The portal opens soon.
Meow Wolf, an immersive art collective, is dropping another location and this time it’s in the Dallas area. The newest “portal” as their locations are called opens in Grapevine on July 14th, 2023. The Meow Wolf Grapevine location is actually inside of the Grapevine Mills mall and it’s absolutely worth a visit. This all ages, immersive art experience, is unlike anything else. We were lucky to receive some complimentary tickets to their preview last weekend, and let me assure you, we had a great time. Keep reading for our experience and I promise to share my full and honest opinion.
How it all started.
Meow Wolf began back in 2008 by a group of artists who wanted to collaboratively display their works and engage with the community in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There is a documentary you can watch that goes into detail about how Meow Wolf came to be, available on iTunes. The first iteration of Meow Wolf was an art concept developed in July of 2012, a convenience store called Omega Mart. This eventually evolved into the first permanent exhibit, The House of Eternal Return, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The “house” is opened in 2015, within an old bowling alley turned immersive experience with a storyline. The Meow Wolf multiverse expanded to Las Vegas in 2021 and added a new version of Omega Mart, located inside Area 51. Convergence Station opened toward the end of 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Now, the newest location Meow Wolf Grapevine, opens on July 14h, 2023.
When we first found Meow Wolf.
In 2017, my children and I were on a month long road trip while living out of our minivan camper. We went out west, to camp on the center line of totality for the last total solar eclipse. Along our way, we stopped at every unique attraction we could find between home and Wyoming. I stumbled on an Atlas Obscura page for Meow Wolf, and immediately planned to route our trip through Santa Fe so we could go. It was mid August and amazingly not too busy, we didn’t even have to reserve tickets ahead of time. It was “summer in the multiverse” during our visit and there were actors engaging with us in the various portals. We were awestruck, impressed, and to be honest, smitten. We love it so much we’ve visited four times.
Making plans to mall walk.
I started seeing the news about Meow Wolf Grapevine about six months ago. I reached out to their main Instagram page to ask about preview tickets and luckily I made the list. The promotions for the new location started and once I saw the 90’s era mall walking ensembles, I knew we would have to dress the part for our visit. After searching the internet thoroughly for the perfect wind suits I found this set on Amazon for my daughter and I. It had the perfect colors and perfect fit and I ordered us matching outfits. My son didn’t love the matching idea, but I did find a jacket that he liked. He was going for a Marty McFly inspired look. The final piece for my outfit: this delightful fanny pack. We got our side pony tails ready and my son broke out his sweat band.
Meow Wolf Grapevine: first impressions.
It felt strange to be walking into Grapevine Mills mall before it opened. We were actual mall walkers while we waited for our 10 am time slot at the portal. The queue is just outside the art space, in the center aisle of the mall. We didn’t have to wait long and when it was time for our turn, I pulled up our digital tickets that I had saved in my Apple wallet on my phone. A few things to note:
- There are no food or drinks allowed inside of the art exhibit, you’ll be asked to dump out any water bottles as well.
- No weapons allowed inside (including knives).
- No smoking or vaping allowed.
- No selfie sticks or tripods.
- No strollers.
- You will need to walk through a metal detector to enter.
- There is a cafe inside where you can order drinks outside of the exhibit.
Entering the House.
Spoiler alert: this post contains details and images of what you’ll find at Meow Wolf Grapevine. If you don’t want to ruin the surprise, stop reading now. If you want to know more details and see some sneak peaks, keep reading. Spoiler number one: it’s a house. It has the vibes of the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, but some of it is just an echo. The first part of the art experiences puts you in front of a house. It’s a night time scene and you hear crickets and see stars twinkling in the sky. This house also features a garden scene, a garden shed and a tool shed. Be sure to open everything and look at each scene closely. The attention to detail on everything is what sets Meow Wolf apart.
The unexpected portal room.
One of our favorite things about Meow Wolf is that everything is unexpected. The premise is that there is an event that occurred that has caused portals to open to different universes. As a result, this creates a multiverse within the house that your exploring. These unexpected portals have become a hallmark of Meow Wolf, and the Grapevine location is no different. We entered the house from the tool shed, roundabout an interstellar ocean, which led to the fireplace and into the house. My kids raced for the refrigerator, and sure enough, it led to a portal with a long, white hallway. We had no idea what would be behind it on the other side and it did not disappoint. The other door opened into what I can best describe is a fridge portal hub that is full of surprises.
On the other side of the door.
One of the things we adore about Meow Wolf Grapevine is the creativity and the unexpected. The “central fridge,” if you will, had doors leading to several different rooms. One of the rooms even had a character with windbreaker that looked eerily similar to ours. Each room had a theme, ranging from something looking suspiciously like mold taking over, to a jungle filled room that morphed into a camper. The camper seemed to have an American southwest desert vibe, and there were so many details to linger over. A tip: look closely out the window a the diorama outside.
The second floor.
The layout of Meow Wolf Grapevine feels nearly identical to Santa Fe when it comes to the house. There is an upstairs, which has three bedrooms, a bathroom, and an office or computer area. The bedrooms all have a portal of their own that eventually lead to a second central hub. The treehouse area and second central hub are reminiscent of both The House of Eternal Return and Convergence Station (Denver). So I’ve been told. We haven’t made it to Denver, yet. Hopefully soon. As you wander through the rooms, see if you can unravel the mystery of one of the missing boy. Open every drawer, cabinet, box, all of it. Meow Wolf is an absolute playground for letting your curiosity lead you.
A side note: low lighting makes photography tricky inside, most of my best content is video footage that will be made into a Reel on Instagram. Stay tuned.
More new things and some extras.
Another really neat thing about Meow Wolf is that they work with local artists for each location. Artists interested in collaborating with Meow Wolf can always submit a proposal at any time HERE. The exhibits on display in Grapevine are really fantastic and unique, you won’t see these anywhere else. Most of the works are site specific, meaning they were created just for this experience. This new location has a few features that the Santa Fe house does not: such as a peaceful projection room with a time lapse sunrise that reflects against piles of reflective cubes. There’s also a piano that plays notes and lights. There’s an arcade with a talking vending machine. The washing machine portal is twice the fun because it has a twin: a dryer portal. There are mazes and murals and so much more.
Things to keep in mind.
There are few things to keep in mind when visiting Meow Wolf Grapevine. The first is that you should purchase your tickets ahead of time online. Every Meow Wolf location has grown in popularity in recent years and by buying your ticket ahead of time you’ll save your place in line. Here’s what else you should know:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Some parts of the exhibit have the opportunity to crouch, crawl and climb.
- Be patient. It may be crowded, and everyone should get a chance to see everything.
- Feel free to touch and explore the art and experience, but please be respectful, the artists worked hard to cultivate the experience. Please don’t beat on, or let your children beat on, the art.
- Strollers are not allowed but baby carriers are okay.
- Plan for around an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the crowds.
- The cafe has coffee, pastries and snacks.
- Be sure to check out the gift shop on your way out.
- A note: if you’ve already been to the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, I’m not sure that I would plan a special trip to Texas just for Meow Wolf Grapevine. The experience is very similar. But, the art, story, and time period are different so it is a unique and separate experience.
It’s what you make it.
One of the things that we love so much about Meow Wolf is that the experience is what you make it. If you’d like to dive deep and try to solve the various puzzles and plot line, you can. If you would rather just float from room to room and soak in the experience for what it is, you can do that too. Meow Wolf Grapevine, like all of the other locations, is for everyone, including all ages. Approach the experience with an open mind, and let your curiosity take you on a journey into the weird and wonderful world of Meow Wolf.
Thanks for reading! I hope that this sneak peak of Meow Wolf Grapevine was helpful. I’m Nichole, and I’m a homeschool Mom to two, and a family travel content creator. We may homeschool but we rarely stay home. We believe in using the world as our classroom and helping our children to see the whole picture, through experience based learning. Read more about that HERE or HERE. Follow along with our adventures over on Instagram. I’d love to see you there. Thanks for reading, have a great day, wherever you are. ~Nichole