Fantastical sights and sounds at the Zoo

Taronga Zoo will be alive with intoxicating sights and sounds – some bizarre, all fantastical – for 23 days as part of Vivid Sydney.

Lights for the Wild offers a wealth of stunning new installations inspired by the zoo’s commitment to endangered species in Australia and Sumatra, all powered by the latest LED technology.

Imagine seeing a giant nine-metre long goanna loom out of the dark or standing beneath a massive manta ray as it sails through the trees.

As visitors wander through Taronga’s iconic harbourfront location, they will encounter giant bees, multi-coloured elephants, lions and tigers, sinister red-back spiders, leafy sea dragons and other magical creatures.

One of the standout attractions is an enormous echidna with a moving tongue, and you’ll also have the chance to take a Vivid ‘Gorillagram’ featuring three giant-sized illuminated gorillas.

Alongside the talented artists who have created these impressive and brilliantly lit installations, Taronga also invited schoolchildren from across Sydney to submit drawings of their favourite endangered animals in Australia and Sumatra, 10 of which have been transformed into 3D splendour.

One of those chosen was Hanna Hunte, 12, from Dural Public School, who drew a pangolin, which is a type of scaly anteater which is found in Africa and Asia.

“There are eight types of pangolin,” she says. “Some live in burrows and some live in trees. They eat ants mostly.”

Ignatius Jones, Creative Director of Vivid Sydney, says that Lights for the Wild is one of the most powerful attractions of this year’s festival because of the universal appeal of wildlife and Taronga’s natural bush setting.

“Vivid Sydney is about the nexus of art and technology. Here at Taronga we’ve taken one of the world’s oldest art forms -- internally lit lanterns -- and combined them with the latest LED technology. Expect the unexpected,” Ignatius said.

The installations will be up until Saturday 16 June.