In June our family took a multi-generational family trip to Santa Fe New Mexico. There is a whole different world of culture available with a beautiful 5 1/2 hour drive from Vail up through Leadville, Buena Vista and past Salida into northern New Mexico to Santa Fe. There is so much to experience and delight every sense in Santa Fe, but Meow Wolf was the highlight for every person in our family from age 4 to 70+. Here is the perspective of Meow Wolf from a grandmother experiencing it with her grandchildren.
By Lavelle Carlson
As a retired speech-language pathologist I have had conflicting emotions and opinions on emerging technology for young kids. Interactivity among family members and friends takes precedence over a device that does not emote and, therefore, does not teach children how to relate. With this thought in mind I was not thrilled about the idea of a family outing to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. My expectations, as I discovered, after a morning in Meow Wolf were totally off. The outing was filled with multi-sensory experiences to ignite curiosity and create lasting memories.
Meow Wolf is high tech but it combines artistry and technology in a way that captures the curiosity of adults and children alike. We saw this in our grandchildren as they ran from room to room investigating and testing all the stimulating experiences.
The art crossed generations as well. The sterile kitchen decorated in white with a touch of black – lines on table and outline the dishes – gave a sense of décor from the 50’s, a time period when one was not exposed to the not so nice things that happen in life – a little bit like watching the Donna Reed show in which parents were never seen in a bed together. While being a seemingly sterile room there was something that said that maybe there were some secrets here. And, there were. The kids discovered that by opening the refrigerator door they had an entrance to another room. Then, there was a dryer that, when opened, allowed access to another room as well but this time via a slide.
Perhaps, my favorite dimension that proves that technology is not necessarily bad for kids was the music room. We all enjoyed making music by strumming the laser beams. I can envision my eight-year-old granddaughter who loves making art and loves technology one day doing even more with a project like this. Perhaps, she will create a similar laser music machine and combine it with a water-splashing scene that makes similar corresponding music with a splash of each note of the laser.
Watching the grandchildren exploring all the wonderful melded art and technology allayed my grandmotherly fear somewhat. Perhaps it is not the technology that will take the heart and soul of future generations. It may be the inappropriate use of technology. What was appropriate in the three-generation activity through the art and technology of Meow Wolf was that the entire family was involved and interacting and sharing the sights, sounds, and curiosity of hidden niches.