Our Pick of Kid-Friendly Vivid for 2017 is Taronga Zoo
Taking our three young kids to Vivid can be a bit challenging and the thought of crawling through throngs of legs to find my little runaways is just not that appealing. So this year we are sticking to Vivid at Taronga Zoo - which is without doubt, my pick of kid-friendly Vivid.
Here is why you should visit Taronga Zoo during Vivid too:
1) It's Easy to Park
Negotiating the city with all the road closures is not easy but driving to Taronga Zoo is hassle-free (except for maybe a bit of traffic). You can park in the zoo parking lot for a flat-fee of $9 (from 4:30pm). There is also often free street parking near the zoo.
2) It's Pram Friendly
The Vivid trail meanders in a circular route around the zoo. The path is completely accessible with the pram so don't hesitate to bring your stroller along. We decided to brave the route without a pram - which was all fine going there but climbing the steep hills on our return resulted in alot of whining and piggybacks. If you've got runners, I suggest you strap them in, especially if it's crowded.
3) The Best Light Show Ever!
Do not go into the entrance of the zoo without watching the spectacular light show projected on the front entry wall. It is the best interactive show I have seen - with the wall coming to life with wild animals. The kids will love scampering after the turtles crawling on the ground and up the wall. There's a growling tiger that explodes into colour, sun bears clambering on trees and giant elephants lumbering across our path. Wow, what a start to a dazzling night out. It runs for about 10 minutes in a loop and was a highlight of our visit
4) Oh wow, the Lights!
The Taronga Vivid experience is centred around the massive illuminated animal installations. They are dotted around the whole route and the kids will be so excited seeing which animal is around the corner. Spot the sun bear, rhino and tiger as well as the buzzing bees in the trees in the entry plaza before going through the gates. The kids' favourites were the giant Sumatran tiger, echidna, crocodile with a gaping mouth, animated pelican, Corroboree frog, elephants and the floating stingray.. The highlight was the huge shark (nicknamed PJ) which you could walk through. The kids also loved taking a pic with the family of Silverback gorillas. There is also a field of magical mushrooms doing a lovely light dance. Everywhere you looked there was a sculpture to admire.
Keep in mind though that most sculptures have a 'look but don't touch' status. The sculptures are generally fenced so you won't be constantly yelling at the kids to 'take your hands off that!' but you will need to keep a gentle eye on roaming fingers. There are a few interactive sculptures such as the light-up chameleon which changes colour when you touch the wand to its sensor.
5) Get the Blue Pass
If you can, book a Blue Pass which gives you access to the Sky Safari - it's an amazing way to see the city lights at night as well as the illuminated harbour bridge and Opera House. However, the Blue Pass tickets sell very quickly so if you can't get hold of one, it's not such a big deal. Plus we've heard that at the end of the later session (7:30 - 9:30pm), all ticket holders were invited to ride the Sky Safari.
6) The Light-Up Wristband
All visitors get a state-of-the-art wristband which changes colour throughout your journey - the kids were thrilled everytime the colour changed when they got closer to the sculptures. Just remember to recycle your wristband is the designated box before leaving the zoo.
What You Need To Know
Cost: We all love freebies but in my opinion, it's a good thing that entry to Vivid at Taronga Zoo is paid for. Firstly it manages the crowds and restricts the number of people who can attend per session, meaning that you can move above freely without feeling crushed. Also, all profits are ploughed back into conserving animals and maintaining the zoo.
Ticket prices - adult- $21.95 + booking fee, Child (4-15 years)- $16.95 + booking fee, Child (under 4) are free!
What Session?: This year there are two sessions to pick from: the kid-friendly 5:30pm - 7:30pm slot and 7:30pm - 9:30pm session. We recommend getting there before 5:30pm as there will be a queue to get in. It may take a while for visitors to go through the entry (as they need to check tickets), but once you are through, the crowds disperse and there is space to move around.
Make a Day Of It: Visit the zoo in the day and enjoy the lights of Vivid at night. Enjoy a 30% discount on regular zoo entry should you choose to come on the same day as your Vivid experience. $32.20 for adults and $18.20 for kids.
How Long Will It Take To See The Lights: The light trail will take about 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete.
What About Food: There are food outlets open in the zoo but we brought with our own picnic dinner for the kids which they ate before lights-on.