“I did all of this while you were watching TV”
This the slogan I most remember from my visit to Tinkertown just outside Albuquerque New Mexico. Tinkertown is quite impressive. It took its creator Ross Ward 40 years to make. Now considered to be a “folk museum”, Tinkertown is probably the most expansive displays of antique toys and wood carved figures in diorama settings that’ve I’ve ever seen.
What To Expect
Tinkertown exceeded my expectations just on the pure size of the museum. It spans over 22 rooms and the walls of the building was built with over 50,000 glass bottles. It’s no surprise that it took 40 years to create this as every display is insanely detailed and the displays just seem to go on and on. It’s part antique western collectables, part oddities display, part toys and carved wooden figures.
Tinkertown will ignite the imagination for kids and adults of all ages. It’s open from April 1 – Nov 1 from 9am to 6pm. How long you want to spend exploring the grounds is really up to you.
- Cost: $3.75
- Crowd Factor: Light
- Time: 60-90 mins
Ross Ward grow up in the Midwest and created tiny villages, farms and circuses “in his spare time”. This hobby was the beginning of Tinkertown. He was a self taught artist and very prolific with painting, etching, drawing and sculptures. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Maybe in another life Ward could have been the next Jim Henson. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 1998 and then passed on in 2002. The Ward Family continues to preserve and care for Tinkertown in his memory.
Directions to Tinkertown
Tinkertown is 20 minutes from Albuquerque, located on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in Sandia Park NM.
From Albuquerque:Take exit 175 North off I-40. Then take Highway 14 6 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.