Day Trips: Meow Wolf, Grapevine & Houston

Immersive art experience arrives in Texas this summer


Artist rendition of the entrance to the new Meow Wolf to open in Grapevine this summer (courtesy of Meow Wolf)

Meow Wolf is coming to Texas.

This summer, Grapevine – and Houston in 2024 – will join the municipalities hosting the immersive art installations. "The House of Eternal Return," the original Meow Wolf, opened in an old bowling alley in Santa Fe in 2016. Since then, "portals" have opened in Denver and Las Vegas.

Didi Bethurum, chief communications officer with Meow Wolf, was in Austin for South by Southwest and gave us some hints of what to expect at the new installations.


Meow Wolf wall in progress (photo by Will Heron courtesy Meow Wolf)

"They will be completely different," Didi said. "New characters and new storylines."

For those uninitiated to Meow Wolf, imagine if a group of artists built an indoor amusement park. There are forests glowing under black lights, refrigerators that lead to other rooms, tunnels that come out of washing machines while giving clues to a story. Or visitors can just wander the colorful chaos for fun.

Didi was secretive about the storyline, the name, and even the opening date of the Grapevine location. What she would say is that it will be in a former big-box store in the Grapevine Mills shopping mall. It will be the third-largest* Meow Wolf installation, with 70 rooms. A third of the 90 artists working on the art project gone wild are local.


Dallas-based sculpture Dan Lam is one of 30 or so artists from Texas working on the new Meow Wolf immersive alternative universe in Grapevine (photo by Jordan Mathis courtesy Meow Wolf)

The Houston installation will be north of downtown in the Fifth Ward, a booming arts and cultural district near the Saint Arnold Brewery.

When the Santa Fe artist collective opened the first Meow Wolf in a building donated by George R.R. Martin, they expected around 70,000 visitors annually. They met that goal in a few months. Last year the three locations welcomed 2.7 million visitors.

Didi credits the success to Meow Wolf's multigenerational appeal. "It's a place for kids to act like adults and adults to act like kids," she said.

Editor's Note: This story incorrectly stated that the Meow Wolf location opening this summer in Grapevine will be the second-largest outlet of the four immersive art experiences. At 24,000 square feet, it will be smaller than Denver (90K sq. ft.) and Las Vegas (52K sq. ft.), but larger than the original Meow Wolf in Santa Fe (20K sq. ft.).

1,645th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Meow Wolf, Grapevine, Houston, Santa Fe, Denver, Las Vegas, Didi Bethurum, Grapevine Mills, George R.R. Martin, South by Southwest, SXSW 2023

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