Meow Wolf Convergence Station in Denver has its grand opening today. Last week, my family and friends got to explore a soft opening for employees’ families and friends. It gave all the new employees a chance to practice their training with a hopefully tolerant crowd. I thought it was a great idea since my oldest daughter is a Meow Wolf employee!
If you are unfamiliar with the Meow Wolf concept, it is a building full of fantasy vignettes. Its website describes it as “… immersive, psychedelic, mind-bending art” with an “underlying rich narrative as you take a journey of discovery into a surreal, science-fictional epic.” Its story is non-linear, and I didn’t even try to figure it out, as I often didn’t see any relationship between the various rooms, and I wasn’t able to see it all.
There are lots of colors, music, and surprises at every turn. We spent most of our time in a three-story area with an open center and rooms all around.
My daughter explained a little of the underlying story, and it involved an extinct civilization, and then I kind of lost the plot. The crowd was primarily young, and as I saw all the stairs, I wondered how people with mobility disabilities could explore. My daughter pointed out all the elevators, showing that they were more prepared than I thought. I wondered if autistic or sensitive people could handle the high sensory load.
Meow Wolf thoughtfully is ready to supply sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones for those who need to tone down the experience. I was rather impressed by their efforts to make the installation accessible; I wish all businesses could aspire to think of the whole population when developing their plans. See here for a great description.
We were tired of the over-stimulation almost two hours into our visit. Somehow, we all managed to drift into the café for a beverage and a little quiet around the same time. My daughter insisted that before we left, we had to visit an unmarked room through a white door on the first floor. It was a blast! Inside was a light show. Unlike a concert, where lasers are shooting everywhere, it was more like a planetarium. Instead of projecting light-art onto the ceiling, the lights are projected onto the walls and floor. The scenes changed quickly enough that no one was bored, but it was the floor that fascinated most of us.
The floor was interactive. In some scenes, you could see a “puddle” projected onto the floor. If someone jumped in it, “water” splattered everywhere! In other scenes, laser lights followed each footstep. There were several different ways that the guests could interact with the floor, and we all enjoyed it. The room doubled as Meow Wolf’s concert venue, which surprised me. It was small for a concert, but just the right size for everyone to feel like they were a part of the musical experience. I’ll bet it will be popular with the indie music crowd.
If you ever envy Alice getting to fall down the rabbit hole, and you want to experience something unexpected, then Meow Wolf is definitely for you! They have other installations, with totally different exhibits in Sante Fe and Las Vegas, too.