Over Thanksgiving 2018, I decided to take a trip to New Mexico with Hannah to check some more National Parks off our list. We flew out of Eau Claire with a connecting flight in Chicago O’Hare to Albuquerque, NM. Thankfully I used a United Chase Credit Card to book the flight and got us a free United Club Pass! Hannah enjoyed the unlimited breakfast buffet and comfy seats while we awaited our 3+ hour layover before boarding our flight to Albuquerque.
The next few blog posts will be about this trip and the specific parks and monuments that we visited. However, I wanted to take some time to talk about the first part of the trip, because Hannah will tell you it was her FAVORITE thing we’ve ever done and she still to this day asks to go back to this place. We rented a car and drove north about an hour to Santa Fe. My friend Drew lives here and we were staying with him for the night.
When we arrived, Drew was still working, but he suggested we check out a place called Meow Wolf. I replied, “Meow what? Is this some sort of cat exhibit?” He explained it as an interactive art and music exhibit and said to trust him, which I do, but I still looked it up online to see if I could learn more. Online you will find out that it is a “unique & immersive art installations with multimedia elements & a mysterious narrative throughout.” Which honestly was not any more helpful of a description as Drew gave me.
I decided to trust him and we shortly arrived at what appeared to be a renovated bowling alley. I was skeptical, yet intrigued by the large sculptures outside the building. The cost was about $50 total for our tickets (1 adult, 1 child) and when purchasing them, I told the girl behind the counter that we had never been here and did not really know where to start or what to do.
She pointed towards a door and said, “There are 70 rooms inside (20,000 square feet) and there is no right or wrong way to experience Meow Wolf. You can enter here, and you will eventually find an exit. There will be some people in there that have bright vests on and if you need anything, they can help you.” Ummm… okay!? So we entered through a door and into one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.
Experiencing Meow Wolf
The first room was dark aside from bright neon lights and signs. We walked through what appeared to be a life-sized aquarium, with neon algae and even a life-sized scuba guy. The only thing we were missing was the water. Later in the tour, we saw the actual aquarium that was being replicated. If you are having a hard time picturing this, it’s because I am having a hard time describing it.
We entered into another space that contained life-sized dinosaur bones that you could hit and they would play a musical note. Another section looked like a tree fort, and yet a different part was what seemed like a normal 2-story house. At one point Hannah had me crawling into this tiny space from a neon room and we came out into a fireplace in the living room of the house. Something about me army crawling through this hole delighted her to no end as we ended up back here several times, which gave the employee in the bright vest a laugh every time he saw me wiggle through it.
Next we were in the kitchen of the house and Hannah opened the refrigerator to unveil a bright white lighted hallway. All you could see was white – the floors, walls, and ceilings were all white. I imagine this is what going to heaven might look like. She of course walked right inside of it, pulling me with her, landing us in another dimension of the experience.
A Child’s Imagination is Inspiring
I honestly would not have seen half of the rooms if not for having Hannah with me. A child’s imagination is endless and she somehow knew what buttons to press and hidden levers to pull that would open secret doors and into new rooms. One of my favorite rooms had laser lights shining down in the shape of a harp, so the laser beams looks like the strings. When you touched the lights, so really nothing at all, just the air where the lights were, you created the sound of the harp.
I could go on forever trying to describe the rooms but you may be better off just googling “Meow Wolf” and selecting images. Better yet, take a trip to Sante Fe to experience this for yourself! They will be opening additional locations in Las Vegas (2020) and Denver (2021) and I am so excited to take Hannah to them!
I recommend allowing at least 2 hours of time to experience the entire place. By then, I think we had seen most of it, some rooms multiple times. The photos I took do not do it justice. I also highly recommend experiencing Meow Wolf with a child. Their awe, amazement, and imagination is inspiring to witness.
After Meow Wolf, we hit up a grocery store to get our supplies for the trip, such as PB&Js, apples, bananas, and some car snacks, such as granola bars, fruit snacks, almonds, and bubble gum. We then met Drew and went to an amazing Mexican dinner. I could hardly keep my eyes open by the time we got back to Drew’s that night. It was a long travel day, but an incredible experience that Hannah talks about to this day.
Additional “Things to Do”
At the end of our trip we had an extra day in Albuquerque and took the 15 minute Sandia Park Tramway to the top of the Sandia Mountains (10,378 ft. peak) overlooking the city of Albuquerque on one side, and a ski hill on the back side. Unfortunately, going up that fast gave me some altitude sickness. Hannah thankfully handled it just fine! While she wouldn’t stop pointing out all of the amazing things she was seeing on the way up, I was crouched down, crowded by a lot of people in a small tram, trying not to see my lunch again. I was able to get a hold of my bearings after about 15 minutes at the top, but we were pretty cold and ready to hit the pool at our hotel before our early morning flight home the next day. We also met a nice young couple at the top who had hiked the 7.5 miles up ~3,500 foot incline and were taking the tram back down.