Four Worlds Converge Into One 90,000 sq. ft. Playground
Having already visited two of Meow Wolf’s installations, in Santa Fe and Vegas, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into with Meow Wolf’s Convergence Station in Denver. I knew that Convergence Station was Meow Wolf’s largest exhibition to date at 90,000 sq. ft., and that size difference was immediately noticeable as soon as I stepped into the space.
As Convergence Station is described as a "multiversal transit station," I wasn’t surprised by the airport-like feel at the start of the experience. However, different from the House of Eternal Return and Omega Mart, the outer layer of the world had a lot less to explore. With both the House of Eternal Return and Omega Mart there was more to discover in the entry portion or lobby area before stepping into the more fantastical and out-of-the-box art pieces that Meow Wolf is known for. With Convergence Station, I boarded the elevator and immediately found myself on one of the four alien worlds that makeup what’s known as the Convergence.
Meow Wolf’s website describes The Convergence as “a bustling city created by a rare cosmic event that joined four alien worlds,” and as I stepped out onto C-Street, it certainly felt like an alien world. Now Meow Wolf has always been interesting to me in that the narrative and story is not integral to enjoying the experience. However, as someone who enjoys storytelling and discovering the secrets of a place, I’ve always delved into the story at each of the installations. This optional narrative aspect does allow for more casual consumers of immersive and people who are uninterested in the storyline to still enjoy the experience.
To follow the narrative at Convergence Station, a Q-Card is required, which is an extra $3 in addition to your ticket fee. This Q-Card is a tap card that allows you to interact with different monitors throughout the space, which is the same as Omega Mart for those that are familiar. I found it odd that the Q-Card required an extra fee when the story is inaccessible without it, although I did find that lines for the monitors were usually either nonexistent or short since I would guess that less than half of the guests possessed Q-Cards. I found the extra cost ensured that the people that used it actually wanted it and didn’t feel obligated to tap like they do at Omega Mart. So off I went with my card, ready to tap away and discover the story of the four missing women of the Convergence.
I quickly learned that Convergence frequently experiences “Memory Storms,” which will shift memories around and cause people to lose them. Tapping my Q-Card on the various monitors allowed me to download these lost memories and piece together the story of the Convergence. As I explored the four alien worlds, I was drawn into the captivating story of the missing four that were said to be tied to the start of Convergence through short descriptions of memories interwoven with full videos. (It should be noted that all the videos can be viewed on your phone, although I typically viewed them all on the monitors).
To complete the full narrative of Convergence Station, two hours is recommended. However, I do not think this is enough time if you are also looking to explore and the installation is crowded, which it was the day we attended. Convergence Station really is huge and each alien world offers a unique artistic design and different ways to engage beyond just the story. My family and I found ourselves steps from the end of the story when we ran out of time and had to leave for a dinner reservation.
Being someone who does not like to have a story interrupted, I was not pleased that we had not finished in the two hours. However, luckily (or unluckily) my plane flight for that evening was delayed for over three hours, so I returned to Meow Wolf for the second time that day after dinner.
Upon my second visit that evening, I was able to complete the story, although I did have a bit of trouble. Crowds were significantly better in the evening (on a Saturday), and I was able to pop from monitor to monitor, easily collecting the last memories I needed.
As I approached the final bit of narrative, I was asked to make a narrative decision that involved me tapping to make a choice. Accustomed to tapping my card on the monitors all day, I quickly did so, only to find that my choice hadn’t registered. I was provided with a way to “redo” the choice, which I promptly completed. But I found that once again, my choice did not register. Confused, I approached one of the staff, who were somewhat in character; definitely some staff were more committed to the world than others. They told me that I needed to tap the screen with my finger, not tap it with my Q-card. Feeling very dumb, I redid the choice a final time and was indeed able to complete it by tapping the screen. This may have very well been a me thing, but I do wish that what to tap had been more clear in this conclusionary moment of the experience.
Overall, I would say the story at Convergence Station is the most separated from the design of the space itself out of the Meow Wolf installations I’ve seen. Engaging with the story enhances your experience, but if you just want to explore and play mini games, Convergence Station still has a lot to discover. I would rank Convergence Station as my second favorite Meow Wolf installation, with Omega Mart in first and the House of Eternal Return in third. Omega Mart retains the top spot for me due to its more complex branching narrative options and more ways to interact and engage with the environment. Next up on my list, The Real Unreal in Grapevine, TX.
-Ashley Busenlener, Last Call Executive Director
Editors’ Notes: This review was written after Ashley visited Convergence Station in Denver with her family in July. Tickets can be purchased through Meow Wolf’s website: https://meowwolf.com/visit/denver