Taronga lights up as part of Vivid Sydney

Allison Wallace

This year Vivid Sydney lights up Taronga Zoo for the very first time and Yahoo7 Travel was lucky enough to get a sneak peek.

The festival officially kicks off all over Sydney on Friday and visitors to the zoo can explore ten giant animal sculptures — including an Asian elephant, Sumatran tiger, sun bear and platypus - as part of the annual lights festival.

Some of the endangered creatures on display. Photo: Allison Wallace

The animals all depict threatened species that the zoo is battling to save from extinction - essentially shining a light on the conservation efforts of Taronga Zoo.

Taronga chief executive Cameron Kerr said everyone at the zoo was excited to be involved in the festival this year.

Created by Ample Projects, with interactive lighting, sound effects and moving parts, these giant light sculptures will be among the largest and most technologically advanced lanterns ever to feature in Vivid.

RELATED: Your complete guide to Vivid Sydney 2016

There is even a funnel web spider! Photo: Allison Wallace

As visitors wander through the illuminated zoo, there are 1700 hanging animal lanterns created by school kids.

These students are also becoming champions for the wild, studying the threats facing these species and developing ways to support wildlife in their own schools and community.

Another new precinct will be created in the Royal Botanic Gardens, featuring colourful light installations on trees and a 60-metre tunnel known as the 'Cathedral of Light' that festival-goers can walk through.

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The festival will run for 23 nights from Friday 27 March until 18 June.