A couple years ago, the hubs, Jason, and I went to Meow Wolf for the first time when driving through Santa Fe, New Mexico on our way back to Colorado from Havasu Falls. We went in curious and not knowing a ton about it, but had an open mind and only moderate expectations. The experience was more than we could have hoped, and I struggle to even write about it because it was one of those “had to be there” kind of activities. No description can do the actual experience justice.
In April 2021, I decided to take my 19-year-old son, Aaron, to Meow Wolf. We made a weekend out of it, since it was a seven-hour drive from our home. Aaron graduated from high school during quarantine. I told him that as soon as Meow Wolf opened back up, I would take him for a graduation present. April 2021 was when we could finally go. But, the pandemic had changed the museum in several ways.
What is Meow Wolf: House of Eternal Return?
Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, at its core, is an art museum. Nobody finds an art museum more boring than I do, I assure you, so don’t let that turn you off. It’s basically an art museum without rules. The artists didn’t have rules when creating and the visitors don’t have rules when experiencing it. Want to touch everything? Go ahead. Want to fully immerse yourself in the mysterious storyline and try to solve the riddle? Knock yourself out. Want to climb around and play? You can. Want to sit quietly and just observe? That’s ok, too.
The museum starts in the front yard of a large house. Nothing unusual about it (except, of course, that there is a large, life-size house inside of a museum.) Entering the house, you can explore the living room, kitchen, laundry room, or go upstairs to explore some bedrooms. In each room there are clues about the Selig family who once resided there, and have now disappeared. If solving this mystery interests you, you can spend hours reading through files and journals, clicking through computer files, or thumbing through photos, hand-written letters and newspaper articles. This aspect of the installation feels similar to an escape room, and the storyline is reminiscent of the Netflix series Stranger Things.
Want to touch everything? Go ahead. Want to fully immerse yourself in the mysterious storyline and try to solve the riddle? Knock yourself out. Want to climb around and play? You can. Want to sit quietly and just observe? That’s ok, too.
The more you explore the house, the more odd things you find, until, at some point, you are spit out into another dimension. This may happen because you walked through the refrigerator, or entered through a clothes dryer. Or maybe found a moving wall. This dimension is one that is colorful, strange and mind-bending. One with no rules. A world that is oozing with creativity and inspiration and awe. This is where the art and fun really begin.
House of Eternal Return boasts 70 rooms of art, each completely different from each other. Guests are encouraged to explore them in any order or any way that they want, and are also encouraged to touch and interact with the art. There are treehouses, a treetop retro camper, a bus turned on its backside to be experienced laying down, mirror rooms, lazer rooms, music rooms, recycled trash turned into beautiful mosaics, dinosaur bones in the arctic that have musical instrument rib cages, hamsters appearing in strange places… you get the idea. And those are just the things that can be put into words.
Is it worth going to Meow Wolf a second time, or is once enough?
The awe and wonder that someone feels when going to Meow Wolf for the first time is hard to beat, so I wondered whether it would even be fun going a second time. I will say it is worth going a second time! First, it was fun to go with someone who had never been, to watch them explore and experience it for the first time. I had told Aaron all about it, and showed him photos, but it’s not the same as him seeing it in person.
Second, there was an entire wing of the museum that my husband and I never found when we were there the first time. We literally missed about an eighth of the museum and had no idea. I was so excited to find these new rooms, that they were worth the price of admission themselves. Meow Wolf also makes updates to some of the rooms periodically, so there is almost always something new to discover.
I also found when I went there the first time, that there was so much to take in and see, that I was doing it on a macro level. It can be joyfully overwhelming, in fact. But, the second time I looked at the closer details, the small nuances, and found that there was even more to see that I had just walked past the first time. So, hands down, it is worth going a second time. And probably worth returning every couple years at least.
What COVID-19 precautions are Meow Wolf taking?
Of course, Meow Wolf is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, just like most businesses. But, they have plenty of health and sanitation protocols in place to keep guests safe:
- Everyone over the age of four is required to wear a mask (no gaiters or bandanas)
- Vaccines are required for concerts and special events at Meow Wolf (but not the installation)
- No food or drinks are allowed in the art installation
- Extensive cleaning and sanitation, upgraded HVAC filters, and hand sanitizer throughout the installation
- CDC and local health department guidelines are being followed, and their regulations will change as needed to stay compliant