I don’t think I have the words to describe Meow Wolf to you, but I’m sure going to try!
Meow Wolf brands itself as the “House of Eternal Return.” If you were to ask me what kind of place this is, I would tell you that it’s a “Creative, Sensory and Artistic Experience.” But, even that doesn’t give it justice! For the TLDR readers out there, I just want you to know that Meow Wolf is PHENOMENAL. I absolutely recommend it for families, couples, and individuals! Here are some reasons why:
Once you pay the admission fee and you enter the “House of Eternal Return,” you come upon a seemingly ordinary home. There are plenty of reading materials that I’m sure hint to a greater narrative, but I was too busy admiring the visuals and chasing Santi around to read everything. If wandering through some random house doesn’t seem very thrilling to you, it’s because this house kind of serves as a portal to the Meow Wolf “multiverse.” This means that opening the refrigerator will take you into a futuristic space-station style set of rooms. It also means that crawling through the fireplace will take you to a prehistoric cave environment. There are all kinds of secret entrances and exits throughout the home that lead you into creatively designed rooms, and it became very easy to get lost inside. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!
The Ancient Caves
If you decide to leave the home by crawling through the fireplace, the small tunnel will lead you from darkness to a bright pink neon glow that illuminates a sort of prehistoric cave system. You can see fossilized remains of an animal, bright rocks and other mineral formations. Oh and by the way, you can touch anything that you see. This is a completely immersive and interactive experience that is rare to find and sets it apart from its contemporary art galleries and museums. Anyway, the amazing level of creative depth and technical construction to this space is awe inspiring, but barely even scratches the surface of what Meow Wolf provides!
The Magical Forest
I would say that the magical forest is the centerpiece of the experience. It contains a variety of bright shrubbery, treehouses, bridges, and secret hiding spots. It reminded me of the movie Avatar, in that there appeared to be new and crazy new species of mushrooms and plants. And while this section of the experience was usually packed with people, it was still easy to take it all in and get immersed in the experience.
The Electric Wild West
Imagine a town during the “Wild West” times that was lit up like Las Vegas. That’s what this portion of Meow Wolf looked like! I think the best thing about it is that at the center of the “town square” there’s a stage where bands come and perform. I can only imagine how trippy, atmospheric and impressive those performances would look under all those neon lights! In addition to store façades, there’s a fully functional retro arcade with ’80s and ’90s videogames. Santi (our budding videogame aficionado) was in heaven and I’m pretty sure he could have spend hours just in that room, going from arcade cabinet to arcade cabinet.
The Space Station
For sci-fi and aerospace nerds like me, this section was the one that caught my attention. It all felt inspired by science fiction classics like Star Wars and Star Trek. Geometric patterns pepper the gray and blue-hued walls. Airlock doors activated by hand-sized buttons separate the different compartments. Screens are mounted on walls with videos of outdoor vistas (palm trees at the beach, for example), providing the would-be occupants of this space station with a semblance of “home.” Quirky taxidermy-style statues of monsters serve both as decorations and trophies of distant planet conquests. As I moved from room to room, I couldn’t help but feel awestruck at the creative displays that I saw.
A Potpourri of Wonder
In addition to the four main areas I mentioned above, there are multiple rooms and alcoves with their own mini-theme. There’s a room of mirrors and neon lights that give you a spectacular mix of reflection and light. You can also find a dark room with lasers that play musical tones when you wave your hand across them. There’s a kitchen that is painted like a 1940’s style black and white cartoon. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the creators added or modified rooms constantly to keep the experience fresh.
Overall, I expected very little when I went to Meow Wolf. When I left, I had a newfound appreciation for the creative application of interactive gallery experiences. I would love to see this kind of model replicated across the country because this is a must-see attraction. If you’re anywhere near Santa Fe, New Mexico, I promise you that you will not regret going to Meow Wolf!