Should you find yourself in Albuquerque and looking for something different to do, head east on I-40 to Tinkertown. It's located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in Sandia Park on NM Highway 536, on the way to the Sandia Crest. Take exit 175 North off I-40. After exiting I-40, take Highway 14 six miles up the mountain through Cedar Crest and turn left on Highway 536, the road to Sandia Crest. Tinkertown is 1.5 miles on the left. Tinkertown is just 20 minutes from Albuquerque. A unique place awaits.
[Remember, any picture can be enlarged to its full size by simply clicking on it.]
Tinkertown [most recently featured on Antiques Roadshow] started out not as a museum but as a showcase for Ross Wards handcarved wooden figures. What started as a simple room made of cement and bottles has become a 22 room, folk art / slice of Americana museum. Its pretty hard to describe to some one what actually happens there so I'll simply show you in pictures. Remember, everything here was hand carved over 40 years by the late Ross Ward. His collection of and carvings and collectables will restore a sense of wonder to you. Enjoy
Pulling into the parking area visitors are given an idea of the sense of whimsey that lies ahead. In fact the whole front grounds of the place tell you, you are not in Kansas anymore.
You almost expect Edward Scissorhands or Willy Wonka to come out and greet you, but neither do. Instead you are greated by a very friendly employee behind the counter at the gift shop. Be sure to take some quarters with you or buy some at the counter as you will need them for some of the exhibits.
Don't forget to sign in.
Inside you will find Ross Wards collection of figures he worked on over the course of 40 years. Some are life size most are miniatures. This is from a western town he built. Plug in some quarters and several of the characters come to life. Although the theme is western...one of the animated figures is Mary Poppins floating over the top of a building...kinda cool.
Remember....all this detail is handcarved!!!
Posted throughout the museum are quotes from famous and not so famous people on the positive out look on life. Here are a few.
The museum is made up of 22 rooms made of wood and cement and multi-colored bottles...yeah..I said bottles. The lighting inside is dim and probably lit with 40 watt bulbs which makes for a very cool feel. I was there one day during the monsoons of late summer and it was cloudy and light rain was falling. You could hear the pitter pat of rain on the tin roofs. You could smell the damp wood and the floors creaked. It felt very comfortable, warm....earthy.
The museum is open from April 1 to November 1 and only costs $3 bucks to get in!!
Don't forget to take some quarters with you so you can watch some of the figures come to life!!! And remember. ...its not the years in your life that matter...its the LIFE in your years!!