Can't Believe Your Eyes
Even the most straight edge human being enters and enjoys altered states of consciousness from time to time; exhaustion, a runner’s high, prayer, and dance can all do it. So can illusions, perhaps in the most straightforward way without consuming any substance other than a visual scene.
Starting in early 2023, Austinites in need of a mental reset can head to the Museum of Illusions at the Domain for some mind-bending, unique experiences in being present. This inclusive, all-ages effort in “edutainment” just signed a lease for a 6,265-square-foot unit that will contain much more than wacky art pieces; other locations contain mirrored walls, spinning tunnels, upside-down rooms, and other life-sized interactives.
The chain is open worldwide, and already operates one location in Dallas, which also includes a “playroom” with handheld puzzles, and a shop that sells them. Another location is coming in Houston, slated to be the third in Texas. The Austin branch will be the 37th in the chain, which hopes to reach 100 by 2026.
“Witnessing firsthand how much people really enjoy the experience they have when attending the Dallas Museum of Illusions as well as how robust the business model is, we made the decision to expand and provide the experience in new markets” said Subhi Gharbieh, managing partner of Beyond Entertainment Group, in a press release. “The museum takes guests on an unconventional, interactive and immersive journey that many have never seen before, and we’re excited that the great city of Austin – known for welcoming and embracing novel concepts – will soon be home to that experience.”
Austin is certainly known for embracing the novel, and has been home to several similar interactive experiences including Wonderspaces, the Museum of the Future Present, and prominent 6th street oddities collection the Museum of the Weird. Places like Wunderbar and the Museum of Ice Cream combine food and drink outings with whimsical photo opportunities that constantly circulate social media and dating profiles, while places like The Thinkery preserve that childlike wonder in actual children’s spaces.
The education component is elusive in official online materials, but Google reviews of the Dallas location mention helpful staff, who are happy to explain how the illusions work and help visitors take photos.
More information about the Museum of Illusions, including a list of planned and existing locations, is available at museumofillusions.com.