Day Trips: Meow Wolf, Grapevine

Santa Fe-based art collective opens mind-bending Texas outpost


photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Real Unreal in Grapevine, the latest portal of Santa Fe-based Meow Wolf, boggles the mind and stretches the imagination. Beware – you will find flashing lights, bright colors, moving parts, sensory overload, and a lot of cool stuff to see and experience in this immersive art installation that covers more than 30 rooms.

"They said, 'Here's your room. Create your world,'" one of the artists explained as she stood among her Day-Glo three-dimensional objects with a Southwestern theme covering the walls. "Here I get to see and touch what was in my mind."


The journey begins in an ordinary-looking house. Jared, a young boy, has gone missing in an alternative universe. Throughout the exhibit there are clues of where he has gone, but that is secondary to your personal journey through colors, shapes, and sounds.

The Grapevine playland has subtle connections to the original Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Refrigerator doors lead to hidden rooms. A big, colorful forest has cubbyholes to explore and musical mushrooms to play. The wonderland of mazes leads to a performance space that looks like a psychedelic Shakespearean stage. Don't be afraid to crawl through the washing machine to explore another chamber.


Whereas the Santa Fe Meow Wolf has the feeling a backyard art project gone wild, the Grapevine version has a more mature, uptown feel. More than 150 creatives, many of them Texas-based artists, designed a unique world that entertains and amazes.

The Real Unreal occupies the northeast corner of Grapevine Mills Mall, which also houses a Sea Life Aquarium, Legoland Discovery Center, Peppa Pig World of Play, and retail shops. Doors open daily from 10am to 10pm for timed-entry tickets. Denver and Las Vegas have completely different versions of Meow Wolf; find out more about all of them at meowwolf.com.


1,661st 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

The Real Unreal, Meow Wolf, Grapevine, Santa Fe, Grapevine Mills Mall

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