Old Macdonald’s farm is all new


Erika Potter

The Patch. Haily Dent, a senior and Lexi Licari, a senior go into MacDonald’s pumpkin patch. They will be picking out their pumpkins for Halloween.

Johnathan Geare, staff writer

The novelty of the Wild West never dies. Every year, MacDonald’s ranch sells thousands of tickets for its various cowboy-themed activities. Where the ranch truly shines is in its events, from horseback riding to birthday parties.
Starting with horseback riding: The ranch offers both group rides and private rides. Group rides are best for inexperienced cowfolk, with ranch staff leading the group through scenic trails and exploring the Arizona landscape. Moonlight rides are a variation on group rides, only offered exclusively for the few nights leading up to a full moon, when the moon’s glow is bright enough to light up the trail.
On the other side of the coin, private rides are intended for more experienced guests and horse riders, with a larger focus on improving riding skills or getting a deeper look into the desert wildlife.
The ranch also offers something much more formal in ‘Cowboy Cookouts’, an hour long guided horseback tour complete with dinner and a bonfire for roasting s’mores. A variation on this is offered as well, a ‘Hayride & Dinner’ is a more tame version consisting of a 30-minute mule drawn hayride with the same dinner accommodations. The dining is done outside, under the cover of a large Ramada. Each group of guests receives their own separate dining table.
But the ranch offers far more than just horseback riding and stagecoach rides- birthday parties and private events, be they for family reunions or company
holiday parties, are offered with an entirely separate set of activities. Birthday parties are available for kids and adults of all ages, up to 25 in one group. Included is a designated party site, pony rides, and a petting zoo, as well as a set of yard games like Jenga and cornhole. Guests can book a train ride and hay ride for an additional cost. The ranch offers three different party sites, all equipped with picnic tables and extra tables for gifts and food.
Private events consist of various ‘Western Excursions’, designed to give a scenic look at the surrounding desert. Unlike birthday parties, private events are highly customizable to suit the needs of a wide range in guest count. For all events, entertainment is offered. Guests can learn Line Dances, compete in rodeo games, listen to a balladeer while eating dinner, and try roping with a real Cowboy. Far more dinner options are available for private events, including BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers, and a selection of sides. All event sites offer the same commodities as birthday party sites, as well as a bar area.
For something much more casual, standard admission is cheap and offers a wide range of the ranch’s activities. Visitors can pan for gold, find their way through a hay bale maze, as well as take part in some previously mentioned activities like the petting zoo and lawn games. In more recent news, this Halloween season, the ranch is selling pumpkins of all shapes in sizes, from two to sixty dollars depending on the size.