Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo is a fantastic family-friendly ticketed event that runs during Vivid Sydney. We have visited many times so I was unsure if we’d enjoy revisiting it this year but after missing out for a couple of years I thought it was time we returned. And I’m so glad we did. Taronga’s Wild Lights is stunning and I was thrilled to see a brand new line-up of lanterns and light installations. Access and inclusion has also been improved and I’m absolutely delighted to see that accessible transport is now available to help with the steep incline on the return.
We had a lovely evening at Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo so I am keen to share information in case you’d like to visit over the remaining evenings.
Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo – accessibility Vivid
Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo is ticketed based on two sessions each evening. The first session is 5.30pm and the second starts at 7.30pm. We visited Wild Nights at Taronga Zoo on a Sunday evening during the long weekend and arrived for the 5.30pm session. It wasn’t the smartest move as the long weekend is definitely the busiest time to do anything during Vivid. I highly recommend visiting Wild Lights on a week night if possible. If you can’t visit on a week night, book the second session of the night at 7.30pm as this was definitely much quieter. Wild Lights is a popular Vivid event for families with young children so most are keen to visit during the 5.30pm session.
This year there is a strong connection to Country with a focus on caring and driving change. Many of the light installations highlight some of Australia’s most iconic species and the lanterns have been created by contemporary Aboriginal artist Nathan Peckham.
Signage beside the light installations provides a little information about each animal including it’s name in Sydney First Language and Wiradjuri First Language, plus a little about the behaviour of the animal. So for the lantern pictured above the sign shows Possum – Burumin (boo-roo-min) Sydney First Language and Wilay (wil-ay) Wiradjuri First Language. I love seeing this incorporated into the Wild Light at Taronga Zoo displays.
A big congratulations to the children of St Lucy’s School (children living with disability attend St Lucy’s) for assisting Nathan Peckham to create a stunning artwork which shares a story of connecting place and nature and uniting people of all abilities in caring for Country. It’s a wonderful collaboration, placed for all to enjoy at the beginning of the Wild Lights route.
Hubby was pushing Braeden in his manual wheelchair and though there are a few steep downhill sections, the main trail is very manageable. The base of the trail is on the level where the elephant enclosure and Food Market is located.
At this point there is the opportunity to take advantage of a free accessible van service back to the top. It’s marked with a sign to an “accessible exit point”. We had to ask staff for the exact location as it was unclear once we got 50m beyond this sign. The van is parked after the lion and gorilla lanterns and through the barriers just past the Food Market.
The accessible van can accommodate more than one wheelchair and several passengers. This is a super easy way to return to the entrance of the zoo. Using the van will avoid the steep uphill incline on the return. Using the shuttle does mean you will miss the jellyfish light installations pictured below.
Hubby was keen to walk back to the entrance so we pushed on after checking out the accessible transport so we could share it with our community here.
If you are using a manual wheelchair and want to see the jellyfish, make sure you use the lift to the right of the Food Market (there’s a little alley beside the food market and that’s where the lift is located) to avoid one of the steep hills. A switchback ramp leads to the jellyfish which makes the wheel to them manageable. The final hill beyond the jellyfish is the hardest on the calf muscles.
If you arrive by car, parking at the zoo is $11.
Extensive accessibility information is available in the Wild Night at Taronga Zoo accessibility toolkit. This includes a visual story.
Australian Companion Card is accepted. Bookings need to be made through Ticketek’s Accessible Line on 1300 665 915.
The lanterns and atmosphere at Wild Lights is wonderful and even as repeat visitors to this event we were blown away by the stunning animal light installations.
We were hosted by Taronga Zoo but as always, our opinions are our own. I think each year Taronga Zoo is improving access and inclusion at Wild Lights and that’s so encouraging to see.