Meow Wolf opened The Real Unreal as their fourth permanent installation in Grapevine in July. Art lovers, families, students, mystery fans, and those who just want to have fun, have flocked like Hitchcock’s birds to experience this stunning exhibit and venue since it opened.
Meow Wolf opened their first venue in Santa Fe, and have since opened three more including Grapevine’s The Real Unreal. Each location has its own iconic name; the first three are: House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe; Convergence Station in Denver; and Omega Mart in Las Vegas. A fifth Meow Wolf is expected to open in Houston next year.
The Real Unreal
When visitors move through a portal from the house, yard, or garden, they find themselves in The Real Unreal. Located outside the context of universes — anything that can be imagined, exists within The Real Unreal.
This includes four special anchor spaces and dozens of rooms worth exploring created by more than 150 artists. Here all imagination comes to rest, pile up, and coalesce. Within this exhibit everything beyond the house and yard represent aspects of this realm and includes the individual artist spaces. While artists from the original Meow Wolf in Santa Fe contributed to The Real Unreal, 40 local artists also have their work featured in the exhibit.
Cedar Hill friends Chris and Vicki Waits accompanied me on a recent tour of The Real Unreal with Meow Wolf PR Manager Connor Gray, (who previously worked for The Carter Museum in Fort Worth). We were glad to have such a knowledgeable guide for our small party of three, since it would be easy to go astray in the sometimes bewildering maze of sights and sounds.
Your Journey Begins at the Delaney Home
Visitors begin their journey outside the home of the Delaney and Fuqua families. The ordinary-looking house sits serenely behind a low chain-link fence. A large maple is near the center of the yard with a bird bath and feeders around it. The sky is filled with twinkling stars.
Residents of the house include: Carmen Delaney, who recently moved back home to care for her ailing father, Gordon. She has also started a new business centered on her mother’s rehabbed garden. Gordon Delaney is a retired jazz musician with failing eyesight. LaVerne Fuqua, Carmen’s childhood friend, has moved into the Delaney house with her son, Jared, after a series of personal struggles. LaVerne helps Carmen with her business and caring for Gordon.
Jared Fuqua is Laverne’s young son, the missing child at the center of the mystery some visitors try to solve. Ten-year-old Jared has recently disappeared as the portals of The Real Unreal have entered their home. The fun to follow storyline is written by prolific fiction writer LaShawn M. Anak. While our trip through The Real Unreal only took 90 minutes, thanks to our expert tour guide keeping us on the right track, most visitors take much longer to traverse the interactive exhibit.
Unique Experiences at Meow Wolf
Gray said every person will have a unique experience, with some following clues to try to locate the missing boy. Others may plot a different journey through The Real Unreal, exploring every wormhole, stopping for frequent selfies, or simply taking another path than the one most traveled. At one point on our tour, Gray stopped to play us a short tune on a piano that suddenly appeared in our path, inviting the musically-inclined to stop a while.
The interactive exhibition is extremely popular with kids, Gray said, and they aren’t afraid to let their imagination run wild. An arcade room with video games is a draw for gamers, and sure to appeal to students on field trips like the excited group entering Meow Wolf as we were leaving.
Gray says Meow Wolf also offers special tours for those with physical handicaps, including the sensory-sensitive. Press materials inform us “We invite people to not only see, but explore new realms of possibility. We expose them to the unfamiliar to push the boundaries of who they believe they can be and what the world can be.”
Admission to The Real Unreal at Meow Wolf
Meow Wolf Grapevine opened The Real Unreal last July in Grapevine Mills Mall, and features interactive art in unique environments. The Real Unreal includes rooms, portals, wormholes, and myriad spaces. Over 150 artists and fabricators brought the exhibition to life, including 40 Texas-based artists.
Meow Wolf Grapevine has an events venue, food and beverage, and merchandise. The company employs 140 DFW community residents from the hospitality and creative industries. General admission ticket prices for the exhibition vary by date and time, starting at $40. The Real Unreal at Meow Wolf Grapevine is open seven days a week though hours may vary due to weather, demand, and special events.
Groups of 20 or more receive discounted prices, and private events are also available, including facility buyouts, field trips, weddings, and others. For those who simply can’t get enough from one or two visits, an annual Portal Pass offers perpetual access to the Meow Wolf exhibition of their choice for one year. Visit tickets.meowwolf.com/grapevine/ for updated ticket options.