Vivid, Taronga Zoo

I’m a little late with my post as Vivid has now packed up and left town for another year, but this was such a lovely night out, I’ve decided better late than never.

The Zoo's Heritage listed entrance

The Zoo’s Heritage listed entrance

The reason for my tardiness is that for the last few weeks I have been working in an aged-care facility caring for people with advanced dementia.  In many ways it’s been quite heavy-going and having a night out at Vivid really has been a welcome change of scene.  I could say it, ‘lit up my life’ but I’ll spare you.

A bilby

A bilby

On with Vivid…

A canopy of fairy lights

A canopy of fairy lights

Vivid at Taronga Zoo is the latest addition to the growing Vivid family, that birthed at Circular Quay and followed the harbour foreshore from the Opera House to the Harbour Bridge.  Since it’s inception in 2009, this annual outdoor festival, where lighting is projected on buildings and installations, has expanded into other parts of Sydney.

A walk through a rain forest

A walk through a rain forest

And just as well.  Because for the past few years I have attended Vivid at Circular Quay and while being incredibly impressed with the lighting and installations, the overwhelming and enormous crowds have made the experience quite challenging.

Thought I was in The Matrix

Thought I was in The Matrix

Vivid at Taronga is on a much smaller and more intimate scale, and I think, if you are viewing Vivid with small children in tow, is a much more manageable option.

Not too crowded

Not too crowded

We went on a week night that while winter, was fortunately, surprisingly mild in temperature.  Our plan was to be there before nightfall to be ahead of the crowds but alas, we managed to be an hour behind schedule and therefore in the thick of it.  Taronga Zoo is situated on a very enviable parcel of land that is accessed either by a harbour ferry or by driving down one of Sydney’s most expensive residential streets.  We were driving so became caught up in stand-still traffic trying to get into the carpark from the narrow residential street.

Dangling lights that change colour

Dangling lights that change colour

Once at the Zoo, everything was very well organised and pleasantly, quite spacious.  What makes this easier than walking through Vivid in the city is that pedestrian traffic moves in one direction so you’re less likely to trip over a stroller or become blocked by crowds moving in the opposite direction.

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros

Another advantage of attending Vivid at Taronga is that it’s not overwhelming in size and with few crowds, can be enjoyed at a more leisurely pace.  The Zoo’s eateries are all open providing places to sit, relax and refuel during the experience.

Elephant

Elephant

Elephant

Elephant

We wandered around the Zoo for a couple of hours, admiring all the installations and brilliant lighting effects.  Our tickets also included a trip on the Sky Safari and while it was wonderful to view the Zoo from a bird’s eye view, this is where we did have to queue for about 20-minutes before sitting down in the cable car.

An interactive installation - you fiddle with it and it changes colour

An interactive installation – you fiddle with it and it changes colour

Changing the colour from red to blue on the chameleon

Changing the colour from red to blue on the chameleon

Our little guy enjoyed the hands-on parts of the exhibition as well as walking through matrix-like lighting.  He was also thrilled to find some animals still up and wandering about their exhibits.  I found Vivid at Taronga a lot more relaxing than Vivid at Circular Quay with its thousands of people and the stress of trying not to lose a child.

The giraffes were still up and about

The giraffes were still up and about

The giraffes have one of the best views in the zoo

The giraffes have one of the best views in the zoo

Vivid is certainly becoming more and more popular and it’s definitely been an excellent way of getting people out of their cosy homes on winter’s nights to enjoy our spectacular city and see it even more beautified with lighting effects and installations.  This year 1.7 million people visited Vivid over the three-week period and that’s a 19% increase on last year.

A corroboree frog - poisonous!

A corroboree frog – poisonous!

If you want to avoid some of those 1.7 million people, try visiting Vivid at Taronga Zoo instead.

Bear

Bear

Verdict:  Dazzling

Crocodile

Crocodile

Taronga Zoo:  Bradley’s Head Road, Mosman 2088

The Zoo's entrance

The Zoo’s entrance

Related Post

Comments

  1. NIce to ‘see’ you! I do not think Vivid Taronga replaces Vivid Quay and City but it certainly is a very welcome addition to the exponentially growing annual Sydney phenomenon now attracting worldwide attention. The younger folk may indeed find it more approachable and fun! I DO suggest that when the warmer weather returns you make a v different night-time trip to Taronga and take Alfie for a sleepover to ‘Roar and Snore’ – the tents amidst animal enclosures are comfortable, you get dinner and breakfast and two long conducted walks . . . methinks he would be over the moon!

  2. Looks stunning! What gorgeous pics of the giraffes with the city lights behind them. And isn’t your little one tall now?!

  3. Oh wow, wow, wow!

  4. Great shots, Charlie. I was at Vivid last year (coincidentally, I was in Sydney for the Writers Fest) and it was horribly packed. Very uncomfortable.
    I hope you enjoyed the dementia patients. I worked with psycho-geriatrics (that may be a politically incorrect term now) for the last few years of my nursing career and loved them to bits. It’s bloody hard, backbreaking and dirty work but I found it very rewarding, at an extremely difficult time of my life.

  5. WOW it certainly does look impressive! Vivid and the Sydney Festival are the two things I most miss relocating to the Gold Coast!
    Thanks for sharing! I look forward to being there next year!
    Liz xx

  6. The images are lovely. I really enjoy how zoos and gardens have extended their visitorship into the evenings by adding these types of shows.

  7. This looks so splendid Charlie. I kept seeing photos on social media and thinking how wonderful it all looked. But I really hate crowds and get claustrophobic so I’m not sure I could handle it. But the zoo sounds great.

  8. I usually despise zoos, but this one looks open and more free-like.
    At night? AMAZING.
    stunning photos, Charlie! x

  9. How much fun it would be to attend this event. Your photos are impressive.

  10. Vivid is such a delightful place – so much to see and do – wish we had one here in Atlanta! And, Charlie, is it just me or is Alfie is getting so tall!

  11. What a well deserved break for you! And an impressive event for sure. P.S. Gosh, I can’t imagine doing clinicals and managing a family. Kudos to you, my friend!!! xoxo

  12. Looks like a great place to bring the family Charlie, beautiful pictures.

  13. That looks amazing, really stunning. We had the first light festival in London last year. Mainly projected on buildings this looks like a whole other level. GG

  14. My social feeds were crazy packed with beautiful pictures of the Vivid festival, I have not been, but after this years WOW, I must say, I am very keen to check it out. Especially at a zoo. So cool! I only wish the crowds were not so full on. Have you been to Enlighten in Canberra?

  15. What a fun experience. We don’t get anything like that here.
    Have a wonderful day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  16. Oh my! What a fabulous experience! For both kids and adults alike!

  17. I just noticed that there was no .com at the end of my website name. Perhaps that’s why one can’t click on my name?

  18. Vivid sounds like fun! And it’s a neat idea. So much fun that’s it’s held at different venues — makes each year a bit different, and adds interest. Fun read, and loved the pictures. Thanks!

  19. What a fascinating event. We never did make it to Tarango Zoo but had a wonderful time anyway. Thanks by the way for all your suggestions.

    This looks like an enjoyable time for all and a nice break for you.

  20. Hasn’t this grown so incredibly big. I have gone every year except this year as I was away. It is so crowded in the city it is hard to believe it is the same festival as just a few years back. looks like Taronga is a lot of fun and so close to you too.

  21. Looks amazing!What is it about fireworks and bright lights that draws the crowds? Great idea to have everyone going in one direction too – makes it pleasant for everyone.

  22. Spectacular, Charlie! You have managed to communicate the awesomeness of this exhibit through your beautiful photos, thank you. At Christmas, in Niagara Falls, we have The Cavalcade of Luggts, but I must say, it is no where near as cool as Vivid! The frog is my favourite!
    You had mentioned the eateries at the zoo, our zoo has sadly partnered with a very large fast food chain so eating there isn’t an option for us, as the food rarely agrees with me.

  23. Spectacular, Charlie! You have managed to communicate the awesomeness of this exhibit through your beautiful photos, thank you. At Christmas, throughout Ontario, we have The Cavalcade of Lights, but I must say, it is no where near as cool as Vivid! The frog is my favourite!
    You had mentioned the eateries at the zoo, our zoo has sadly partnered with a very large fast food chain so eating there isn’t an option for us, as the food rarely agrees with me.

  24. I agree Charlie, Vivid is gorgeous but the crowds can be overwhelming at times! We were lucky to see it on a cold and rainy night that meant a lot of crowds stayed away as did the rain but I’d love to see the Taronga exhibit next year.

  25. Chgojohn says:

    Few events can top these Vivid displays and the Sidney Harbor, beautiful in its own right, has plenty of venues that are seemingly meant for kind of festival. The Taronga Zoo is one such place. It’s a fantastic setting for a zoo and seeing it lit up would be unforgettable. Hats off to the people behind these events, Charlie.

  26. That looks so much fun – I really love these urban light shows esp with the projections – we have seen a few in Melbourne – but none with a giraffe with a view – I am quite jealous your giraffe was out at night – the giraffes always seem to go to bed early when I am at the melbourne zoo! I did quake at the thought of driving there! Glad you battled for a spot in the car park!

  27. I heard so many great things about the Vivid installation at Taronga Zoo. Definitely looks a lot less hectic than the rest of the city sites. It was sardine central at the Botanic Gardens and Circular Quay!

  28. This place is amazing. My jaw dropped at the photos! Am certain you have created more priceless memories for Alfie!

  29. That sounds like a wonderful evening out! The pjhotos look all so cool & lovely! What a fab experience too! 🙂

Speak Your Mind

*