‘Vivid Sydney’ With Kids: Top Tips For Spectacular Family Friendly Fun

There is more to see & do at this year’s bigger, bolder, brighter festival

Winter favourite Vivid Sydney returns in 2017 with a bigger family-friendly offering than ever before. Over 23 nights, there are over 100 family-friendly installations & events including 32 Vivid Ideas & Music events.

From Friday the 26th of May to Saturday the 17th of June, Vivid Sydney – proudly owned, managed & produced by Destination New South Wales (NSW) – will transform the city into a creative canvas. Light installations & projections will illuminate iconic buildings & locations including new precinct Barangaroo (South) & returning favourites, the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, the Royal Botanic Gardens Taronga Zoo.

NSW Minister For Tourism & Major Events, Adam Marshall, said “Vivid Sydney is family-friendly and jam-packed with fantastic fun programming & importantly for parents, most of the festival is free & available for all to enjoy. There is so much to see, do, discover & be entertained by, it is the ultimate family excursion that entertains the little ones & turns grown-ups into kids at heart”

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer & Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase, said “Each year, Vivid Sydney presents a family-friendly program that delights & entertains children of all ages. Interactive installations give youngsters the ability to control light, colour and sound & create amazing, magical landscapes through touch and movement while other activities inspired by gaming, music-making & future worlds cater to the interests of older kids and teens”

Family-friendly highlights include Vivid Ideas’ Rhodes: Creative in Rhodes including the Human Friendship Robot Ball, where kids can learn, interact & dance with humanoid robots called ‘NAO-bots’. Get the whole family swinging with Vivid Lights at Freedom Of Movement at Dawes Point, an interactive, larger-than-life set of humble swings that combine the wonder of motion with colour, light, sound & performance. Vivid Music presents 2 of the kids’ favourite activities mashed-up for a 2-week-long free festival: the Silent Disco Ice Skating Rink in Central Park combines a live disc jockey set played through individual headphones with the magic & excitement of ice-skating.


0 – 6 Years: Bubs To Pre-Schoolers

Vivid Sydney’s youngest visitors can watch light and colour dance & animations come to life. They will enjoy interactive installations featuring giant friendly flowers, favourite animals & a fantastical fairytale world where colours, sounds & forms change simply by moving, touching or walking past something. Highlights include:

  • Dipping Birds (The Royal Botanic Gardens) Just like the ‘drinking bird’ novelty toy perched on a glass, these brightly coloured, spindly legged, 2 metre tall birds bob up & down seeking a drink of water too, changing colour as they quench their thirst.
  • The Sunflowers (The Royal Botanic Gardens) – Kids will be delighted by this joyous creation. Charming, giant sustainable sunflowers welcome you with a bow as you walk by at night, using solar energy they harnessed during the day.
  • Never Ends (The Rocks) – A lone illuminated rocking horse on a platform 4 metres in diameter, waiting for a rider. Hop on for a ride into the night & everything changes as you create a fairy-tale setting.
  • Lights For The Wild (Taronga Zoo) – After the permanent zoo residents have retired for the night, the giant light sculptures of endangered animals take centre stage along an illuminated trail of interactive animal lanterns with crowd favourites including the Asian Elephant & toothy Sumatran Tiger joined by new additions: Gorillagram, Pelican, Tasmanian Devil, a swarm of tiny buzzing bees & PJ, a 20 metre walk-through Port Jackson Shark.

7 – 11 Years: Primary Schoolers

Activities that tap into primary school-aged children’s natural curiosity & sense of discovery through exploration and play include watching combat action with Australia’s best robots battling it out & making their own interactive creation by giving coding a crack. Youngsters will burn off energy at installations that challenge them to get involved from jumping over cracks to swinging giant, colour-changing balls.

  • Don’t Step On The Crack (Alfred Street, Sydney) – You might have childhood memories of not stepping on cracks in the footpath but never like this. Kids jump over illuminated cracks, cross boundaries & question what really lies beneath the surface.
  • Cradle (Customs House Square) – The coolest physics lesson ever. Kids can channel their inner Isaac Newton & give 5 giant illuminated spheres a gentle push so they swing back & forth, changing colour every time they touch.
  • {Kids/Code/Create} (27th of May, 10am – 3pm, Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo) – Presented by Code Club Australia, kids are inspired to create a project using code, light & music. Parents can learn what all the fuss is about & give it a go too! Tickets can be purchased via www.vividsydney.com/event/ideas/kidscodecreate-1.

12+ Years: High Schoolers

Pre-teens can interact with installations featuring favourite teen activities including making music & playing video games. They can also get their hands on some of the coolest technology around at events featuring 3 dimensional (3D) printing, coding & robotics.

  • SYDNEYLAND (Pertain Precinct in The Domain. Best viewed from Circular Quay) – Ooh snap! Paired with its very own geotag, teens can pose for a Hollywood-style Sydney selfie & share it with friends and followers via Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat.
  • MailboX (The Rocks) – Part video game, part post box: Posting a letter has never been this much fun. By interacting with MailboX’s game inspired design & tapping at different places, teens can help create anything from an emoji to a smiling koala.
  • Gen XI: Educating The Next Generation (28th of May & 4th of June, 9am – 4pm, Surry Hills) – Calling all budding change-makers, problem solvers & inventors! Learn to tap your imagination & turn it into tangible prototypes at this interactive 1 day Vivid Ideas workshop for 14 to 18 year olds. Tickets can be purchased via www.vividsydney.com/event/ideas/gen-xi-educating-next-generation-innovators.
  • Rhodes: Creative (Rhodes) – Curious kids who enjoy creating cool things with the latest technology will enjoy this program of masterclasses, workshops, activities & talks on 3D printing, robotics, wearable art & technology.
  • Future City, Smart City (Chatswood) – What teen does not love a funky, retro-futuristic smart city? That is what they will find in Chatswood, where the central business district is reinvented with ingenious, steampunk installations & light sculptures inspired by 19th century steam-powered machinery. Follow a flight to an airborne, sustainable community then return to Earth & discover the submerged magic of Steampunk Waterworld & try to solve hidden light messages sent by Crossword.


  • Visit early in the week – Monday to Wednesday are quieter compared to Friday & Saturday.
  • Visit early in the evening – Experience the wonders of Vivid Sydney when the lights go on at 6pm. It is lights on at 5:30pm at Chatswood & Taronga Zoo – ideal for taking in the lights, grabbing an early dinner & getting the family home for bedtime.
  • Visit more times for more fun – It is impossible to see everything in 1 night. Plan your visit & travel to different precincts on different days.

On the city side, Barangaroo (South) & nearby Darling Harbour could be done in 1 night. Arrive by train at Wynyard, take the Wynyard Walk tunnel straight to Barangaroo (South) to experience TrapdoorA Day In The Light before journeying past the Australian National Maritime Museum which will be illuminated with the projection, Inspire By The Sea, then arriving at the spectacular water theatre spectacle, Magicians In The Mist.

On the north side, Chatswood & Taronga Zoo are best done in separate visits. Send the kids ‘back to the future’ to learn about the steampunk era at Chatswood & grab dinner from one of the many food offerings. Head to Taronga Zoo on another night to see giant animal multimedia light sculptures & make the most of one of the Lights For The Wild sessions. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.taronga.org.au/vivid.

  • Visit by public transport – Leave the car at home (extensive road closures will be in place). Take advantage of extra bus & train services during the festival instead.
  • Visit a Vivid Information Booth & get an identification wristband for children – Wristbands are available at Darling Harbour, Customs House & West Circular Quay. Add your contact number & put them on your children’s wrists to make it easier to be reunited should you be separated at any time. Be sure to keep an eye out for Vivid Sydney’s friendly army of volunteers in their bright pink jacket. They can answer any questions or point you in the right direction.
  • Visit prepared – Planning your visit beforehand is simple with precinct and accessibility maps, transport options & activities available at www.vividsydney.com or through the festival smartphone application.

Media Release: Vivid Sydney

Note: All times are in Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).