If you haven’t already heard of this wonderous “choose your own adventure” art/story museum experience…I consider it an absolute honor to introduce you!
Back in the day when I readily attended work conferences, I was lucky enough to be presenting on a panel with expert Youth Programmers from other childrens’ museums, universities and libraries. Literally, my favorite toy box of people! I remember finishing up our session on “Stories-in-Flight” and how simple story times can easily become a spectacle experience to remember with props as simple as a fan. It was a special day with special people…one of whom easily fascinated me with her view of the world. How stories are everywhere and in particular, this incredible place she was able to visit when the home was the story and it was up to each individual how it would unfold. The part the stuck out to me the most was how she traveled through a portal by going into the washing machine.
I was hooked! I’ve been trying to sneak in a visit on every vacation we’ve taken since then. Alas, New Mexico was not en route to Georgia or Michigan. Lo and behold, we finally made it a priority. Second only to my sweet Arizona family…was this mysterious, humorous, fantastical place beckoning my crew of weirdos straight to her long and sinewy spider legs.
The experience was very mindfully crafted to A) make sure everyone feels welcome and respected (I’m a sucker for a good code of conduct!), and B) proceed flawlessly given just the right amount of guidance to encourage exploration without telling you where to go or what to do. It’s all up to you!
Individually, we all are motivated by different things. The Hairy One is following the rules, understands the missions and has already taken inventory of what is where and how to proceed.
Our older buddy is drawn to the mysteries. He’s the kitten that chases the ball of yarn to a corner of the building the rest of us didn’t even know was there.
Our younger pal likes to stick with a partner. He’d say it’s because he’s a Cancer and Cancers are loyal! He is looking up to see what there is to climb and how high will it take him…while laughing at the nuanced jokes in the art all around.
It’s easy to find oneself pulled in many directions with so many different options. Surprisingly so, I found myself most in my element getting my Nancy Drew on. Reading all the snippets from postcards, books, little notes and journals.
Also, imaging what it would be like to be the actor dressed up like the big bad wolf dressed up like the grandma…from an alternate universe.
Meow Wolf recommends 2 hours for a visit. We were there for 4…and could have stayed for more.
Stuck in the mud?
I know I lost some of you at the picture of my 6′-3″ husband crawling into the 3′ x 3′ washing machine. Good news, you don’t have to go in through the washing machine – you can go in through the refrigerator!
For every tight space, there is an easy escape nearby. Some of the storylines were bit too complicated for our busy kitten brains so a friendly steam punk professor quested us with finding all the hamsters in the house.
That was just our speed!
Did you grub?
A bit! Which, I think, is the point. They had their concession stand stocked with the basics to keep you going but not to move you in for full meal service. They had some nice local brew options including kombuchas and (a personal favorite) ginger beer. There were some fancy cocktails available…in a very fun and quirky setting.
What did we dig the most?
The ever-present element of surprise. As soon as we felt like we knew the place like the back of our hand…we’d find a whole new out-of-left field secret passage!
All the tiny little secrets that may or may not be discovered. Stories being told by the artists in individual and collective ways. Interactivity beyond just touching the story – it was being in the story.
Then add in all the best things like arcade games, fortune telling cyborgs and photo booths in the shape of a futuristic treehouse.
It was all there. All the good things you could think up. Right next to some many things you never thought before. In a world of replicas. Of, someone has already thought this up and done it earlier, better…with a bigger budget. This was the opposite. This was original. Authentic. Delightful. They’ve built another Meow Wolf in Denver. No doubt it’s going to be at the top of our vacation must do’s again very soon!
I was impressed at how well the kiddos were task driven by the sneaky little hidden hampsters. Those kids, committed and we loved it! I run a children’s museum. People ask me all the time how old kids need to be to play there. My answer is always the same. “However long they stay young.” Yes, there are certain play areas more enticing to certain ages but age often is a mindset over a number. (No hate for those kiddos…or any kids ever…born teenagers or grandparents that are way too old for kid things…just an effort to stay open!)This place proves that point so well. The Hairy One and I both got swept up in story.
In the magic. Our kids, played along. I honestly couldn’t tell you who was playing along for who?!? Us for them or them for us? It didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. The point is we were playing. Being silly. Playing together. Letting ourselves get carried away as though we were all immersed in a choose your adventure book…because we were. Let’s keep our kids young for as long as possible…by staying young ourselves, for as long as possible!
Here are the up to date details. Have fun!
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