There’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Meow Wolf before.
If you’ve recently taken a trip to Las Vegas, Denver, or Santa Fe, it may have came up in your research or you may have just seen people sharing some of the most trippy Meow Wolf visuals online.
But what exactly is Meow Wolf? And what is the experience like?
In this review article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about and try to give you a sense of what to expect if you choose to experience Meow Wolf.
Table of Contents
What is Meow Wolf?
Meow Wolf is a large art exhibit with a labyrinthine of immersive and interactive art installations that offer visitors a unique psychedelic encounter in a place that is truly a playground for the senses.
You’ll explore countless installations, rooms, and portals with intricately created artwork designed to inspire your own boundless creativity.
Where are the Meow Wolf locations?
This article sets its sights on the enigmatic Meow Wolf Denver (Convergence Station), a permanent addition to the roster of mind-bending installations that have sprouted like technicolor mushrooms across the United States since 2016.
There are currently other permanent Meow Wolf locations in Las Vegas (Omega Mart) and Santa Fe (House of Eternal Return) where the psychedelic roots of Meow Wolf first took hold.
Very shortly there will be one opening up in the Dallas area and there seem to be plans to open up other facilities, including a Meow Wolf hotel in Phoenix.
Each location has a different story and its own unique dimensions which is why people often try out all of the different locations.
What to know before you visit
It’s a bit of sensory overload
Prepare to have your perception shattered as you step into the psychedelic wonderland that is Meow Wolf. It’s not just the mind-bending visuals and auditory kaleidoscopes that assault your senses — it’s the absolute psychedelic frenzy of your surroundings that will leave your brain somersaulting.
Imagine, venturing from one room to the next, where logic takes a vacation and the sheer absurdity of it all jolts your synapses in ways you never imagined.
My advice: embrace the weirdness, let your curiosity take the reins, and go in with at least a little bit of knowledge about what to expect with respect to the puzzles and interactive wonders that await you (I’ll show you how to do that below.)
Walking into Meow Wolf without any idea of what’s going on is like walking into a room full of cats throwing a surprise birthday party for a dog. Baffled? Intrigued? Yes, you grasp the essence of the experience already.
It can get crowded
Although the Denver Convergence Station is a huge facility and is largely accessible with open paths, it can get a bit crowded with the ebb and flow of the visiting masses. We found this to especially be the case when especially when swarmed by a gaggle of kids on a field trip.
The chaparones don’t want their kids getting lost so they often herd them in large groups which means that you could be walking into a small room filled with 20 high school students.
There is a once-a-month soirée known as the adults’ night you can look into but other times you may just want to visit during the weekday and cross your fingers that there will not be an onslaught of field trips.
There are bathrooms on three different levels of this sprawling art sanctuary. The main bathroom is on the ground level right behind the information desk but there are also bathrooms on floors three and five.
You have a refill station on the inside so you can bring an empty water bottle through security. You might be surprised how you quickly quantum travel can awaken your thirst so consider bringing a bottle that can be refilled.
There is parking available adjacent to the facility’s main entrance (1338 1st St, Denver, CO 80204) but it’s not always available. If there is a Broncos (the local NFL team) game going on, you won’t have any of that parking available. In fact, if there is a Broncos game going down I would recommend NOT heading to Meow Wolf on that day.
Assuming you find parking in that lot, you can head to the front area where you will enter your license plate and pay for your parking which at the time of our visit was $15.
You can also park at a nearby parking garage which is located at: 650 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80204.
Upon arriving at Meow Wolf Denver, you might be greeted by the sight of a couple of lengthy lines. But don’t worry those queues shall dissipate like smoke in the wind.
To ensure a seamless entry, Meow Wolf Denver organizes separate lines for different crowd times, which ensures a smooth flow of visitors, allowing you to step into the transit station of Meow Wolf right on schedule.
When you go through security you need to remove items from your pocket and go to the walk-through metal detector. Keep in mind that they don’t allow bags so you need to leave that behind.
The Meow Wolf experience
When it comes to embarking on your first adventure at Meow Wolf, you have two intriguing paths to choose from, each offering a distinct approach to this immersive wonderland.
The first approach is to dive headfirst into the experience. Embrace the organic nature of discovery and let your senses guide you. This type of unscripted journey, much like the one we undertook, offers its own unique charm. However, it can present some challenges when it comes to comprehending the full picture of the narrative within Meow Wolf Denver.
If you want to go this first route then I suggest you stop scrolling because I have a lot of photos and info below (but no spoilers)!
The second way to visit would be to prepare for the experience. You don’t need to go overboard but getting some of the basics down will go a long way. This is the path I would recommend for most visitors, as it strikes a harmonious balance between discovery and comprehension.
Now let’s talk about the experience.
Once you enter the lobby, you’ll surely be impressed by the beautiful ceiling.
If you want to go for the second approach, you should head straight to the information desk and purchase a “QDOT,” (Quantum Department of Transportation) QPASS card for $3.
They don’t really advertise these when you enter and they are not necessary for the experience, but I think it’s a must to pick up one of these whenever you begin.
These QPASS cards act like a conduit for unlocking the mysteries of this artistic realm, taking you deeper into the narrative and helping you to discover interesting hidden features. You only need one per small group/couple.
Speaking of storyline, here’s the gist: you’re arriving at Convergence Station, the first multiversal transit station serving Earth.
QDOT allows you to travel on a quantum level utilizing the TRAMS (elevators) or the quantum stairwells (stairs), so you can safely enjoy multiversal travel.
This is all a big deal because of the convergence — an event where four alien worlds (Eemia, Ossuary, Numina, and the Immensity) from different regions of the multiverse instantaneously fused together.
Normally, such occurrences would swiftly revert back to their original states. But this time something peculiar happened. The fused worlds remained intertwined, creating a new realm aptly named “Convergence.”
There’s a “rift echo” from Denver to Convergence that QDOT utilized to build the TRAM Line, which is how you’re able to arrive at these fused worlds in an instant.
This cosmic event (“the convergence”) is also the name of the new fused world (Convergence) that you will be exploring just to be 100% clear.
As you explore, you’ll “Boop” (scan) your QPASS card at MEMports — the glowing, swirling portals that beckon you to interact. It’s at these stations, where you’ll collect fragments of memories, which are called MEMs.
These MEMs have been lost by citizens due to “memory storms,” which, due to the instability in these fused worlds, unexpectedly cause people to lose their memories or have other people’s memories stored within them. MEMs are like a currency in the entangled realm of Convergence. The more you have, the better.
You can also Boop your QPASS at any “Memory ATM” to review your memory inventory and all the info you’ve found on your journey thus far. It’s sort of a way to keep tabs on everything and access information that will help you weave together the nebulous strands of the overarching story.
Most importantly for some, collecting MEMs will get you closer to unraveling of the main storyline of Convergence. By safeguarding memories from the peril of being wiped away, you play a vital role in preserving the essence of this whimsical realm.
MEMs can also serve as the catalysts for unlocking extraordinary secret puzzles, such as the awe-inspiring “Opening the Sky.”
After you get your QPASS card, you can head up to any level that you’d like although they recommend that you head up to the “neon metropolis” of C Street, where you can jam out in a rocket car.
Just keep in mind that as you go through this entire installation, this is very much a nonlinear experience.
On your first visit to this this sprawling four-floor, 90,000-square-feet creation, getting turned around or momentarily lost is virtually inevitable—and dare I say, part of the enchantment.
Although sometimes it feels like you’re going through seemingly endless portals to other wondrous rooms, you never venture too deep to where you’re without a clue of where to go next. Trusty green exit signs will also point out how to get out at any given moment (just watch out for the mirror room).
So what is it actually like to wander through Meow Wolf?
It’s not easy to put into words the kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences that await you as you venture into Meow Wolf.
Within this enigmatic domain, the familiar boundaries of reality dissipate, giving rise to a mesmerizing fusion of a funhouse’s whimsy, an arcade’s exhilaration, an escape room’s puzzles, a sci-fi movie set’s grandeur, and a horror museums’ chilling intrigue. The result? A singularly psychedelic experience that defies categorization and transports you to realms beyond imagination.
You just have to experience it.
But back to the practical for a second, here’s something else you need to know about booping: You don’t have to boop a new station every time to acquire new MEMs.
But you can’t just boop the same station over and over, as you’ll eventually need to head to a different one and then come back later. (This can be really handy when you are trying to arrive at the end of the story but are pushing it with time.)
If you don’t want to go the QPASS route, you can still just admire the amazing visuals and try to learn as much about the storyline as you can through some of the exhibits.
You’ll stumble upon a treasure trove of text and media that transcends the conventional boundaries of storytelling. Books allure with secret-filled pages, while computer files reveal documents and data that lead you on never ending rabbit trails.
Let your eyes wander across the vivid imagery that adorns the exhibits, noticing each fragment of the narrative and attempting to decode its enigmatic messages.
It’ll be up to you to make sense of it all, which isn’t always so easy especially with all of the clamoring and crowds swarming about. It’s best to just roll with it, although finding a quieter place to watch some of the memories will be helpful.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an avid enthusiast of art, it is nearly impossible not to marvel at the sheer intricacy and attention to detail found within the exhibits of Meow Wolf. Each piece, meticulously crafted to the finest degree, holds a testament to the immense dedication and passion of the artists involved.
As you wander through the exhibits, take a moment to truly appreciate the artistry that surrounds you and contemplate the countless hours invested in perfecting even the tiniest details.
Behind this extraordinary artistic endeavor lies the collective effort of over 300 creatives, among them, more than 110 Colorado-based artists.
Some of the larger areas like the Kaleidogothic Cathedral in the Ice Cities of Eemia and are pretty amazing to see and a a testament to the boundless imagination and artistic prowess that defines Meow Wolf. The scale of the architecture and the intricate details of the surroundings will leave you spellbound.
To truly immerse yourself in the wonders of Meow Wolf, embrace your curiosity wholeheartedly. Leave no door unopened and let your inquisitive spirit guide you. Be prepared to encounter hidden passageways in unexpected places and ready for things to not make sense.
Experiment with the interactive features and technology at your disposal throughout this psychedelic world, for they hold the key to unlocking a multitude of experiences. From the intriguing puzzles like Speaking Into The Ears and the Cathedral Organ to other interactive elements, each one offers a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the narrative. Some may require a card, while others allow you to engage freely.
Don’t be afraid to approach some of the residents when you get stumped or have questions about what to do next. When in doubt, just Boop a MEMport.
Tip: Bring a couple of quarters with you in case you don’t find them on the ground.
You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there won’t be much twisting, turning, or climbing involved—at least until you encounter the corkscrew staircase.
Consider taking a break at some point and heading to the HELLOFOOD Café. They have an array of grab and go meals and snacks along with lots of different types of drinks.
We tried out the mac & cheese along with the carnitas tacos and both were really good — probably much higher quality than you would anticipate.
After you take a well-deserved break from the mind-bending stimulation, you can dive back into the kaleidoscopic realm of Meow Wolf.
After returning and exploring some more, we reached the culmination of the storyline we had been tracing, a climactic moment that some fellow travelers unwittingly shared with us who had just embarked on their own adventure.
It’s worth noting that an alternate ending is possible, offering a twist of unpredictability that adds to the intrigue.
If you find yourself lost or confused about the storyline, you can always check your memory inventory later on by scanning the QR code on the back of your card. Delve into the depths of your accumulated memories, connecting the fragments of the narrative to weave together a more comprehensive understanding.
As you near what seems to be the culmination of your journey, I’d recommend you to embark on one final adventure before bidding farewell to Meow Wolf. Head to the stairwell and allow it to transport you to each floor one last time, as if granted a second chance to uncover hidden gems and hidden rooms that may have eluded your initial exploration.
We did this and ended up finding several little rooms that we had failed to notice on our first take.
And finally at the end of your visit, you can also check out the gift shop which is quite large and worth at least a quick stroll to check out some of the unique items like the $80 intricately designed coffee mugs.
Is Meow Wolf Denver worth it?
Because tickets can range from $40 to $50, you’ll no doubt be thinking about whether or not the experience is worth it.
For me, this was my first ever truly immersive art exhibit and so it was going to be worth it just for trying out such a novel experience.
I’m also a fan of museums and have dabbled in the psychedelic world so it was sort of a no-brainer to go ahead and try out something like this.
You just have to go into it with the mindset that you’re going to be overwhelmed when you first begin. Whether that is because of the sights and sounds or just being overloaded with storyline information that doesn’t make sense, it’s probably going to happen so try not to write off the experience.
Once we settled in after about 20 minutes, the immersive narrative began to unfold and I found myself becoming more at ease and more captivated by the sights and sounds.
So, is it worth it? Absolutely.
However, it is essential to approach this adventure with an open mind, fully embracing the storyline and granting yourself the luxury of time to immerse yourself in the experience.
As you surrender to the enigma that awaits, you will discover a world that transcends conventional boundaries—a world where imagination reigns supreme and every corner holds the potential for awe-inspiring revelation.
Meow Wolf Denver FAQ
How much time do you need to visit Meow Wolf Denver?
We spent about three hours and 15 minutes visiting which included a short time taking a break at the café. If you’re planning on trying to solve some of the mystery and savor your time, I think three hours is a good allocation of time.
However, some people are known to spend even more time especially if they want to try out all of the different puzzles and side shows. You could spend a full day.
Personally, if you’re going to be in the Denver area longer it may be better to just plan a second visit once you get the feel of the layout because you’ll probably be able to unlock more secrets.
Is it overwhelming for people sensitive to sounds and sensory overload?
I tend to get sensory overload quite often with attractions like this and it definitely was a bit overwhelming.
With that said, there are some areas that are pretty calm and could give you a respite from all of the craziness. And like I mentioned, if you give yourself some time to settle in, you can get a lot more comfortable.
Is there something satanic about Meow Wolf?
There are some art pieces that have a satanic vibe to them but I would not describe the experience as something “satanic.”
It’s more that when you have so much art, especially art psychedelic in nature, you’re going to see some of the dark side. At any rate, you can always just avoid that area.
Should you take edibles before going to Meow Wolf?
I personally would not get high before experiencing Meow Wolf for the first time. That’s because there is so much going on and it could make it harder for you to try to follow along with the story or work through some of the puzzles.
With that said, everybody has their own tolerance and if you’re really just there for the visuals and sensory intake, you may find it enhances the experience. Be safe and obey the law.
Do they allow cameras?
I’ve seen mixed reports about cameras being allowed. I saw some people with smaller DSLR cameras but I did see some reports about those not being allowed. Definitely contact them ahead of time if you are wondering if your camera will be allowed.
At the end of the day Meow Wolf is about immersing yourself in a labyrinthine of interactive installations, each pulsating with vibrant colors and mind-bending creativity. Allow yourself to let go and be swept away by the surreal narratives that unfold before you as you discover your own artistic side and you’ll come out appreciating the venue a lot more.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.