The small mountain town of Santa Fe, NM hides a secret straight out of science-fiction. Within an unassuming building in the city’s midtown industrial district lies a nexus of colorful, chaotic portals that take its participants to worlds they’ve only seen in their wildest dreams. This is where you’ll find Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, an explorable, immersive art installation with one eye fixed wide on entertainment.
Created by over 100 local artists, House of Eternal Return is a wildly imaginative, 20,000-square-foot space designed to inspire participants of all ages. It is a unique combination of interactive children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym, and fantasy novel. Here, multimedia technology and otherworldly environments are used to create a groundbreaking form of non-linear storytelling that can either be explored or ignored in favor of getting lost among spectacular visuals.
There are dozens of rooms, secret passages, interactive lights, and musical objects with which participants are known to play for hours. Closets become secret hallways to hidden rooms. An appliance becomes a door to another universe. A neon mammoth’s ribs become a xylophone. It’s the kind of thing that makes children thirst for knowledge, yet turns adults into big kids. Then there’s the story beneath the surface…
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More than just a social media cornucopia, House of Eternal Return possesses a built-in narrative: the mystery of the Selig family, who disappeared one night after conducting a forbidden experiment inside their Victorian mansion. Who were the Seligs? Where did they go? You can leaf through old newspapers, consume custom narrative video content, or even comb through photo albums to try and find out.
A Collective Effort
Meow Wolf established in 2008 as an art collective. What started as a group of friends — outsiders of the traditional art gallery scene — turning literal trash into DIY art shows and dance parties quickly (nearly a decade later, but still…) became a company of over 450 employees when their labors of love finally received some funding. The angel investor? None other than longtime Santa Fe resident George R.R. Martin.
After Martin purchased a defunct bowling alley, Meow Wolf turned the space into House of Eternal Return, opened to the public in 2016, and the rest is history. Experience-seekers arrived in droves, popularity only increased, and today Meow Wolf is planning to open new installations in Las Vegas, Denver, Washington D.C., and Phoenix.
While House of Eternal Return retains permanent status as the main attraction at Meow Wolf Santa Fe, the facility also boasts one of the most popular concert venues in the Southwest, an innovative cafe and bar, and an active Learning Center for art classes. Even the gift shop is a destination unto itself, featuring merchandise from Meow Wolf’s creative “Multiverse” and artist brands like Future Fantasy Delight, Obsidiopolis, Legit Concerns, and New Mexico’s favorite recording artist/comedian Carlos Medina.
Other extensions of The Meow Wolf Multiverse include weekend music events Taos Vortex and Dark Palace, an interactive art ride in Denver’s Elitch Gardens called “Kaleidoscape,” and the aforementioned Meow Wolf Las Vegas, expected to open in 2020 at Vegas retail and entertainment complex, AREA15.