Vivid Sydney is on at various locations throughout the city. We love the idea of this festival. It’s interactive, it gets you exploring and it showcases beautiful Sydney in such a unique way! And one of the best places to experience Vivid for Hills families, particularly if you have small kids, is at Taronga Zoo. Here’s why.

We had been keen on the idea of Vivid for a long time but had put it off as our kids were really young and the idea of schlepping in the cold into the city with huge crowds didn’t tickle our fancy. But Taronga’s ‘Lights for the Wild’ is the perfect compromise and an excellent option if you’re wanting to experience Vivid first hand. And kids love the treat of a night time adventure!

First plus is you can drive. Let’s face it – at night, kids are usually a bit tired and ratty so the simplest option is to pile into the car. That way you’re warm, comfortable and you can take all your supplies easily. The zoo has a car park right by the entrance and yes you’ll pay, but it’s money well spent in our books. We paid $9, so nothing too outrageous. (Add tolls though of course!)

Second perk is that the zoo isn’t ginormous so you’re not walking miles between the exhibits – perfect for little feet. There’s a display every few metres really. All up, you’ll probably walk about 1.5kms. There’s the option to stop for a bite to eat or an ice cream along the way too – e.g. a sausage roll or pie. Also, while there are people of course, it’s nowhere near totally hectic and claustrophobic as there’s a limited number of tickets sold for each evening rather than it being a free-for-all.

So what will you see? Obviously the amazing installations of animals! These are super cool and it’s hard to narrow down a favourite. They do re-use some but this year we noticed quite a few new ones – the Sumatran tiger cubs are really cute, as is the koala! There’s a very cool laser garden this year and we also like the interactive chameleon who’s back again!

Another spectacular part, maybe even moreso for parents, is the animal projection show on the beautiful main entrance of Taronga Zoo. Make sure you catch at least some of it – it’s visually stunning with an important message about conservation.

You’ll need flat comfortable shoes that aren’t slippery – it’s dark and there’s the slight slope as you work your way down the zoo. If it’s cold, rug up – you’re outdoors so it is a little chilly. Water and food may be necessary depending on what you’ve done for dinner on the night. Mr 7 worked his way through half a packet of rice crackers and Miss 5 had a Vegemite sandwich on the go!

Vivid runs from 24 May – 15 June.

Find out more about Vivid at Taronga and book tickets here.