Vivid at Taronga 2017 – how to do Taronga Vivid with kids
Vivid at Taronga is the best aspect of Vivid for kids. It is easily accessible, you can do it with a pram and there are a limited number of people. This is the second year in the row that we have done it and its a highlight of the year for us and the kid.
I’m going to share with you my thoughts on getting there, the best way to experience it and what to remember to take with you.
Vivid at Taronga
What does Vivid at Taronga entail
Vivid at Taronga is a display of lit up animal creation and illuminated pathways. You take a specific “light walk” through the zoo that takes you past, under or through all the creatures.
The animal light displays are made from fabric, wires and lights absolutely incredible. It takes pure genius and creativity to be able to construct something like this.
Some of the animals move and others are interactive. Just be sure to check which of the displays can be touched.
There is also the most beautiful movie that is projected onto Taronga’s front entrance. If you’re doing Taronga with kids try do this last as the kids will want to run and chase the animals along the walls and the floors. You don’t want them worn out before they even start the walk.
The two sessions
There are two sessions of entry times at Taronga – the earlier session starts at 5:30pm. The second session starts at 7:
This is a perfect time for the kids as it will take you about an hour and a half to get through the whole of Taronga.
Last night, the first night of Vivid 2017, the sun went down around 5pm so it was dark by the time Vivid at Taronga started.
This option is also better for parking and transport to the Zoo as there aren’t as many people.
ANZ Blue Tickets
If you’ve managed to secure ANZ Blue Tickets this means that you can take a round trip on the sky safari. You can’t really see all of the animals on the route from the sky safari but you will see a few and get a great view of the City and the lit up Harbour Bridge.
If you’ve got an ANZ Blue Ticket make sure you’re standing in the right queue when you enter as it is shorter than the others.
Getting to Vivid at Taronga
Driving (my preferred option with kids)
With kids this is probably the easiest option.
There is generally sufficient parking during the week and during holidays and weekends you will just have to get there early (as if early with children is ever possible).
There is parking onsite for a flat rate of $9. This flat rate is the same fro Zoo friends.
Thankfully for events like this Taronga opens up extra parking so you should be able to find a parking. I would still get there early – 30 minutes before your session time – to secure a parking.
Remember to prepay for your parking at the manned parking booth so that you don’t have to do it later with tired kids.
There is also parking on the main road coming into the zoo (the name escapes me right now) which plenty of people were taking advantage of last night. I’m happy to pay the $9 so I don’t have to carry the kids back to the car.
Ferry from the City
There is a ferry directly to the Zoo from Circular Quay (Warf 2). It’s only a 12 minute trip! This is a good idea if you’re coming for the first session of Vivid at Taronga.
The only problem with taking the Ferry is that you have to navigate your way through Circular Quay. Circular Quay during Vivid is awful especially on the last weekend of Vivid.
Having said that though my husband did it on the first night of Vivid and as he was coming straight from work and it was still early (before the Opera House lights go on) it was fine.
If you’re coming with kids I would avoid taking the bus unless you have to. Vivid in Sydney causes general pandemonium which affects traffic too. Taking a bus would add hours to your journey unless you are coming from close by.
There are various options that run from the City and from Chatswood Interchange on the North Shore. You would have to take a train to the City if you are coming from South of the Zoo and then hop on a bus.
Coming from the North you would take a train to Chatswood and then hop on a bus. This would be a nightmare though because Chatswood itself has a Vivid Light Display so you would have to fight two sets of crowds of people to get to where you need to be.
How to do Vivid at Taronga
There is a set route that you walk through Taronga. It is well sign posted and there are plenty of Taronga staff to help direct you if you go the wrong way. So there isn’t much room for deviation.
The walk is not through the whole zoo so don’t panic – little kids can do it. My 2 year old walked the whole way.
There are a repeat of all of last year’s displays and a few new ones. The coolest new addition has to be the shark. I think it’s a Port Jackson Shark but stand to be corrected. It is huge and you can walk through its mouth.
A few important notes on the Vivid at Taronga route:
1. Remember to pick up a map so you know where to go to next or what you’re looking at.
2. Do the sky safari after you’ve done the walk. There is generally less of a queue and it’ll be motivation for the kids to keep walking.
3. Make sure to have a break after you’ve been through the “recycled” jelly fish as the benches there give you a magnificent few of the shark and turtles with the bridge in the background.
4. Only the chameleon is truly interactive and allows for the kids to touch it.
5. There are toilets along the route but the toilets near the elephants are not accessible so make use of the ones near the Gorilla forest.
6. Watch the video projected onto the entrance walls and floor last. The kids will want to watch it more than once and run all excess energy out.
7. The whole route is pram friendly.
8. You can get coffee and hot drinks at various intervals in the walk so you don’t have to buy it at the top entrance.
What to pack and do for Vivid at Taronga
This is what we packed, what we should have packed and what I dressed the kids in to do Vivid at Taronga.
1. Food. There is food on sale so if you don’t take your own your kids will be begging for food at least twice or thrice during the trip. If you don’t take food, take money. You can also take a picnic and have it before you start the route. We had a picnic in the car before we set off.
2. Light up toys. You know those cheap wrist bands, glasses or necklaces. I got the kids these and they played with them the whole way through. Had we not bought this from the reject shop I can guarantee we would have spent a small fortune getting something else that lights up from one of the vendors around the park.
3. Walking shoes. This is a lot of walking for kids and they will get excited and want to walk or run at some point. We wore gumboots this year as last year the kids shoes got very muddy but our gumboots aren’t as good for running.
4. Hats and coats. Even if you’re going in the early session and the weather is still warm it can get cold at Taronga because of all the trees and the water.
5. Comfy clothes. My kids have fallen asleep two years in a row in the car. Unless you want a fight put them in comfy clothes that double as pjs so that you can just transfer them into bed. It is a special night after all and you don;t want to have a fight about bath.
Those are my top tips for visiting Vivid at Taronga with the kids. I will update it if I think of anything and when I can get some pictures in. In the meantime you can check out the pictures from last night on our Facebook page –AllThingsMomSydney.