Down on Old MacDonald’s Farmyard there were some very special friends roaming around, because what farm would be complete without its very own herd of animals!
At Alton Towers nothing is ever quite as it seems and the menagerie at Old Macdonald’s Farmyard included Giant Bunnies and Miniature Donkeys, just the ticket for youngsters to meet, greet and pet.
Guests could also visit the Fantastical Ferrets, whose enclosure was found on the other side of the pond, and the Feathered Friends that were chickens who freely wandered the pathway that took guests to The Dung Heap.
During Scarefest the area was also used to host birds of prey, and as a special festive treat, Santa stabled his reindeer at Old Macdonald’s Farmyard during the Christmas season for many years.
Following a Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001, Alton Towers were forced to make the difficult decision to remove all their animals to prevent further spreading and contraction of the disease. This left the farm’s paddocks lying empty for the first time since it opened in 1989.
With the construction of The Dung Heap and refresh of Riverbank Eye-Spy, 2007 also saw the arrival of Giant Bunnies which became the first animals to reside in Old MacDonald’s Farmyard since 2002, and were located in the previously empty paddocks. The park went on to have three rabbits, Rosie, Tulip and Miracle, all of whom arrived at the park in 2008, when the rabbits found a home in Furry Friends at the centre of the farmyard, which is where they hung out when not in their paddock behind Riverbank Eye-Spy. The rabbits were also joined by rats and guinea pigs in 2008 as the park looked to expand their offering.
By the end of 2008 a pair of Miniature Donkeys, Little George and Granville, joined them, who could generally be found in the barn behind Doodle Doo Derby. Ferrets moved in next door to the donkeys later that year, with Chickens also being reintroduced to the farm.
As a consequence of the area’s retheme to CBeebies Land for May 2014, the donkeys and many of the other Furry Friends found a new home in the gardens of the Alton Towers Hotel during the 2013/14 closed season, becoming a feature of the park’s seasonal and February Half Term events. However, this proved to be a temporary relocation, with the animals moved to the Children’s Zoo at Chessington World of Adventures Resort ahead of the 2014 season.