Old MacDonald had a farm ee-aye-ee-aye-oh. And on that farm he had some guests ee-aye-ee-aye-oh. With a Tractor Ride here and a Bish Bash there, here a ride, there a ride, everywhere lots of rides!
Old MacDonald’s Farmyard was situated just behind Towers Street and was an area aimed at younger children. They could drive a tractor on Old MacDonald’s Tractor Ride, look out for their favourite farmyard animal on Riverbank Eye-Spy or even hop on the back of one with a ride on Doodle Doo Derby.
There was also Berry Bish Bash, located in the farmyard’s old barn which used to house many animals. Redevelopment in the area continued for the 2007 season with the redevelopment of the Riverbank Eye-Spy to include 3D animals and the introduction of a new playground, The Dung Heap, constructed on two of the old animal paddocks.
Another of the old paddocks became home to the farm’s first news animals in five years as Giant Bunnies came to the park for children to pet and feed. 2008 saw even more animals to return to the farm, with the arrival of the Miniature Donkeys and the new Furry Friends area which gave youngsters even more opportunities to get close to the growing menagerie.
When it opened in 1989 to celebrate National Food and Farming Year, the area started out as the Britannia Building Society Farm. Unlike the other areas of the park, the farm was more of an educational resource with only one actual ride included, the Canal Boat Ride, which took guests on a leisurely tour through the farm’s animal paddocks.
Other attractions included the Milking Parlour, where guests could go to see the cows being milked and Farm-a-Rama, a thrilling exhibit of modern farming techniques. In 1991 the park’s pottery studio also came to the Farmyard as well.
In 1992 the area became Safeway Farm, and to many people’s surprise the Farm-a-Rama didn’t survive this transition. At the same time the Milking Parlour became know simply as the Barn, where guests could get more hands on with the animals.
Old MacDonald took up residence in his Farmyard for the 1995 season, which saw an impressive expansion of the area’s attractions, with the addition of Doodle Doo Derby, which was built over half of the farm pond, Old MacDonald’s Tractor Ride, which took residence in the paddocks at the front of the farm, and Old MacDonald’s Singing Barn, which replaced the Pottery Studio.
2002 saw the Farmyard change dramatically when Foot and Mouth lead the park to decide to get rid of the farmyard’s animals, to prevent any chance of them catching or spreading the disease. With the animals gone, rides became the main focus of the area, with Berry Bish Bash opening in the barn for 2003 and the Dung Heap filling two of the animal paddocks for 2007. 2007 also saw animals begin to return to the area, with the introduction of Giant Bunnies, Miniature Donkeys and Chickens.
One of the final additions to the farmyard was Santa and his reindeers, who moved in for the 2009 festive season, having previously been staying over at the Alton Towers Hotel. From 2011, the area became Franklyn’s Freaky Farm during the Scarefest period as the Freaky Four temporarily took the farmyard over, until its closure at the end of the 2013 season.
In preparation for the area’s 2014 retheme to CBeebies Land, some of the area’s attractions were closed towards the end of the 2013 season, including Berry Bish Bash in mid-September and Riverbank Eye-Spy in early-October, before the entire area closed on November 3rd.
Most of the area’s attractions were simply rethemed for the CBeebies Land development, however There’s Something in the Dung Heap, Old MacDonald’s Singing Barn and Furry Friends were completely removed, with the ride system for Old MacDonald’s Tractor Ride also removed although only to be replaced with similar hardware.