Vivid Sydney 2022 with Kids: Read This First to Have a Great Family Night Out

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Vivid Sydney is back for 2022! This annual festival of light, music and ideas is a much-loved attraction for families with plenty of different visual displays and activities to enjoy. There’s no shortage of fun and interesting light installations to enjoy at Vivid Sydney. It’s worth a trip to check it out. Here are our best tips to enjoy the 2022 Vivid Sydney with your kids.

Vivid with Kids

What is Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney is a multi-faceted festival with different streams.

  • Light – This track includes light projections, artworks, reflections and illuminations to light up the winter night. The lights run from Friday 27 May to Saturday 18 June 2022 from 6pm to 11pm.
  • Music – This track includes different musical performances, most of which are aimed at adult audiences.
  • Ideas – The track includes talks, debates and discussions from Australian and international presenters. Join them for a line-up of thought-provoking debates and deep-dive discussions seek creative solutions and inspire new ways of thinking.
Vivid with Kids
Photo Credit – Destination NSW

When is 2022 Vivid Sydney?

This year, Vivid runs from Friday 27 May to Saturday 18 June 2022.

Where is 2022 Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney is at different locations. In 2022, there will be activities at Barangaroo, Central Station and The Goods Line, Circular Quay and The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Darling Quarter, Darling Square, Luna Park, Sydney CBD and Surrounds, Taronga Zoo and Walsh Bay.

What are kid-friendly attractions at Vivid Sydney?

You’ll find lots of different Vivid light installations around Sydney. Take a tour of different locations.

Circular Quay & the Rocks

Of all the locations, Circular Quay & The Rocks have the largest number of light installations.

Our Connected City – See the beams from 150 searchlights flowing into the sky. 2022 will see both sides of Sydney Harbour Bridge emblazoned with hundreds of colour changing lights. In a ribbon of light, colours pulse from the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge across its world-famous span, through The Rocks, around Circular Quay and onto the Sydney Opera House forecourt.

Lighting of the Sails – As you walk around Circular Quay, look over at the Sydney Opera House to see what is projected onto the sails. Each year an internationally-renowned artist is commissioned to create an original artwork for projection onto the Sydney Opera House. This year Sydney-based creative technologists Curiious will bring to life the stunning Martumili collective painting Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area 2013 across the spectacular sails.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 90th Birthday – You can also look across to the Sydney Harbour Bridge to see a series of projections. In a salute to the arch that has defined the city and the nation, the Historical Archive and Digitisation Team at Transport for NSW are working their way through a photographic archive spanning over 100 years to reveal the stories and experiences of the people and places the bridge connects across our great state.

Vivid Sydney 2022
Photo Credit – Destination NSW

Earth Diety – A mystical presence… A mythical being…This monumental multi-limbed sculpture by artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran demands our devotion as it pulses with a synthesis of dramatic lighting and sound. You’ll easily spot this contemporary sculpture in Hickson Road Reserve, which is positioned near the Harbour Bridge.

Vivid Sydney kids
Photo Credit – James Horan/Destination NSW

For Sydney With Love – If you love Ken Done’s artwork, don’t miss this Vivid light installation. Ken captures the joy of Sydney like no other artist and this vibrant animation projected onto Customs House shows how his beloved city informs all his work.

Future Natives – Walk along the the Light Walk and you’ll spot stylised light sculptures resembling Sydney’s native birds. This ‘birdwatching’ adventure highlights the diversity and survival skills of Greater Sydney’s feathered friends. The Light Walk goes from Circular Quay to Central Station.

Vivid Sydney Kids
Photo Credit – Destination NSW

Equilateral – Head to the Overseas Passenger Terminal to see a futuristic installation which features a canopy of kinetic equilateral triangles. In unison, they create an amazing, geometric lighting display that develops into infinite patterns, changing at every glance.

Central Station

If you take public transport to Central Station, there are a number of Vivid light installations to experience.

Convergence – Enter the unused Goods Line tunnel – a space that is largely unknown and even the most well-travelled Sydneysider as it becomes a portal to a spectacular convergence of lights, lasers and smoke effects that will leave guests wondering where the tunnel leads and what they’ll discover as they journey deeper underground. To access the Goods Line from Central Station, use the escalator at Railway Square.

Vivid Reflections – Be immersed in interactive projections. Set in the western forecourt of Central Station, this interactive projection experience uses motion capture technology to turn your movements into animated action, then beams them onto the landmark clock tower.

Frankly, My Dear – See Frank Gehry’s design for the UTS School of Business in a whole new light. This Vivid art installation will illuminate its windows with colour-changing cove lights in bright colours and wall grazers.

A Mirrored City – Get your shimmer on. This playful installation invites you on a journey through many vignettes of Sydney life. By day, the mirrored city sparkles in natural light. By night, internal lights and moving LEDs create moving prisms and reflections that dance across the ground and on passers-by.

Darling Harbour

Macula – Wander through a spiralling tunnel of bamboo and get a sense of the versatility and beauty of one of the world’s most regenerative natural resources. As you walk along, listen to the soundscape which combines woodwind instruments with sound from the Australian bush.

Sydney Infinity – In what promises to be a popular attraction, this is the largest ‘liquid and light show’ ever seen in Australian history – created especially for Vivid Sydney. In this installation, hundreds of multi-textured jets and nozzles fan water into shifting shapes and expressive fountains, all set to a soundtrack that delves into the soul of Sydney.

Vivid with Kids

Windspinners – In this installation, whirligigs are elevated into six large-scale kinetic sculptures that twirl and whirl and spin and splay lights. Each wind spinner is flooded with colour changing light. As we watch them whirl and twirl, they become optical illusions, seemingly having no beginning or end. Be mesmerised as they spin and splay light onto you, your fellow festival-goers and their surroundings.

Taronga Zoo

Vivid Sydney Kids
Photo credit: Taronga Zoo

Wild Lights at Taronga – A favourite with many families is the displays at Taronga Zoo. You can purchase ticket for Wild Lights at Taronga. Visit the zoo after dark and see creatures from land, sky and sea emerge in a visual spectacle through the magic of light.

Wild lights Taronga Zoo Vivid Sydney
Photo credit: Taronga Zoo

Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo – is an immersive and inspiring experience where guests can explore the Zoo after dark on an illuminated night walk, all whilst connecting with wildlife and conservation. Wild Lights at Taronga is an all-ages, ticketed and inclusive event that makes for the ultimate family night out. Tickets start from $24.26 and you can use your Discover or Parents NSW vouchers.

Are there family-friendly events for families at Vivid Sydney?

Get ready for some fantastic Vivid family concerts which will presented on Saturday afternoons. Vivid Sydney also presents a curated contemporary music program at Tumbalong Park featuring some of Australia’s most exciting artists alongside Sydney’s hottest emerging acts.On Saturdays, presented as part of Tumbalong Nights, there are concerts especially for kids! Head to Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour for 5pm each Saturday during the festival to the kids’ fun zone. See the stage light up with free music acts loved by children of all ages.

Saturday 28 May – The Vegetable Plot
Winners of the 2019 International Songwriting Competition Children’s Category burst onto the stage playing earthy, roots music full of fun characters and true tales. This crew keeps the parents equally entertained while the kids are having a blast. No promises, however your little ones might just start loving their veggies after a show like this.

Saturday 4 June – Teeny Tiny Stevies
ARIA award-winning children’s music group bring us their cheery folk-pop tunes that cleverly cover social messages in their inimitably fun, relatable manner.

Saturday 11 June – Zindzi and the Zillionaires
Playschool host, actor and genre-bending musician Zindzi and her band The Zillionaires invite the kids to get loose and dance up a storm at this family friendly kids RnB block party.

Saturday 18 June – Justine Clarke
Playschool host and Queen of the Kids pumps up the fun factor with her playful and lighthearted show full of sing-along, dance-along songs.

How to get to Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney brings in a lot of people into the city. If you want to drive and park in the city, be prepared for road closures, expensive parking and traffic congestion getting out of the CBD. Major city road closures will be in place before the Vivid Sydney lights switch on each night. Extensive parking restrictions will also be in place, making street parking very limited, so it’s best to leave the car at home.

The best way to travel between Vivid Sydney precincts is by public transport. Avoid traffic delays and catch one of the many extra transport services. Extra bus, train and ferry services will be running throughout the festival.

Buses to and from the city will be diverting and using different stops while event road closures are in place. Check signs at bus stops for alternative stop locations and use the Trip Planner before you travel. See our Vivid Sydney bus changes map (pdf 143KB) for more info.

What accessible services & facilities are at Vivid Sydney?

Plan your trip to Vivid Sydney by visiting the Accessibility and Inclusion section on the Vivid website where you can find up-to-date information on accessible services and facilities such as; viewing areas, toilets & adult change facilities, pre-booked minibus parking, drop-off & pick-up zones and more.

Will 2022 Vivid Sydney be COVIDSafe?

To keep the community safe while delivering Vivid Sydney, organisers are working closely with NSW Health to ensure the event is compliant with all COVIDSafe requirements as directed by the NSW Government.

How much are tickets to 2022 Vivid Sydney?

It’s free to see the light installations at Vivid Sydney. However, tickets to Taronga Wild light show start from $24.26. There are some free live shows as part of Tumbalong Nights. Vivid Sydney presents a curated contemporary music program at Tumbalong Park featuring some of Australia’s most exciting artists alongside Sydney’s hottest emerging acts. Catch FREE live shows each Wednesday to Saturday night, right in the heart of the Light Walk. There are a free series of diverse, contemporary live music on the Grand Concourse of Central Station. Tickets for Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas attract a cost.

What are the best days and times to visit 2022 Vivid Sydney?

Not surprisingly, on weekends Vivid is packed with crowds. For this reason, we suggest going on a weekday, especially earlier in the week. Go early to see the lights switch on and get out before it gets crowded. Also, avoid the last week of Vivid as this is when it can be busy as people don’t want to miss out on the event.

Go as early as you can. The lights switch on at 6pm so arrive before then and get ready to enjoy the show. Then as it gets more crowded, you can leave and still get the kids to bed at a decent time. If you have tweens and teens, do the opposite. Go see the lights at 9pm. By that time, the crowds have started to wind down.

If you’re planning to do Vivid, start by deciding which art installations you want to see. If you have the time, do one area e.g. Circular Quay one night and another like Central or Darling Harbour at a different time. This enables you to concentrate on one area and not have to battle crowds to move to a different location. Plus, it’s not as overwhelming as when you’re trying to fit it all in on one night. Remember the Vivid Festival goes for 23 days from Friday 27 May to Saturday 18 June 2022. So you can do small bites of Vivid.

Vivid with Kids

How to keep kids safe at Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney is a popular destination and can experience huge crowds on busy nights. Be sure to keep an eye on your children. It’s easy for kids to get distracted or disoriented and wander in a different direction from you. Dress them in bright distinctive colours or stick coloured reflective tape on to their jackets. You can buy tape in red, yellow and white as well as silver so you can spot them a bit easier in a crowd.

Write your mobile number on your kid’s arm in permanent marker (you can easily remove the text with micellar water after the event). There are also free ID wristbands are available at Vivid Sydney medical posts that you can fill in with your phone number. Handy if your child gets lost. Vivid Sydney volunteers wear pink jackets so point them out to your kids as someone to contact if they get separated from you.

For younger kids, use a backpack harness and give older kids a whistle that they can blow to attract your attention if they get lost. Take a photo of your kid in their outfit in case you do lose them and have to show a photo of what they look like.

Where are public toilets for Vivid Sydney?

Always an important issue for those with young kids, incontinence conditions or who need baby change facilities. Here are the ones that we are aware of:

  • Barangaroo Reserve – near Towns Place Wharf
  • Barangaroo at Exchange Place. Toilets are attached to the building on Barangaroo Avenue and Shelley Street.
  • Bligh Barney Reserve in the Rocks – includes baby change facility
  • Central Station
  • Circular Quay – 2 blocks of public toilets. West Circular Quay One (includes baby change facility) and one near ferry terminal.
  • Darling Harbour – toilets at Tumbalong Park (including baby change facilities)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Rocks – on Suez Canal and Greenway Lane
  • The Rocks – George St – at the intersection of Gloucester Walk

Why should we consider a harbour cruise for Vivid Sydney?

An alternative to being on the ground at Vivid is taking to Sydney Harbour. A number of cruise companies offer short cruises. It’s a great alternative to the Vivid crowds and lets you see a number of different light projections in a short time.

Captain Cook Cruises offer a one-hour cruise with 360-degree waterfront views from spacious indoor and outdoor decks. This is ideal for families enabling you to see Vivid Lights from the water and skip the crowds. Their route covers the key precincts of Barangaroo, Luna Park, The Rocks and Circular Quay including Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails of the Sydney Opera House. Tours leave at 5.45pm, 6.15pm, 7.15pm and 8.30pm – check availability for additional departures. Cruise is $29 per person and you can use your Discover NSW or Parents NSW vouchers.

Fantasea Cruises also offer kid-friendly Vivid cruises departing from Circular Quay and Darling Harbour. See Sydney’s famous foreshore landmarks from the water and experience the full canvas of the massive shoreside projections from Fort Denison, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour. Tours leave at 6pm and 7.10pm. Cruise is $39 for 16+, $29 for children 4 – 15 with kids under 4 free. A family rate is $99 for 4 people. There is an Early Bird special. Use the promo code EarlyBird2022 when booking online and save 20%. It’s valid for all bookings made before 1 May 2022.

You can also jump on the NSW State Ferries to see Vivid Sydney from the harbour. Jump on the ferry to Neutral Bay or around to Barangaroo or even the Manly ferry if you want a longer harbour ride.

What are other tips for Vivid Sydney?

Dress warmly and bring rain gear. As we’ve learned this year, the weather can be unpredictable and May and June can bring cold and rainy weather. Also, wear comfortable shoes as you’ll end up walking long distances.

In busy times, avoid using a stroller as it’s hard to get through crowds. For babies and toddlers, carry them in a backpack carrier or baby carrier.

What food options are available are available at Vivid Sydney?

There are a plethora of dining options in areas in The Rocks, Circular Quay and Sydney CBD. Take your pick of cafes, restaurants and fast-food spots. However, be aware that with the massive crowds, you might face long lines or a lengthy delay to wait for your food. You’re better off bringing food, snacks and drinks with you to enjoy or eating dinner at home (or your hotel if you’re from out of town) and then heading in to enjoy Vivid Sydney. Or if you want to dine out and use your Dine NSW vouchers, make a booking at a Sydney CBD restaurant.

Where to stay for Vivid Sydney?

If you want to avoid the Vivid crowds but still see the lights, book a hotel room that faces the harbour. (Avoid Fridays and Saturdays if you can – it’s cheaper on weekdays during Vivid and use your Parents NSW or Stay voucher to save money on a hotel room).

A popular choice with Newcastle families is View Sydney in North Sydney. Friends have stayed in the Harbourview rooms during Vivid to see the lights right from their room. You can also book rooms with Metro Hotels at their properties in Metro Apartments on King, Metro Aspire Hotel and Metro Apartments on Darling Harbour. They have special deals for families attending Vivid with early check-in and late check-out, kids (up to 12yrs) stay free using existing bedding and complimentary glow bracelets for kids.

If you want to stay in the heart of all the action, choose Rydges Sydney Harbour in the Rocks. Some of the rooms have harbour views. If you want more space, book a Mantra apartment for your stay. They offer Mantra on Kent which is located near Town Hall and Darling Harbour and Mantra 2 Bond Street, a seven-minute walk from Circular Quay. For a budget stay, book into the Sydney Harbour YHA in The Rocks. You can book a family room with ensuite which features a Queen bed and a set of bunks. You’ll have access to a communal kitchen and terrace whcih features million-dollar views of Sydney Harbour.

Is there an app for the 2022 Vivid Sydney?

There is no app for Vivid Sydney 2022. Instead, you can create a MyVivid profile which works across any device. This make it easier to find the artworks, talks and music shows that interest you with a personalised MyVivid profile. Simply sign up and select your preferences, and MyVivid will curate a tailored homepage just for you — available to access anytime on any device, via vividsydney.com.
You can set your preferences to discover events you’ll love through a customised homepage​, add events to your planner to keep track of what’s on, share your ideal program with friends​ and opt in to receive Vivid Sydney emails to stay up to date with the latest news.

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