George R. R. Martin (author of the books that the HBO mega hit series "Game of Thrones" is based on) donated $2.7 million to a Santa Fe art collective called Meow Wolf. Meow Wolf leased a vacant bowling alley in Santa Fe. Other money for the project was obtained from the city of Santa Fe and many individuals. Meow Wolf built an "art complex" inside the hollowed out bowling alley.
This "art complex" turned into the "House of Eternal Return". This new tourist attraction has become wildly popular with decent lines on weekends to get in for a tour. It costs $15 for adults to enter.
The place is kind of a mix between Burningman, a modern art museum, a concentration camp and a music venue, a spaceship.
The premise going in is a mystery for you to solve about a family that involves time / space travel and strange family issues. The first thing you encounter as you enter is a two story full sized house. You walk around the house finding out about the family that lived there by exploring: newspapers; diaries; photos; videos; bedrooms; kitchen; bathroom; living room; etc. You discover portals to other dimensions hidden in a refrigerator and in other locations. The other dimensions are freaky and cool!!!
Karen and I were not sure what we were getting into when we visited and we didn't really do much research on the house before hand. I think it would help to read up about it on the internet before you enter. We just wanted to see the cool sights inside. We looked at some of the literature scattered about the house and we watched a couple computer video about the dad and his love of electronics and about a mysterious thing that happened to the Mom. We didn't really pay that much attention to the mystery story line.
There are interesting colored lights, weird artsy stuff and small passages to rooms you can enter to see different aspects of the mystery. There are a lot of hands-on activities that kids and adults really enjoy. Often, you see people in white lab coats wandering around and eyeing you very closely. They serve not only as security for the facility but they also tie into the mystery. You can ask them questions about the story and they give you vague and mysterious answers that may help you un-peel the clues. You always feel closely watched as you tour the rooms, especially when you notice all the security cameras hidden about.
If tight crowded spaces and darkness are disturbing, this might not be your cup of tea, but we found it fascinating and cleaver.
At some point we will return and take our time try and get into the mystery built into the house. We discovered all the portals to the other dimensions and we explored every nook, cranny, stairway, and art space.
Going in we weren't sure if we would enjoy our visit, but as we left, we both agreed that it was well done and had lots of interesting things to experience. It was well worth our money, we agreed.
Meow Wolf built a stage area as part of the exhibit. They periodically hold music events. The attraction has become so popular that Meow Wolf is planning to create similar facilities in other cities such as Austin, Texas and others.