Did that name catch your eye? If you have never heard this name before, you might guess it is some kind of strange new hybrid animal. Well, in a way, it kind of is a hybrid of sorts. Only is it not an animal but part art museum/large scale art installation/interactive art exhibit. Meow wolf is actually an "arts production company that creates immersive, multimedia experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of storytelling", according to their website. Interested now?
Here is the lowdown. This production company, Meow Wolf, turned an old abandoned bowling alley into a 20,000 square foot art exhibit that will blow your mind! Enter a house (House of Eternal Return) once owned by the Selig family which has "dissolved the nature of time and space", according to the website. You can explore all 20,000 square feet of it and discover secret portholes and entryways that lead to different dimensions. An interesting fun fact: The Game of Thrones writer, George R. R. Martin, (a Santa Fe resident) was one of the biggest investors. He initially bought the bowling alley and renovated it. He now leases the space to Meow Wolf (for the next 10 years).
The premise is that the Selig family has disappeared from this house. You enter their home and are given free reign to explore it and try to solve the mystery of the family's disappearance. There is really no set order in which to explore and you are encouraged to interact with everything. There are plenty of unexpected clues and surprises along the way. Open drawers, read diaries, sit on the beds, open the fridge, look in the medicine cabinets, and snoop until your heart's content!
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and to crawl, touch, bend and explore your way through one of the coolest art exhibits ever! Set aside at least two hours (it took me 2.5 hours from beginning to end) but more if you have the stamina! It is not so much the walking but processing all that sensory information that really tired me out. Every room is packed with information (pictures to look at, notes to be read, and buttons to be pressed) all containing clues as to what ultimately happened to the house. I'm not sure whether there really is an answer or whether the clues afford you the opportunity to create your own interpretation of what happened. I spoke with the woman operating the cash register in the gift shop and she said she had been in the exhibit multiple times and still had so much to discover. I saw adults by themselves, a middle school aged class trip, toddlers, seniors, you name it! So fun for all age groups! There is no food, drink, or gum allowed in the exhibit so be sure to eat before you go. There are some food and drink options available in the lobby (It is mostly just snacks and some vending machine options.) Your day pass allows you to leave and come back in case you want a food break at a restaurant.
Photography is allowed so I have captured some really great images just to give you an example but I don't want to add too many spoilers in case you plan to visit yourself, someday. I will offer you this tip (I didn't figure this out until the end.) Right when you enter, there is a mailbox. It is a great idea to check the mail. It is there where you will get some clues to start you on your journey!
When you pull into the parking lot, there are some really cool giant sculptures. I really liked this guy. Underneath, there are some picnic tables so you can relax and eat before going in. There was a food truck there, as well.
Once you enter the lobby and pay, you are encouraged to use the restrooms before entering the exhibit since there is not a restroom inside (at least not one you can actually use!). Even the bathroom is cool. Loving this wallpaper!
In the lobby there are a few vending machines with some snacks like sandwich/parfait-ish options but then there is also this vending machine that offers artist trading cards. My kind of vending machines.
Once inside, prepare to be dazzled by some really spectacular imagery. Neon forest, anyone?
What neon forest would be complete without a spaceman/scuba guy hunting for treasure?
Step inside a crazy neon dinosaur. Don't forget to touch everything. You never know what can happen!
How would you like to have this chandelier hanging in your house?
This cool forest is made of leaves cut from paper!
Step into a cartoon room!
A new meaning to the phrase "walk-in-fridge".
Ever feel like you are being watched?
Believe it or not, these pictures barely begin to scratch the surface of what is going on in this place! I took these within the first 1/2 hour and then became so enthralled with what I was seeing I forgot all about the camera and taking pictures. You can spend hours and still not see everything there is to see. If you are planning a trip to Santa Fe anytime, I highly recommend this amazing place! Here is a link to their website which offers some more details (address, pricing, etc.). I truly hope you get a chance to see this unique and inspiring place!