It’s the cat’s howl.
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Date Played: December 13, 2021
Group size: we recommend 1-4
Duration: We recommend at least 2 hours, possibly many more.
Price: $35-$40 per adult (less for children, seniors, and military)
Accessibility Consideration: The first floor of the exhibit, which features the majority of the installation, meets ADA standards and is accessible. To experience the entire exhibit you’ll need to go up and down stairs.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
The House of Eternal Return, the original Meow Wolf, was the most hyped up experience that I’ve ever set foot in. For years people have told us we need to go. We’ve watched the documentary, had conversations with some of the artists behind it, and heard tales of many of its wonders. When we landed in Santa Fe, got in our rental car, and drove to the famed immersive art installation, we all acknowledged that it might be overhyped. We might not enjoy it… it was possible that we’d leave early…
We ended up staying until we were too tired and hungry to continue.
I’ve always appreciated Disney parks, but never felt the “magic” that some of my Disney-loving friends speak of. I felt that magic in The House of Eternal Return. From the moment I entered, I felt high on wonder. Around any given corner, anything could exist. The intrigue was intoxicating.
There were rooms where we stood, just taking in every single detail we could find. My biggest takeaway from The House of Eternal Return was that literally anything can be a good building or decorating material if you’re committed enough. The detailing and nuance were incredible. At any given moment you could zoom in on some minute thing that maybe one person notices per day… or zoom out and take in something broadly impressive. I cannot recall seeing anything like it at this scale.
That’s not to say that The House of Eternal Return was perfect… it wasn’t. There were puzzles, gameplay, and story elements that felt clunky to engage with. At worst they became an agitation that drew too much attention away from the world, the vibe, and the wonder.
Similarly, there were interactions that felt janky or broken. I frequently felt like the puzzles and interactions weren’t designed or built for the kind of scale that The House of Eternal Return operates at. The best lesson that I took away from these frustrations was to dip my toe into any given interaction… and then decide if I want to wade in more deeply, or just move on. Ride the waves of wonder, swim with the current, and if something feels like it’s resisting too much, disregard it… There’s always something wondrous around the next corner anyway.
The House of Eternal Return feels like Meow Wolf’s incredible and soulful first album… the one they made without the pressures of expectations, the burden of profit margins, or the weight of having to “do it the right way.”
Go there and experience it for yourself (preferably on a weekday–Monday was a joy.) Meow Wolf will make many other experiences, and my guess is that plenty of other organizations will create their own versions of the concept, but I doubt that there will ever be another place like The House of Eternal Return.
Who is this for?
- Adventure seekers
- Story seekers
- Scenery snobs
- Any experience level
- It’s a big, beautiful, impossible world to explore
- There’s nothing else like it
The Selig family had disappeared from their home after experimenting with inter-dimensional travel. In their place formed “The Anomaly,” fractures in time and space. A secret government organization known as The Charter contained the situation and have disguised it as an art installation.
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