Close Up of Tinkertown Wall

All in all it was just a bottle in the wall.

This past weekend my husband and I finally made it out to Tinkertown in Sandia Park, NM.

It is one of those places that strikes the delicate balance between fun and oddball. Wander past the walls made of recycled bottles and concrete into the tiny rooms filled to the brim with treasures, oddities, and buttons to push. Many of the figurines come to life, including Mary Poppins floating down to a rooftop, a wood chopper chopping, and acrobats swinging on a trapeze.

I did enjoy seeing the Esmerelda fortune teller. I can’t resist a good fortune. 😉

Many of the items in the dioramas, as well as the buildings themselves, are made from recycled, donated, or found materials, which I think is just fantastic.

Large View Tinkertown Wall

Where did I place my message in a bottle?

Ross J. Ward, the original tinkerer, was originally inspired by the work of “spare time carvers” while growing up in the Midwest. He began carving, painting, and tinkering while in junior high school. Ward is quoted as saying “I did all this while you were watching TV.” While I don’t want to pursue carving and painting figurines, it is a good remember to do more things that are productive and less vegetating.

Enjoy viewing his life’s work.

Tinkertown Car Closeup

No, really, you should. This is a close-up of the car in the next photo.

Tinkertown Side of Car

How fun is this car?!?

tinkertown Carnival

Painstaking details in the carnival scene.

Tinkertown License Plate Wall

Tinkertown has a treasure hunt on its website for kids and kids at heart. I loved finding the Area 51 license plate.

Tinkertown Mark Twain Quote

The quote reads ““Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  ~ Mark Twain 1869

Tinkertown Outdoor Shrine

A shrine made out of recycled materials.


What are your thoughts on Ward’s life work? What is your legacy?

Join the conversation; your thoughts are welcome!