After I got off work at 5pm, I drove five hours to Santa Fe to pick up my husband, Joey. Our only plan for my three-day weekend was to go to Meow Wolf, which I had heard so much about; I was careful not to do too much research so that we would be surprised. Due to our lack of research, we were shocked to arrive to a 100-person long line out the door (on a Wednesday!) in the blazing desert heat and timed reservation entry. The timed entry I quickly realized was a method to reduce crowding and preserve visitor experience—something we’re familiar with at Carlsbad Caverns.
Despite the crowds, Meow Wolf was a really incredible experience, and I’ll try to describe it well enough to tantalize you to go without giving away spoilers. On the surface level, Meow Wolf is a visual, acoustic, and tactile artistic expression to be explored, but on a deeper level, it is a fully immersive interactive mystery to be solved. For me, the best part of this experience was the interdimensional travel through unassuming portals. The first was going from the Meow Wolf ticket desk, past the gift shop, into the House of Eternal Return, which immediately changed in environment to a suburban Mendocino, California house that was transported here and perpetually nighttime.
We entered the house, incredibly realistic, and clues everywhere. The first thing I noticed was the fireplace, we peeked through, and realized it was a portal, and entered a neon acoustic cave—I was pretty ecstatic to say the least. Later, I found out that Meow Wolf sent people to Carlsbad Caverns for their creative process—this explained many of the cave-like features I noticed here like candy flowstone. In the kitchen, you can open a cupboard and find infinite galactic teacups. The kitchen door gives way to a sterile space station. The laundry machine is a portal to a whirl of glittering dirty laundry. An unassuming gap in the wall by the bedroom leads to a staticy piano room. Interactive performers from different dimensions roam. The only clue we were given was that the hamster, Nemsesku, is an important character in the story and there are around possible 30 sightings of it throughout the different universes.
The place is in an intergalactic interdimensional maze that you can spend hours exploring—it took us 3 hours to be exact. The artistic creativity and execution was an incredible sensory delight, with the crowds initially overwhelming, then pleasurable, and as time went on bordered desensitizing. Your wristband allows you to enter and exit as you please, so maybe a lunch break at the food trucks parked outside would enhance the experience. We enjoyed finding and interpreting clues to solve the mystery, and I think I have a vague idea of what happened, but it would take a few visits or a very determined person to solve it in one go.
Santa Fe is known for its food and we particularly enjoyed the New Mexican classics like green chile burrito and chile relleno, meaning stuffed (with cheese) chile. As a lover of chiles, or lajiao (辣椒) as we call it in Chinese, I loved seeing chile ristras hanging all over the place. Traditionally, they are hung to dry chiles for later use and are said to bring good fortune, but often they are just decoration. All in all, we had a fantastic time in Santa Fe.
All photos/videos were taken by Sonia Meyer and Joey Meyer.