The Real Unreal: Meow Wolf opens location in Texas

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — We often celebrate when big companies expand to New Mexico. Think Netflix, Top Golf, Dutch Bros, Raising Cane’s, and so on.

But it’s not often we get to celebrate a New Mexico company expanding to other states.

On Friday, Meow Wolf’s third out-of-state expansion opened just outside Dallas, in Grapevine, Texas. It’s called The Real Unreal.

Company leaders say the new space is roughly the same size as the original in Santa Fe, and it includes a lot of similar elements, including a fridge doubling as a doorway to another world.

Meow Wolf already has another expansion planned for Houston next year, building off its success in Denver and Las Vegas.

Meow Wolf leaders say their success is all thanks to New Mexicans, who helped the small artist collective grow into the multi-state operation it is now.

“We have a lot of cities and states that are approaching us and asking us to go to them, and that actually is keeping us very busy,” said Elisa Montoya, the vice president of Policy and Planning at Meow Wolf.

Montoya revealed that the company is also working on a virtual reality golf experience, a music festival outside Denver, and it’s also developing a Meow Wolf app.

Since she started in 2017, Montoya says the company has grown from 125 employees to more than 1,200 – and many of those jobs are based in New Mexico.

“In addition to this beautiful exhibition, we also have our fabrication and production facility that is based here in New Mexico,” Montoya said. “So all of our concepts, all of our designs, a lot of our fabrication and production work happens here in the state.”

The company’s corporate management is also based in Santa Fe. It appears to be growing faster than the city can keep up.

“The biggest challenge that we have had in our growth is office space,” Montoya said. “Finding a place for everyone on the corporate side of the company to work together under one roof.”

Montoya credits the company’s growth to its leadership, including new executives who came from major companies like Viacom, Universal, and Disney. Yet, she says it’s the everyday workers and artists who make Meow Wolf shine.

Montoya says Meow Wolf strives to make an impact wherever it goes – including hiring local artists and partnering with local businesses – but its heart will always be in New Mexico.

“It’s the saying that strong roots grow tall trees,” she said. “Our roots are here in New Mexico and a win for Meow Wolf is a win for New Mexico.”

The Dallas area location is expected to be a success. Tickets are reportedly already sold out through the weekend.