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One of the big things that made me choose New Mexico for our family road trip this summer was the mysterious Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. I’d heard things here and there from friends who’d visited, and was always curious and mesmerized by their photos and stories. Our trip to it went beyond our expectations, and we basically had to pry ourselves away.
Built in an abandoned bowling alley, the story behind the creation of Meow Wolf is incredible in itself. There’s even a documentary about it (I’ll share the trailer at the end of this post). And in Meow Wolf’s own words, Meow Wolf champions otherness, weirdness, challenging norms, radical inclusion, and the power of creativity to change the world.
It’s truly an otherworldly experience, and I’m extremely grateful to Meow Wolf for hosting us for our visit. Now, let me do my best to convey the experience that is Meow Wolf.
First things first––logistics. We were staying in Albuquerque the evening before, which is just over an hour away. I’d planned on us getting there when it opened at 10AM, but we didn’t make it until 10:30. The parking lot was full by the time we got there, so we had to drive around and find street parking. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because there was no line to get in when we walked up (everyone in the parking lot had to have been in line for a while).
We checked in at the front desk for our tickets (I highly recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time to avoid waiting in line to purchase them). When I asked if there was a map or anything for us to find our way around I got a knowing smile and was directed to the entrance. (There are no maps––but there are 3D glasses). I didn’t want to spoil the trip beforehand so I didn’t look up any reviews before our visit, and we were going in pretty blind on the particulars.
The not knowing what you’re walking into is a big part of a first-time visit to Meow Wolf Santa Fe (aka The House of Eternal Return). I genuinely felt like Alice in Wonderland, exploring my way through everything with the kids, and I don’t want to describe things too much and spoil your first experience there, either.
I will divulge a few things though––the first thing you’re presented with when you enter is the facade of a big house. It looks like a normal everyday house when you walk in, but as you start to look around you’ll soon discover whimsical surprises and secret passageways that open up to another world beyond the house. There’s no one way to explore or make your way through the house and the dimension beyond the house. The kids and I eventually caught on that there was some sort of mystery to solve about the fictional family of the house, with clues scattered throughout. We were there on an extremely busy day and decided to let go of solving the mystery and just enjoy the experience of being there––which did not disappoint.
There were numerous places that were especially fun to put our 3D glasses on. Plus they made a fun souvenir to keep afterwards.
If there’s one thing in abundance at Meow Wolf, it’s art. It’s basically one big immersive art experience, and you never know what beautifully whimsical thing you’ll find around the corner.
A fun room on the other side of a slide––through a dryer.
One of my favorite experiences of our visit were the two performers on the right. They walked around silently with bicycle bells on their fingers encouraging guests to ring them and making celebratory expressions that I couldn’t help but feel like a giddy kid about. At one point they entered a little alcove we were in and I asked if they’d sit for a photo––and then take one of me with the kiddos!
Two more of my favorites were a large curio case and a nook of small fairy-esque village miniatures. I probably could have sat and poured over both of these for an hour. The entire place just sparked my imagination, and these two in particular made my heart swell. Is that weird? Maybe. But I’m okay with that.
I’ve only just shared the tip of the iceberg here. We were there for about three hours, and we were still discovering new parts of the whole thing minutes before we left! Here’s a little video to give you another view of our experience at Meow Wolf:
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Curious and ready to plan your trip yet? Here’s what you need to know for planning your own trip.
Meow Wolf Santa Fe Info
1352 Rufina Circle | Santa Fe, NM 87507
Summer Hours (Check the Meow Wolf website for other times of year)
$29 Adult | $21 Children (kids 3 and under are free) | $25 Senior/Military
NM Resident Admission
$24 NM Adult | $17 NM Children (kids 3 and under are free) | $22 NM Senior/Military
Annual passes are also available
Know Before You Go
- It’s an overwhelming experience. Because there is simultaneously so much to look at, and you’re perpetually getting your bearings straight, it can be an overstimulating experience. If you have very small children or kids who don’t to well with overstimulation, this may not be the experience for your family. There were also a lot of other people there, which added to the whirlwind experience. (The FAQs on their website mention sensory bags that you can checkout at the front desk
- You’re wristband is good all day. With the above in mind, you can also go out and take a break. There is a cafe right by the checkin station, so you can fuel up. We didn’t make an all-day trip out of our visit, so we went elsewhere for lunch that day. But it’s good to know you can go and come back in the same day.
- There are no bathrooms or water fountains inside the exhibit. And there’s no food or drink allowed inside, either. My mama instincts kicked in after we got our wristbands, and I made everyone use the restroom before we entered the installation. I did get pretty thirsty and had to go out to the fountain, but it wasn’t an issue going back in. I definitely recommend being well fueled and hydrated before you begin your adventure.
I’m really looking forward to going back with and without kids sometime. I think it would be a lot of fun to follow the clues and solve the mystery of The House of Eternal Return. I’m also looking forward to watching the documentary about how Meow Wolf was conceived and built. As promised, you can watch the trailer below, and you can rent or purchase the Meow Wolf Origin Story on Amazon.
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