A visit to Santa Fe with kids is a magical experience. It delights all of the senses from the sight of enchanting vistas to the smells and tastes of the chilis and chocolates of New Mexican cuisine. Now a new multi-dimensional, multi-sensory place of discovery and imagination that was born of art gives families all the excuse they need to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. Part amusement park and part art experience, Meow Wolf will enchant your entire family.
Stepping into a refrigerator with my mom and sliding through the clothes dryer with my four-year-old son upped the unique-experiences bar for my family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A family adventure at Meow Wolf, an arts complex that is an immersive storytelling experience, raises “What’s possible?” questions and delivers multigenerational delights.
In a day and age when kids too often hear “be careful” and “don’t touch that,” Meow Wolf encourages the opposite. We were all expected to open and then explore through doors, cabinets and anything that could conceivably be an entry. I can’t remember experiencing anything quite so interactive, adventurous or stimulating to the imagination. Most importantly, Meow Wolf was FUN.
Experience the Portals of Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf is housed in an old bowling alley. A secret agent greets visitors on a television screen prior to entry. We tentatively stepped up to the front porch of an old house and entered through the front door. Exploring the house, we wandered into the living room, kitchen, dining room, laundry room and eventually headed upstairs to the bedrooms. In many of these rooms we saw people crawling through the fireplace, stepping into the refrigerator or sliding through the dryer in the laundry room and we followed suit. We opened as many doors and cabinets as we could to find portals of our own.
Along with the grandparents, we chased our kids through the fireplace to a room with a huge dinosaur skeleton lit up in neon that the kids tapped to make music. This space led to another space, and another, each that was a new exciting world that sparked our imaginations… A cave filled with owl eyes, an old camper, an alien China town, a tree house with beautiful laser art hanging in the sky, a bus facing the sky that we pretended to drive while laying on our backs, a dark, smokey room with lasers that allowed us to create music and much more.
3 Generations Unearth Mystery at Meow Wolf
Why should everyone experience Meow Wolf? Three generations of our family probed its mysteries together. Meow Wolf was the highlight of our family trip to Santa Fe for all of us, from grandparents, to parents, to the kids.
The grandparent generation of our family observed the curiosity of the kid generation on full display at Meow Wolf. Our elders saw art and technology melding, perhaps as insight to the future of the grand kids.
The parent generation of our family enjoyed Meow Wolf because it was fun and full of discovery. All of us experienced something that we had never experienced before. Meow Wolf brought our imaginations to life, making me think I could have been stepping out of C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe into Narnia in real life. The experience continues to spark conversation in our house and has given our children the ultimate opportunity to practice telling stories.
The kid generation of our family loved the Meow Wolf experience because every member of our multi-generational family played together and had fun. Rather than playing in the pool with a couple of family members while the others chatted by the side of the pool, every single member of the family interacted to work together to find secret passageways and then find our way out.
What to Know Before Visiting Meow Wolf Art Installation
- Arrive early to beat the crowds.
- Allow about two hours for your first visit.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
- Bring a camera to take pictures.
- Don’t purchase the 3D-like glasses. Our kids had no interest in wearing them. They were moving way too fast for them to stay on.
- After being worn out from explorations, enjoy lunch in the lobby, purchased from the food trucks in the parking lot
Other Delights to Experience While Visiting Santa Fe with Kids
Santa Fe is a city that ignites all of your senses. Explore the fantastic museums and other cultural attractions, most of which include an interactive component for kids.
There are so many remarkable restaurants in Santa Fe. Take time to enjoy traditional New Mexican cuisine comprised of flavors of native chilis, beans and chocolate and accompanied savory tortillas. Our children left with a new found love of tacos.
Take in the views. New Mexico is aptly named the Land of Enchantment in part due to its spectacular landscapes and sunsets. Take a hike, not just to take in the landscapes, but also learn a little about the Pueblo people. I was sad we didn’t have time visit Bandelier National Monument this trip but we have made it to Mesa Verde in the past, which has an amazing history.
Santa Fe Skiing
New Mexico is home to several small charming ski resorts, all within easy driving distance of Santa Fe. I certainly wouldn’t pass up the opportunity for a family ski lesson or two while visiting Santa Fe with kids!
As we were leaving Santa Fe after a fun filled long weekend, our daughter, who has always wanted to be a doctor, informed us that now she has now decided to be a doctor, artist and/ or chef when she grows up. If you want to expand your kids’ horizons, introduce them to new sights, stories and flavors then make plans to visit Santa Fe. Just be sure not to leave Meow Wolf off of your itinerary!