SANDIA PARK, N.M.--It's a good idea to raid your piggy bank for quarters before you go to Tinkertown. You'll need them to trigger the fortune teller machine, play the automated one-man band, and turn on some of the homemade animatronic displays.
Ross Ward's legacy Tinkertown is a testament to the vision, determination, and craftiness of tinkerer Ross Ward, a carnival painter who spent 40 years of his life carving figures and building miniature towns and circuses for them to live in.
One highlight of a Tinkertown visit is the Old West town. It spans a long room. Buttons along the way trigger a figure that chases a chicken, a flying Mary Poppins, and carpenters hammering away. Most of it is hand-built and hand-carved, with layers upon layers of tiny Western details recreated in miniature.
The result of all that work and creativity is Tinkertown. Tucked away in the Sandia Mountains, Tinkertown pulls in thousands of visitors every year. Ward passed away in 2002, but his widow and partner-in-tinkering Carla Ward still runs the place.… Read more