Instagrammer’s dream: Wonder Wonder brings artistic whimsy, eccentricity to Boulder

Immersive art installation and retail space to host grand opening Saturday

Model and Wonder Wonder visitor Mercedes Moriah poses by a stack of books at Wonder Wonder, in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, in May 2019. The immersive art and retail space will have a grand opening celebration Saturday.
Model and Wonder Wonder visitor Mercedes Moriah poses by a stack of books at Wonder Wonder, in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall, in May 2019. The immersive art and retail space will have a grand opening celebration Saturday.
  • Visitors of Wonder Wonder can swing in this faux plant paradise.

  • Model and Wonder Wonder visitor Nastassia relaxes on a swing surrounded by faux foilage in May 2019.

  • One of the many rooms to explore at Wonder Wonder.

  • Model Nastassia interacts with a UV cube at Wonder Wonder in May 2019.



At first glance, Boulder’s new experiential art installation space could be mistaken for a sandwich shop or juice bar, as it resides among fast-casual eateries on the open-air Twenty Ninth Street Mall.

But this purveyor of creativity is quite the opposite. Wonder Wonder certainly provides a feast for the senses. With 18 different rooms filled with evolving art installations, the boldly colored and well-curated space, LED lights and different textures is an Instagrammer’s dream. On Saturday, the unique space that opened in mid-March will celebrate with an official grand opening, complete with complimentary beer, wine, snacks and electronic space beats from Boulder’s DJ Mxxnwatchers.

“A lot of the community isn’t quite sure who we are, but once people get in the door they get really excited,” said Sophie DeWitt, general manager for Wonder Wonder Boulder. “We are built out like a museum, providing an individual experience in each room.”

Sophie DeWitt, general manager of Boulder’s Wonder Wonder,  demonstrates the colorful shadow play that’s a feature  in one of the space’s 18 rooms.

The original Wonder Wonder opened in February in the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas, thanks to the efforts of founders Thomas McIntyre and Tyler Enders, partners Keith Bradley and Adam Pfeifer and vice president of operations Blake Hamilton. This team brought the same entertaining concept to Boulder, with the creatives frequently flying to Colorado to oversee its latest installations.

The Boulder location is the second of the brand to open and has already piqued the interest of photographers looking for an out-of-the box place to take photos, for meet-up groups seeking a new experience and for mall shoppers intrigued by the mystifying experience. While comparisons to Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf have been made, Wonder Wonder is different. For one, it provides more of an intimate setting and its installations will morph over time, unlike Meow Wolf’s permanent pieces.

“This is truly a space to energize, inspire and support the Boulder community,” said DeWitt. “Making art more accessible is integral to what we do and who we are.”

DeWitt hopes to eventually host events for those who experience sensory sensitivities by creating accessible installations by lowering music, lights and fog to allow these individuals to experience the art in a way that is most comfortable. She said she also wants to work in plans to host an LGBTQ poetry performance, film screenings, artist talks and wine and painting nights, where guests can create something of their own.

Prior to transforming into an immersive art haven, the space housed accessories retailer Charming Charlie. Now, patrons can make their way through red and burnt-orange silk ribbons that hang from the ceilings like streamers, jump in a ball pit or swing in the middle of a faux-plant paradise. From a floor-to-ceiling mirrored room outfitted with trippy lights to a hallway obstructed by pool noodles that visitors have to navigate through, whimsy and a sense of adventure can be found in each pocket of this 5,900-square-foot playground.

“We hope to generate more foot traffic in the summer,” said Dewitt, who plans to prompt art lovers to come back by offering Wonder Wonder memberships where a fifth visit is free. Students will receive a 20 percent discount, tickets for kids 12 years old and under cost $12 and children under 4 years old get in free. General admission is $16.

The infinity mirror room at Wonder Wonder in Boulder.

From a room that has its walls plastered with ‘70s album jackets, vinyl records, guitars and cream-colored retro chairs, to a completely blue and white minimalist dining room of sorts — the exhibits appear timeless, vintage and at the same time otherworldly. In one part of the immersive space, over-sized pieces of fire-torched Plexiglas hang, gleaming against the light, emulating the the epicenter of a quartz wind chime. Plaster molds of actual individual noses, which will one day grace wall space, fill a bucket in the lobby.

“I love hearing people’s reactions,” said DeWitt. “When they get behind the curtain, there’s that certain feeling of glee and child-like enthusiasm.”

Wonder Wonder doesn’t just seek to be a place where community members can gather and gaze at a dizzying array of art. It also hopes to provide a platform for established and up-and-coming creatives to showcase their work, DeWitt said. Those who aren’t necessarily artists, but have a vision for an installation are encouraged to reach out to Wonder Wonder with their concept, she said. Wonder Wonder will then commission an artist to ensure that idea takes shape, along with the help of staff members.

Denver-based artist and co-founder of Boulder’s Apollo Ink Printing Jason T. Graves, known for his large-scale murals from Miami to Denver’s River North Art District, is transforming a room within Wonder Wonder that will be unveiled at Saturday’s grand opening. Celebrated for his geometric and bright-colored designs, Graves will bring this same aesthetic to Wonder Wonder, while going one step further by constructing a bench or chair out of PVC piping so people feel completely enveloped in the space. Sobriety support group, Natural Highs will also be at Saturday’s event serving up mate.

Visitors of Wonder Wonder can swing in this faux plant paradise.

For visitors to commemorate their visit, Wonder Wonder will eventually sell and rent Polaroid cameras, and DeWitt said there should be some available on Saturday for the grand opening. The company will also sell a variety of swag that ranges from iridescent bags and DIY art kits. With some of the installations, guests will be able to take a bit of the magic home.

“Wonder Wonder can be a reprieve for people and ignite something that they don’t get in everyday life,” said DeWitt. “Anything is possible here.”

If you go

What: Wonder Wonder Grand OpeningWhen: 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. SaturdayWhere: Wonder Wonder, 1685 29th St., BoulderCost: $16More info: