Sunday Funday To Tinkertown

This year, we're proud to start our second half of a decade of Festival-quality entertainment in our state with a brand new festival feature: The Performer Field Trip! In order to start off our new tradition right, we researched numerous area attractions to find what best represented both our state and our festival. It took mere minutes to realize that *nothing* represented New Mexico and our big-top festival feel better than the legendary Tinkertown Museum!

Trying to put Tinkertown into words (or photos) is a daunting task, one that has required many re-writes before the realization that no one could put it better than the family behind the phenomenon. Here, in their words, is the story of this incredible, one-of-a-kind museum: It took Ross Ward over 40 years to carve, collect, and lovingly construct what is now Tinkertown Museum. His miniature wood-carved figures were first part of a traveling exhibit, driven to county fairs and carnivals in the 1960s and ’70s. Today over 50,000 glass bottles form rambling walls that surround a 22-room museum. Wagon wheels, old fashioned store fronts, and wacky western memorabilia make Tinkertown’s exterior as much as a museum as the wonders within.

Inside, the magic of animation takes over. The inhabitants of a raucous little western town animate to hilarious life. Under the big top, diminutive circus performers challenge tigers and defy gravity while the Fat Lady fans herself and a polar bear teeters and totters.
Throughout, eccentric collections of Americana (wedding cake couples, antique tools, bullet pencils and much, much more) fill Tinkertown’s winding hallways. Otto the one-man-band and Esmerelda, the Fortune Teller, need only a quarter to play a tune or predict your future. Through a doorway and across a ramp waits a big-sized surprise: a 35′ antique wooden sailboat that braved a 10 year voyage around the world.

This creation is home to countless tiny carvings, circus banners, coin-operated magic, zillions of tiny carved figures, and enough bits of Americana to keep The Learning Channel and its brethren on the air for years! Nestled in the cool East Mountains near the Sandia Peak, this twisting, turning Metropolis of Miniatures will keep you giggling, awestruck, and snapping photos for hours. We'll be heading the crew up to this gorgeous attraction following brunch at the hotel on Sunday, and will cap our afternoon excursion with a picnic trip to the very top of the mountain, where fieldtrippers may glimpse the valley floor and surrounding valley towns through breaks in the canyons and misty mountain meadows. Time permitting, we'll hike over to the Sandia Peak overlook, where the city can be seen thousands of feet below the jutting promenade of the Sandia Peak Tramway and restaurant. Fieldtrippers should dress in layers, as the mountain is home to many microclimates, weather zones, and maintains temperatures well below those at the desert valley floor.

Capturing the feel of Tinkertown with photography is near impossible. It’s the kind of magical place that needs to be experienced first hand. That said, here is gallery of Tinkertown images to give you a sneak peek into this unique environment. For a complete look at the museum, please visit them online at:

Vivian MirAnn