There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who love Meow Wolf and those who haven’t heard of them yet. Maybe I exaggerate, but life was different before I heard of them. I’ve become a fan of the world of Meow Wolf after visiting their Denver installation, Convergence Station.
We visited on a recent winter vacation to Denver. Overall, we spent about three hours there. Here’s what to expect if you go.
Who is Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf started out as a group of artists in New Mexico who became known for creating immersive works of art designed for audience participation. They describe the group’s founders as “Santa Fe-based artists with previous and current lives as graphic designers, technologists, writers, fabricators, painters, sculptors, musicians, rat gang leaders, and shoplifters.”
They’ve grown into a creative arts and entertainment company that has created three wildly imaginative, interactive experiences in three separate cities: Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and most recently in September 2021, Denver. Fast Company has named them one of the Top 10 Live Events Companies.
They cool thing is that each installation is a collaborative work between Meow Wolf and local artists. In Denver, they worked with 110 artists and more than 300 creatives.
What exactly is Convergence Station?
You could say Convergence Station is a massive art installation. That’s a pretty simplified explanation, but start there.
There’s a story behind the four-story-tall art installation and on the surface, you’re a traveler visiting four different alien worlds:
- C Street – A gritty world that seems like a streetscape, as if the imagined future of “Back to the Future 2” mixed with anime. Look for a rat battle game you can play against another person, vehicles to climb in, and a projected video you can interact with (and maybe it’s a game…I couldn’t tell for sure but the kids loved it).
- Ossuary – A world of catacombs, it’s part rock and part light, and a whole lot of little rooms. This felt like one of the more creepier worlds to me, though there was nothing scary about it. it’s just the whole catacombs thing.
- Eemia – This the ice world, and it’s where you’ll find the magnificent, colorful castle with some pretty cool interactive elements.
- Numina – My favorite, this colorful world had caves, giant mushrooms and mythical-looking creatures and a ton of colors.
You’ll meet characters in each of these worlds and you’re encouraged to interact with them.
And there’s also a backstory and a mystery to solve.
I’m going to assume most people have a similar first-time experience as me. It’s a sensory overload when you enter your first “world.” There’s a lot to take in – a lot visually, a lot audibly, a lot you want to touch and manipulate.
And oh lord, if you visit with kids, it’s even harder as you reign in your impulse to frolic and touch everything because you’ve got quick little ones who want to see all the things. There are more than 70 installations inside this space, including cavernous rooms 30 feet high. Good luck with that.
Anyway, my whole family spent our visit gawking and speed walking to find the next magnificent room. All of us were newbies to Meow Wolf.
You’ll soon learn, though, that there is a mystery to solve while you’re there…or on your next visit. You can pay attention to clues on posters, newspaper front pages, on the unusual alien news channels in different worlds.
What’s the backstory of Convergence Station?
I’ll leave it to the press release for this one.
“Twenty-five years ago, a freak cosmic event merged four worlds from different universes, erasing the memories of all residents and spawning the mystifying disappearances of four women. The Quantum Department of Transportation serves as the gateway to these diverse worlds: kaleidoscopic cathedrals, Corinthian catacombs, lush alien habitats, and dazzling and gritty cityscapes.
“In this hotbed of interplanetary cohabitation, memories serve as both currency and the key to unlocking the story behind the women’s disappearances and cause of the convergence–as do multimedia clues that reveal themselves to all of the senses.”
Tip: If you really want to get into the substory, buy a QPass to collect clues in forms of memories. When you hear people refer to “booping” something, they mean scanning their QPcard. You only need one for your group.
Is Meow Wolf OK for kids?
Yes. Absolutely. There are no jump scares or anything like that. Some spaces may be a little poorly lit for young kids to feel comfortable exploring, but there are no inappropriate in the building. To me, it was just a very enchanting space that I think will fascinate kids.
Mine were 10 and 12 when they went to Convergence Station and hands down, it was their favorite thing on our Denver trip.
With that in mind, it’s pricey. You’re going to want to stay beyond exhaustion just so you feel like you get your money’s worth.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Tip: Talk to the aliens or encourage your kids to talk to them. There are inhabitants in each world, and for the most part, you can easily spot them. They’ll be dressed unusually. (I saw “for the most part” because some visitors are also dressed eccentrically…try not to embarrass yourself by mistaking them for an alien).
These inhabitants are pretty friendly and can give you clues or teach you things or direct you to useful places (for example… I don’t know…the bathrooms).
One costumed character taught my daughter a greeting.
Another gave her a quest to go on. I think it involved a mushroom boy band. I dunno.
Can you bring food into Convergence Station?
No. There’s a cafe called Hello Food on the first floor of the building. Meow Wolf worked with local entrepreneurs for some of the food and drinks including local breweries.
We stayed for about three hours during our visit and we needed a snack to finish our explorations. The prices are a premium but at least it’s good food. We all liked God Save The Cream’s Dirty Oreo ice cream.
There’s also alcoholic options from local breweries if you felt like adding another layer of unsteadiness to your explorations. Cups of water are free.
Tip: Bring an empty water bottle. You’re not allowed to bring in outside food and drinks, but if you have an empty bottle you can fill it at the water fountains throughout the building. Believe me, you’re going to work up a thirst climbing stairs, crawling through little spaces, and as you push kids out of the way so you can play on the giant captain’s chair.
When is Convergence Station’s hours?
Convergence Station is open daily. Hours are Sundays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to midnight. Hours are subject to change depending on demand. Their ticketing portal will have the latest availability.
Even on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon, there was a line of people with pre-purchased tickets. I highly recommend reservations.
Good things to know before you go to Convergence Station
- Leave the big bags and backpacks at home. And strollers.
- Check current safety protocols before you go. Convergence Station just opened in the final quarter of 2021, and the pandemic is still raging on. Masks were required for everyone to enter the building. Will that change? Someday? Probably?
- Use the bathroom when you get the chance. There are bathrooms on the first floor was you enter, and those are probably going to be the easiest ones for you to find. We found bathrooms in the catacomb-like area of NAME, too. Look for a small space that’s mostly block and white. You’ll find water fountains, a spinning wheel on the wall, and alas, bathrooms.
- Parking is extra. There’s a good reason why your ticket confirmation email tells you to consider ride sharing to the venue. Parking near Convergence Station is limited and it’s a premium. We paid $10 for our spot. If your visit falls on an NFL Game Day, there is no parking at the main Meow Wolf Denver site, except for a limited number of accessible parking spaces (permit required).
Not that I did that.
Is Meow Wolf worth the price of the ticket?
Again, yes. But that is just my opinion. Adult tickets were $45 each and children tickets were $40 each for the day and time we visited. Prices may vary.
There’s a reason why they have hugely loyal fans who travel to each city they open an installation, though. It taps into an area of our imaginations we haven’t experienced since childhood.
If you’ve been to The City Museum in St. Louis, you’ll have a sense of what kind of wonder world artists can create. Now imagine 100+ artists inspired by Dr. Seuss with a sizable budget and awesome technology at their fingertips, and you get closer to picturing what a Meow Wolf art installation.
(And being an employee of a children’s museum, I can’t help but point out the most popular aspects of Meow Wolf are the hands-on pieces you can play with, climb through or manipulate just but instead of being just for kids, it’s for all of us).
If you go
Where: 1338 First St., Denver, nestled in the middle of West Colfax Avenue and Interstate 25