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Best of Vivid Sydney 2023 for kids

Ready to light up your family’s life with some out-of-this-world illuminations?

Sydney’s fave light festival Vivid is back. Running from May 26th to June 13th, this festival has been a hit with Inner West families for years. Here’s our round-up of the must-see attractions so you can make the most of your visit – including sensory-friendly events for autistic and neuro-diverse kids and adults.


Lighting of the Sails, Sydney Opera House (image courtesy of Vivid 2023)


Opera House: Lighting of the Sails
First up on our must-see list is the iconic Sydney Opera House. Every year, the Opera House becomes a dazzling canvas for Vivid’s creative projections and this year’s tribute to the late Australian artist, John Olsen, will see his vibrant paintings of life and energy within the natural world illuminate the Opera House’s sails.

The animated artwork Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened spotlights Olsen’s enduring interest and fascination with Australian nature and landscape. Through images selected by curator Dr. Deborah Hart and animated by creative technologists Curiious, Life Enlivened (2023) celebrates the propulsive power of Olsen’s painterly brush to envision the natural world anew.

Address: Circular Quay
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 6pm-11pm
Cost: Free

Sonder installation, Vivid Light Walk (image courtesy of Vivid Sydney)

Vivid Light Walk

Next, make your way down to the Rocks to see Circular Quay and to enjoy the Vivid Light Walk – across 8.5 kilometres, this year’s Vivid Sydney Light Walk is a journey of endless adventure and discovery of light, history, art and nature.

With 60 attractions including light installations, 3D-mapped projections, venue takeovers and jaw-dropping spectacles, the Vivid Light Walk transforms the city completely. To keep your bearings, be sure to visit Vivid Sydney 2023 to see their Light Walk Itinerary.

Sensory friendly
As one of the busiest sections of the Vivid Light Walk, we’d recommend visiting Circular Quay during a quieter time so mid-week vs weekends are best.

Looking for some pram or wheelchair friendly options? In addition to Hickson Road Reserve, the lawn in the front of Museum of Contemporary Art is an accessible viewing area. From there, you’ll be able to take in the city skyline and illuminated harbour as well as works like Barerarerungar on the MCA façade and Lighting of The Sails.

Address: Circular Quay
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 6pm-11pm
Cost: Free

Vivid Kids, Vivid Sydney 2023 (image courtesy of Vivid Sydney)

Vivid Kids
Is your child a budding Piccasso? Don’t miss the wild and wonderful world of Vivid Kids! In Vivid Kids, 12 young artists will have their imaginative worlds projected onto one of Sydney’s oldest buildings. Cadmans Cottage in the Rocks.

Guided by the theme of ‘endangered species’, these budding creatives – aged from 7-14 years – collaborated with a team of animators and designers to bring their art to life. See one of Sydney’s historic cottages in a new light (no pun intended), as these curious kids share their inspiring visions of our native species and remind us of the importance of ensuring their survival.

Address: Cadmans Cottage, 110 George Street, Sydney
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 6pm-11pm
Cost: Free

Spectrum of Happiness (image courtesy of Vivid Sydney)

Spectrum of Happiness

What play equipment does every kid rush to when they get to the playground? If they’re anything like our little ones, it’s the swings! Hop onto a swing in Spectrum of Happiness and create a beaming rainbow of light with each move. LED tubes attached to each swing create a radiant arc of light that will mesmerise little kids – and big ones too

Address: Darling Quarter, 1-25 Harbour St, Sydney
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June
Cost: Free

Lightscape, Royal Botanic Gardens (image courtesy of Vivid Sydney)

Lightscape, The Royal Botanic Garden

After wowing audiences in the US, UK and Melbourne, Lightscape is coming to Sydney for the first time. Transforming The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Lightscape is a 2.1km journey through a spellbinding and multi-sensory world and while Vivid Sydney wraps on June 17, Lightscape continues till July 16 so there are options for a more low-key, sensory friendly post-festival.

Stroll beneath towering tree canopies illuminated in mesmerising colour, be awestruck by larger-than-life flowers and travel through gorgeous glowing tunnels. On each Lightscape event day The Royal Botanic Garden will close to the public at 5pm and reopen to Lightscape ticket holders from 5.30pm onwards. They recommend planning for a 90-minute visit, in order to experience everything Lightscape has to offer.

The Royal Botanic Garden has been a popular Vivid destination for families but this year’s Vivid sees the return of this attraction as a paid event so book in advance to avoid missing out.

There are two Relaxed Sessions of Lightscape, on Wednesday 21 June and Wednesday 28 June at 5.30pm. These are designed for anyone who would benefit from being surrounded by less people, reduced bright lighting and sounds, or who would like access to a designated quiet area. For more information and to book, call Ticketek’s Accessible Line on 1300 665 915 or book accessible session tickets online.

Address: The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, Queen Elizabeth II Gates
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 6pm-11pm
Cost: From $30 – off-peak discounted tickets available options on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Park (image courtesy of Early Ed)

Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Park

Who said the adults should have all the fun? For something different – and less hectic than Circular Quay if you’re visiting on a weekend – round up the little ones and start your Vivid Light Walk journey in Tumbalong Park at 5pm each Saturday during the festival as the stage lights up with free children’s acts ahead of a night of live music for Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Park.

Saturday 27 May: Zindzi and the Zillionaires
Zindzi and the Zillionaires perform upbeat songs of friendship, confidence, joy and positivity all set to a head-bopping mix of RnB, Pop, Hip Hop and Rap. Join Zindzi and her fluffy friends The Zillies as they take you on a musical adventure for the whole family to vibe to!

Saturday 3 June: Junkyard Beats
Everything’s an instrument with Junkyard Beats, who use household items and rubbish like old cardboard boxes and plastic bags to create a rhythm symphony. This groovy show follows four musical misfits in a journey of body percussion, drumming, dance, circus, hilarious skits and junk!

Saturday 10 June: Peter Combe and the Bellyflop in a Pizza Band
With more than 40 years under his belt, Peter Combe knows how to get kids up and dancing. Catch the legend behind classics like ‘Toffee Apple’ and ‘Juicy Juicy Green Grass’ and new viral hits like ‘Mr Clicketty Cane’ and ‘Spaghetti Bolognaise’.

Saturday 17 June: Tiptoe Giants
This fresh and funky trio is all about delivering empowering messages and teaching skills through fun, catchy music. With backgrounds in teaching and music therapy, Tiptoe Giants encourage individual expression with a vibrant live show packed with plenty of instruments and surprises along the way.

Address: Tumbalong Park, 11 Harbour St, Darling Harbour, Sydney
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 6pm-11pm
Cost: Free

Wild Lights Taronga Zoo (image courtesy of Taronga Zoo)

Further afield

Vivid At Taronga Zoo

Got little ones who just love the zoo? Be sure to visit Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo – a brand-new illuminated night trail created for Vivid.

Each year as part of Vivid Sydney, Taronga Zoo lights up for a special cause and this year is no exception. Wild Lights will bathe the zoo in a rainbow of colour with innovative, thoughtful installations and breathtaking projections. Shining a light on wildlife conservation, Wild Lights encourages visitors to think about the role they can play in preserving these majestic creatures and their habitats.

Be awe-struck by giant versions of native animals like koalas, dingos, kangaroos, emus, platypuses, rendered in intricate and illuminated designs. Explore the entire Zoo along the trail, including the new Nura Diya Australia, an area celebrating native flora and fauna and First Nations connection to Country.

This ticketed event will have two sessions each night: 5.30-7.30pm, and 7.30-9.30pm. Don’t miss out – book now.

Want to know more about Nura Diya – check out our review here.

Address: Bradleys Head Road, Mosman
When: Friday 26 May – Saturday 17 June, 5.30pm-9.30pm
Cost: Adult: $30, Child (4-15 years): $25, Infant (under 4): Free


Got a tip for enjoying Vivid Sydney with kids? Leave a comment below or email us at

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