What's on for kids?
People from all walks of life are encouraged to take part in the 420-metre climb up the steep incline of Mosman’s Awaba Street. Not only will it give you a chance to tone that tush, but all funds raised by participants go directly to the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which has helped more than 400 hospitals nationwide buy essential life-saving medical equipment used to treat sick and injured children. Elite athletes, kids or pensioners can register to be an entrant and run, walk or crawl up the hill across individual, family corporate and school group categories. There's also a pet and owner race, so you and your woofer can raise funds and face the physical challenge together. Anyone can commit to extra fundraising beyond the registration costs and donate to fundraising teams directly. If inclines are your nemesis, you can spectate and cheer from the sidelines and head to Edwards Park to enjoy a barbecue, carnival rides and activities for big and little kids.
It premiered in Melbourne last year, and now the Children’s International Film Festival is coming to Sydney with a host of international productions, industry guests and film-related workshops for kids aged 4-16. The program will be playing on the big screen at Ritz Cinema Randwick, and will include everything from fun family-friendly animations to more challenging foreign-language films and other live action movies for kids. Film genres this year cover everything from fantasy to classic tales of adventure. See Checkered Ninja, which follows the budding friendship between a young boy and a doll inhabited by a friendly spirit, and explores cross-cultural boundaries. Find more adventure and friendship in the Witch Hunter, as a young boy befriends the class misfit, and they set out on a quest to save one of her father from her step-mother, who’s believed to be a witch. The talent show for little aspiring performers, Little Big Shots, is also on board to curate a mini program within the festival. After the screenings, join guest speakers from animation studios including Disney and the Jim Henson Workshop as they provide insight into the art of animation for young viewers.
The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas is now in its 11th year. Last year’s festival received 2.25 million visitors to the city for free illuminations from 6pm every night of the festival, plus headline music acts Solange, Ice Cube and St Vincent, and talks and workshops covering gaming, start-up businesses and homegrown fashion. So how will this year’s event top the tenth-year celebrations? So far, we know ARIA-winning Australian three-piece Rüfüs du Sol will be playing exclusive shows at Carriageworks ($89, Jun 13-14) as part of the Vivid Music programming, and classic goth-pop band the Cure are the first act announced for Vivid Live’s line-up at Sydney Opera House (tickets already exhausted via ballot, May 24-25 & 27-28). We also know that Vivid Light has a new curator for 2019 – Lucy Keeler, former co-director of Ample Projects, who will create the famous Light Walk that stretches along Sydney Harbour foreshore for 23 nights of the festival, and brings in valuable footfall for Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism agency and owner of the festival. Keeler designed and worked on some of Vivid Sydney’s largest light installations over the years, including the animal sculptures at Taronga Zoo, Urban Tree Project in Martin Place and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie at Customs House in 2018. The full program will be announced from mid-March.
If your little roadrunners have a fascination with the concrete jungle around them, you can blow their minds with architectural and urban design facts at How Cities Work. This exhibition at the Museum of Sydney will showcase everything from the city's green spaces to the secret underground world of sewers in the belly of the city. It’s the world premiere of this family-friendly exhibit, which is based on the popular Lonely Planet children's book of the same name, written by Jen Feroze and illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock, who’s collaborated with Sydney Living Museums to create this exciting exhibition. This is one exhibition where you're allowed to, and are even encouraged to, touch the exhibits. Kids can take what they’ve learnt off the pages and get to know the city even better through a series of interactive, tactile experiences. They’ll be poking through buildings, wandering around city streets like Godzilla among the skyscaper miniatures and exploring the underground without leaving the museum. This thriving metropolis will be on show from December 15, 2018 until July 21, 2019. Entry is free for Sydney Living Museums members and kids under the age of five.
Free family-friendly events
Add a little bling to the autumnal evenings with this sparkling dessert festival. Milk N’ Sugar is mixing together ice-cream sandwiches, rainbow bagels and wild milkshakes for an after dark sugar-based feast at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. It’s running for three nights during Vivid, offering the sugar-mad Sydney populous a centralised hub full of the city’s finest sweet treats. When the Vivid lights switch on from 6pm each evening, you’ll find buckets of award-winning gelato by Enmore’s Cow & the Moon, crazy complex macaron sliders from Western Sydney’s Arelio Sweetbox, and light-up doughnut ice-cream cones from Sydney’s Hungarian street food provider, Hungary Bites. The ‘flurritos’ – a fairy floss-based dish rolled together with ice cream and Fruit Loops to resemble a shockingly pink burrito – may be taking dessert a step too far, but we’ll leave judgement up to those holding the cake forks. If that sweet adventure doesn’t impress you, perhaps the giant, interactive dessert displays will. We’re not totally sure what these one metre-tall structures will be, but if they’re following the glowing Vivid trend, we’re bound to see some sparkles. If you’re more into savoury snacks, we recommend you get your salty fix earlier in the evening, as this really will be a sugar-only zone.
Strap on your skates and head to Central Park Mall because Sydney’s grooviest ice rink is about to re-open this May. You can practice your twirls and backwards gliding every day from 10am to 8pm, and from 4-8pm you can take it up a notch, listening to music pumped through your headphones by the resident DJ – if you book in for these dance-skating sessions from Monday-Wednesday, you’ll also get a $10 voucher to blow at the mall. Skating and glowing headphones are free, however the sessions are limited to 45 people on the ice at any one time, and each session runs for one hour (or 30 minutes for when the hordes descend at popular times). Skates are offered on a first-come first-served basis for each session.
Budding horticulturalists who like plants with attitude should head to the Royal Botanical Gardens from October 1 for a free exhibition of carnivorous greenery. The Calyx will be filled with 25,000 of the world’s hungriest, most clever plants. Watch as the venus fly trap lures unsuspecting insects with nectar and snaps them up in its jaws, where they’ll spend their final days being slowly digested. Or meet the drosera, who use their sticky tentacles to attract and snatch their prey before devouring them. Then marvel at the simplicity of the pitcher plant’s hunting technique, which is to lure hapless bugs with honey and let them fall into the pool of digestive enzymes in their pitfall trap. The Plants with Bite display does sound a little like a horror film, but it’s really all bark and no bite (for humans, anyway) and families can expect a very kid-friendly experience. Plus, there will be a range of themed education programs, workshops and a regular feeding display that will intrigue little greenthumbs and their grown-ups.
If you’re looking for a gentle woofer friend to bring into your family, a greyhound might be your perfect doggo match. These docile cuties laze or lollop alongside you with intense loyalty and affection. Many ex-racing greyhounds are looking to find their perfect human partner in Sydney, and you can find your true greyhound love at this adoption day hosted by Yulli’s Brews. The Alexandria brewery will be teaming up with NSW charity Greyhound Rescue for a day dedicated to rehoming retired racing dogs. There’ll be the standard delicious snacks and brews on offer, alongside meet-and-greets (and cuddles) with greyhounds. If you’re ready to make the commitment, you’ll also have the chance to adopt a gentle boy or girl at a reduced price. Yulli’s will be pouring from their karma keg, so if you’d like to donate to Greyhound Rescue, you can sink a few from the charitable brew and the proceeds will go towards saving dogs.