The case for visiting offbeat museums and attractions

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My visit to the panorama conjured recent journeys and also churned up memories of childhood road trips with my father, Ross Ward, creator of Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, N.M., which my stepmother, Carla, still owns and operates. Dad’s enthusiasms turned every drive into detours trading standard guidebook recommendations for the wonder of concrete dinosaurs, clock collections and desert puppet theaters. As the pandemic continues, small museums, roadside attractions and “art environments” present an uncrowded antidote to more mainstream offerings, and our visits can help to keep their doors open. Whether you have weeks or only a few hours, a journey off the beaten path offers an opportunity to learn new things and deepen your appreciation of the surrounding area.

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