“Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is an explorable attraction filled with art, technology, and fantastic environments to inspire visitors of all ages. The wildly imaginative space is a collaboration of over 100 local artists and is a unique combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym, and fantasy novel.”
That’s Meow Wolf’s description of their interactive exhibit/experience in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s a vast understatement. As first-time visitors enter the lobby area, they are greeted by maker-spaces, a bar, a gift shop, and incredible 3D artwork plastered all over the walls. The artwork is best seen through the 3D glasses available for purchase at the ticket desk (I think they were only a dollar each), and they open up the world of 3D art around you in a fun and interesting way. But lest you think that’s the highlight of the trip (and I mean that both literally and figuratively), you’re mistaken.
As you enter into the Meow Wolf world you are greeted by a nicely appointed victorian home built in the warehouse space. There is a small mailbox in the front that begins your immersion into the fantastic, scary, creepy, exhilarating, suspicious, artistic and otherwise other-worldly journey into the world of Meow Wolf.
There is no prescribed way to experience the place. In fact, we spent a couple hours meandering around and searching for clues as to what happened to the family that lived there, and we still didn’t see everything. There is even an arcade in the middle of the experience with free games just because.
One of the beautiful aspects of Meow Wolf is that it can be experienced solo or in a group. Each have their pros and cons, but this is a place where introspection or extrospection go hand in hand. There is also ample opportunity to collaborate with other people who are experiencing the House of Eternal Return, as well. People were eager to share clues – and were also respectful of the discovery process, as well.[supsystic-gallery id=10]
Every detail is meticulously placed to further the intrigue, and everything can be touched, felt, explored, listened to, stroked, or whatever else your heart desires if you think it’ll help you discover the truth. Ah, the truth. Whatever that is in the real world is no longer whatever that is in Meow Wolf’s HO– USE OF ETERNAL RETURN. There is only mystery. What may be charming and light-hearted to some is dark and haunting to others. That is the real beauty of this place – that you could go back and have a completely different experience all over again.
Employees of Meow Wolf walk around in white lab coats, adding to the feeling that there is something going on here… are we the experiment? Is there something much larger than what is hinted at that we are only barely able to grasp?
The venue hosts musical performances and allows people to use the space to create art or science project, as well. This is not only a destination for those looking for a crazy experience, this is a community center for creatives. It feels like a place where your imagination is allowed to run wild. Like there are people here who get “it.” Whatever “it” is.
House of Eternal Return is for everyone. My six-year-old son loved exploring the tunnels, rooms, corridors, hidden passages, closets that open up to other parts of a fantastical world, refrigerator doors that lead to somewhere else – all in the name of figuring something out. The video above is just a small taste of what it has to offer. There is craziness around every bend and intrigue around every corner.
Many times during our journey we thought we’d be circling back to the beginning, only to find that we were in some new area that had much to be explored. That is the beauty of the space; that it lends itself to the fantastical nature of Meow Wolf’s goal. Once inside, you tend to lose your sense of direction. You are so thoroughly immersed in the space that you forget that there is an end or a beginning. Emerging from one space draws you into another, and even if you circle back around, the new perspective invites you to explore further to find more clues.
There are stations that invite you to listen to someone speaking. I imagine that the recording is on a loop, but I was unable to listen to the whole thing because there were people waiting. That might sound disappointing, but it wasn’t. In fact, the notion that I couldn’t hear everything or read everything added to the intrigue. Just how deep does the rabbit hole go? How immersive is this place? Although the overall story is relatively easy to grasp, one gets the feeling that there are multiple subplots waiting to be discovered.
You may have noticed that I’m not telling you exactly what “it” is or what “it” is about. I’ll leave that up to you. Trust me, there is nothing else like this in the world at the moment. It is your duty to seek this place out. They have plans of expanding the experiences to other cities around the U.S., but I wouldn’t wait. There is nothing like the original, and there is nothing like the experience. Get there early and expect to spend a good chunk of time exploring the space. You’ll be talking about this place for months to come with whoever will listen.
Check out this mini-documentary on how Meow Wolf came to exist. It’s worth it. You owe it to yourself.