Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo

Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo


Posted 2023-06-16 by Ashleigh Meiklefollow

Fri 26 May 2023 - Sat 17 Jun 2023

Vivid's Wild Lights at Taronga has been going since 2016 – seven years after the first Vivid event in Sydney itself in 2009. This year, the event has been running from Friday the 26th of May and ends this Saturday, the 17th of June. This year, my Vivid focus was on the event at Taronga, which often has the same 130 lanterns. This year, there were a few new ones – some interactive ones, and some lights of the lanterns that were projected onto the pathway as well as laser lights along the way.

Whilst much of Vivid is free, you do have to buy tickets to the Wild Lights event for timed sessions, which means there are often a limited amount of people per timed session, starting at five thirty in the afternoon, with the last entry at 8.30 pm, as Vivid at Taronga ends at 9.30 pm, compared to the eleven pm ending time of the other events. This year, they have had two sessions – a 5.30 pm entry, where you can enter at any time from 5,30 pm, and a second at 7.30 pm. I felt this was a good way to do it, as when I went, the earlier session didn't feel as busy at first. It meant I was able to get some good photos without crowds and make my way around at a decent pace that didn't feel as rushed as it has in previous years.

The other important thing to remember is that the Wild Lights event has only been running from Wednesdays to Sundays. Going midweek, and perhaps towards the end of the event did mean it felt more relaxed, and this is a good thing for those who struggle. It's also a very accessible event – the entire path is marked out for you, and the areas that are not part of the path are blocked off with barricades and helpful staff and volunteers to guide you along and tell you about the lanterns as you go. It made walking easier, it meant wheelchair users could go, and it helped all visitors navigate the event equality. feel like this was the first year they did this from memory. Every year is very organised, and that organisation is getting better.

The lanterns are delightful – from koalas, kangaroos, and possums to the favourites the lions, the tigers, and the gorillas, and one that I think was new this year, as it was one that I can't recall from previous years – the jellyfish forest. Each lantern is exciting to see, and kids will love the new interactive ones, and the jellyfish forest. Volunteers and staff will be able to help you find the interactive lanterns and show you what to do.

It took me about an hour and a half – including taking photos – to walk around the Wild Lights installation. To find out the best way to get there, check out the updated Vivid information for this year or the relevant year that you are going because the Taronga Zoo website and social media will have the most up-to-date information when you book the relevant Vivid event. Taronga Zoo's website even has a map you can download to help you on the journey.

Even though the lanterns are the same every year, the reason I like to go is that the Wild Lights event, like Taronga Zoo itself, is a not-for-profit event, and the price of the tickets goes towards helping wildlife, including returning threatened species to the wild and caring for injured and sick animals. This year was extra special, as it had a strong focus on Country. The new Australian lanterns were created by Aboriginal artist Nathan Packham from Yurana Creative, and he collaborated with precinct director Nicholas Tory and the technical and creative team at Ample Projects. These lanterns were so interesting – you could see into the animals and see their spirits – that's what the guides said they were – and I think this Indigenous celebration and celebration of Country – like the Country Taronga Zoo is on - Cammeraigal – is special. It brought the animals to life for me.

Wild Lights is a great precinct for Vivid – whether you can go in the last few nights for 2023 or go next year. It's a spectacular event for all ages, and one that I hope raises lots of much-needed funds for Taronga for its conservation programs. This event – whatever year you have been or are going to go – is well worth the visit and ticket price.

!date 26/05/2023 -- 17/06/2023
220942 - 2023-06-30 10:33:37


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