itself is full of illuminated artworks and a Firefly Field floating above the ground, featuring 500 flying light points that mimic the magic of these beautiful insects.
Dancing Grass, a highlight of the iLight Marina Bay exhibition in Singapore last year, is also making its way to the garden this year, and kids will be mesmerised by the 146 supersized grass blades that are touch sensitive and light up with movement or the breeze. These blades will be carefully arranged to form an outline of Sydney in honour of Vivid 2019 – it’s guaranteed to be a festival highlight for families!
Luna Park has long been a popular choice for a family day out, and with Vivid once again returning to the amusement park, it has been given a special place in the festival once the sun goes down. The iconic Ferris Wheel is the star, with a spectacular light show making it shine brightly across the harbour. Right across from the Ferris Wheel, a new family ride, Volare, is the latest addition to the iconic park and kids 130cm and taller (and adults too!) will soon be flying high above the glittering harbour!
Illuminated street performers, delicious international food and one of the best vantage points to get the perfect snap of the opera house make Luna Park a festival highlight. Best of all, entry is free and ride passes start from just $10!
Circular Quay/The Rocks
If you want to see the very best of what the festival has to offer, then you might just have to brave the crowds around Circular Quay and The Rocks. Families are advised to get there early, just as the sun is setting, and take public transport if possible. It’s also a good idea to hold out until the last few days of the festival and visit midweek if you’re taking the whole family.
This year, Pixar has a special installation in The Rocks to mark 30 years of art and animation. The projections will document three decades of film from the early stages of development to the finished product, and visitors to Vivid will be given an exclusive sneak peek into behind-the-scenes images from Toy Story 4, due for release later this year. If you head round to Circular Quay, Goo! is every child’s dream – a real-time interactive slime simulation where kids can control the fun. Dotted around the quay are a selection of award-winning light installations and sculptures, and the Sydney Opera House up close is an unforgettable experience.
Whatever location you choose to visit, Vivid 2019 has something for all the family and kids of any age will be mesmerised by the hundreds of attractions and installations around the harbour and beyond. With so much to see, you can visit again and again!
Will you be visiting Vivid 2019 with your family? Let us know in the comments!