George Washington unknowingly invented recycling when his army crossed the Delaware on discarded tubs, trash-can lids, and inflatable sombreros. Delight in our founding father's ideals with today's Groupon: for $7, you get an individual adult season membership to Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park ($15 value). Tinkertown Museum's season runs from April 1 to October 31.
Open since 1983, Tinkertown Museum is artist Ross Ward’s shrine to the sublimely kooky world of folk, found, and recycled art. Membership to Tinkertown is like a secret handshake because it comes with unlimited entry during the year and 10% off in the gift shop. The smile-inducing exhibits are one-of-a-kind spectacles made or found by Ward over four decades. One sure-fire track-stopper is the collection of animated miniature wooden carvings, including a Wild West town and a three-ring circus. The museum’s 35-foot antique sailboat, which has traveled around the globe, is also on display to welcome chantey choirs of all vocal ranges. Esmerelda, the coin-operated fortune teller, and Otto, a one-man band, offer an old-timey dollop of entertainment and a safe hiding place for gold doubloons.
The museum’s exterior embellishments generate as many "oohs" and "ahhs" as the exhibits inside. More than 50,000 glass bottles adorn the walls, and frontier-era artifacts, such as wagon wheels, storefronts, horseshoes, and rickets, prepare visitors for the wacky wonders within.