Family Farm Park Install Fun
Interactive Outdoor Musical Instruments

Client: Acorn Farm - Family Attraction Location: Kirkby, Merseyside, UK

Acorn Farm is an award-winning, family-friendly attraction in Kirkby, Merseyside. The Farm is a registered charity and community project which began in 1985 on 4 hectares of derelict ground on an industrial estate in Kirkby, Merseyside with just 1 rabbit, 2 gerbils and 1 employee. Initially intended as a therapy project for local people with disabilities, it has since developed into the award-winning and multifaceted charity that now offers an extensive education programme for schools and community groups while running a Day Service for people with learning disabilities.

The farm’s facilities include two outdoor play areas, a woodland walk, plant sales centre and farm shop. They are a working farm with a wide range of animals on the farm, including sheep, cows, goats, pigs, horses and chickens and often have baby animals including lambs, goat kids, piglets and chicks to see too. They aim to provide a high quality and affordable environmental, leisure and educational attraction for the local community.

Fiona Smith, Farm Manager approached Percussion Play after an online search for outdoor musical instruments. Fiona explained that Acorn Farm already had an existing set of musical chimes in their Sensory Garden which had been there for around 15 years. The Chimes still sound as good today as the day they went in, require very little maintenance and have remained a very popular attraction at the Farm. Therefore, having recently been given some raised funds, Fiona decided that further outdoor musical instruments would be a good investment and well received by the Farm’s visitors.

Fiona liked the idea of a set of chimes which gave the option of playing a predetermined tune when the notes are played in order from left to right. A farm related song or nursery rhyme seemed appropriate and it had to be familiar to all age groups. Additionally, the idea of an outdoor drum with gentle, mellow tones would present visitors with an alternative interactive instrument on which to really get the musical juices flowing without being frustrating or difficult. Fiona decided to order a:

Babel Drums – Stainless Steel Tongue Drums

Pre Tuned Chimes – 'Old MacDonald Had A Farm'

The Chimes consist of 25 notes which, when hit in the correct order from start to finish, will play ‘Old MacDonald Has a Farm’. The notes are suspended between two stainless steel posts and come complete with an attached beater which slides along a separate cable beneath the chimes as the player hits the notes. Old MacDonald Had a Farm" is a children's song and nursery rhyme about a farmer named MacDonald and the various animals he keeps on his farm. After doing some internet surfing, I found a website that stated the original form of this tune was titled "Old MacDougal" and was sung during World War I. Both songs have very similar sounds, but when the rhyme was recorded it was translated to the well-known "Old MacDonald".

Visitors have indeed been enjoying the instruments with comments left on Trip Advisor such as “Personally, I love to sit in a sunny spot in the sensory garden and watch my child enjoying the musical instruments". Visited February 2016