What to Expect When Visiting Meow Wolf

a neon colored abstract art design that you will see when visiting meow wolf

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If you have an appreciation for art and the creative, but are bored by traditional art museums, visiting Meow Wolf is the perfect experience for you. Part art exhibit, part fun house, as if a theme park and museum had a baby, this interactive art display is one of the most popular things to do in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What even is it?

Meow Wolf is a former bowling alley/strip mall that over 100 artists converted into the art exhibit, The House of Eternal Return. Artist Vince Kadlubek, along with funding from George R.R. Martin, the creator of the Game of Thrones book series, helped create the original Meow Wolf. Over 70 rooms of various interactive exhibits fill the space where visitors can get lost over and over again as they marvel at all the unique, and sometimes creepy, art installations. One of these rooms is even large enough to host the occasional concert, which I imagine is a standout experience for musicians and concert-goers alike.

While I may struggle to put words to the experience, Meow Wolf itself does not, describing itself as:

“a combination of jungle gym, haunted house, children’s museum, and immersive art exhibit.”

However you want to word it, a trip to Meow Wolf is definitely worth checking out, no matter how old you are. 

What to do while visiting Meow Wolf

Explore hidden passages

One of the things that makes these exhibits so much fun is that you never know what could be lurking where. For example, at the House of Eternal Return, there is a slide in the dryer, and a literal walk-in refrigerator. You can play a xylophone made out of mammoth bones that change color, or strum a lazer harp. In Las Vegas’s Omega Mart, find the secret entrance from the grocery store refrigerators, and stumble across a hidden bar. In Meow Wolf, it is best to take the attitude that nothing is at it seems.

Enjoy the incredible lighting

Besides looking for secret rooms, you should also take time to marvel at all the incredible neon lighting. Definitely wear something that will glow under the blacklights for an elevated experience.

Try to follow the story

Each Meow Wolf also comes with some type of non-linear story, which I tried to understand for about 5 minutes, and then gave up and just looked at the pretty colors. There is truly so much to take in.

Travel writers Fyllis Hockman and Victor Block summarized the experience well:

It’s like being shot into a living, breathing kaleidoscope, the sensory overload akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey combined with Fantasia on steroids – and drugs.

Fyllis Hockman and VIctor Block

Meow Wolf is worth the stop on your visit to any of its existing locations because it is so unique. This place is so weird and this is why it is important. It is an epic reminder that you can dream up the weirdest shit, and still find a place for it. I left with a newfound appreciation for creativity, art, the cartilage in my knees (this after I crawled through a fireplace into a secret room) and what people can do when they are clearly on drugs. 

Logistics for Visiting Meow Wolf

Want to check it out for yourself? Everything you need to know about how to get there and logistics, I shall leave to the experts, except for the reminder that you should purchase tickets in advance. Follow this direct link to the Meow Wolf Santa Fe page for the House of Eternal Return, or the Las Vegas exhibit, Omega Mart, or Denver’s Convergence Station to learn about tickets, parking, and other important information. The Traverse Blog has a lot of information about what to expect and a bit of the history of how the exhibit came to be that I found helpful when writing this piece, and Roadtrippers threw together an itinerary for a roadtrip to see all three exhibits, for the truly-committed traveler.  

Want more like this? Check out:

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