By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Meow Wolf Denver opens on Friday as the third location by the arts and entertainment offering its largest and most ambitious experience. Hundreds of artists, including many from Colorado, contributed to create a journey that constantly floods your senses from room to room.

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“Meow Wolf Denver is a completely immersive interactive art exhibition where you will be transported to different worlds and be able to explore all of those spaces and see various artistic elements,” said Todd Richins, the executive creative producer for the site. “Once you come through the doors, you get to get lost throughout the exhibition, we don’t tell you where to go.”

Built in part during the pandemic, it has created a challenge for the team, but also helped them to keep up with COVID-19 concerns. Masks are required, and the large space, three to four times more than their Santa Fe location, helps to encourage social distancing.

More than 300 creative team members worked on the Denver exhibition including more than 115 local artists. Mixed into adventure are cultural references to Colorado and the Sun Valley neighborhood, which is the home of Meow Wolf.

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Some pieces also draw from the heritage of local artists, highlighting imagery from around the world.

“A hallway that bridged two worlds,” said Scott Hildebrandt of his contribution, “You Are Here,” inside Meow Wolf Denver. “It’s an honor to work with other artists.”

The concept of Meow Wolf Denver is arriving into the first stop of a journey of exploration and discovery for passengers that feature walls, wormholes, and portals. The story behind this experience begins many years ago when a freak cosmic event merged four worlds from different universes, erasing memories of all residents and leading to the disappearance of four women.

“Convergence Station here is run by the Quantum Department of Transportation,” Richins explained to CBS4 on Monday. “A multi-universal transportation department that takes people from Denver to four different converged worlds.”

Hildebrandt has shared his work in Colorado for 15 years, creating dioramas inside all types of objects including old TVs and radios. He says the opportunity to showcase his work to such a large audience on a scale he rarely gets was incredible, but he also loves that people of all ages are encouraged to play and push their curiosity.

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“The take of using your imagination and given the opportunity to engage your imagination is something that’s very encouraged here,” he told CBS4.

Tickets are now available online for Meow Wolf Denver through January. While some days beyond the official opening of Sept. 17 have already sold out, timeslots are available in September and October.

Capacity limits are currently in place because of COVID-19. Staff report 35,000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours.

“It’s been amazing the reaction so far, so people are so excited to come in,” Richins said.

Shawn Chitnis