Down by the Bay

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"Down by the Bay"
Writer Traditional
Recorded by Raffi

"Down by the Bay" is a traditional children's song. A famous version was performed by Raffi and appears on his 1976 album Singable Songs for the Very Young. It is possibly of Greek origin: a traditional Cephalonian kantada song called "Yialo Yialo" has the same melody. In recent years, the song had gained popularity as a campfire song among the Scouting Movement in Britain.


The song lyrics are usually as follows:

"Down by the bay,
Where the watermelons grow,
Back to my home,
I dare not go,
For if I do,
My mother will say:"

Usually follows some kind of variation on "Did you ever see a _____, _____ing a _____", with rhyming words, for example:

  • "Did you ever see a tree, singing with a bee?"
  • "Did you ever see a fishstick, wearing some lipstick?"
  • "Did you ever see a fox, hiding in a box?"
  • "Did you ever see a fish do a hula in a dish?"
  • "Did you ever see a duck in a pickup truck?"
  • "Did you ever see a bee, with a sunburnt knee?"
  • "Did you ever see a snake baking a cake?"
  • "Did you ever see a cat, wearing a hat?"
  • "Did you ever see a goose, drinking apple juice?"
  • "Did you ever see an ant, climbing a plant?"
  • "Did you ever see a whale, with a polka-dot tail?"
  • "Did you ever see a bear, with his tail in the air?"
  • "Did you ever see a mouse, building a house?"
  • "Did you ever see llamas, eating their pajamas?"
  • "Did you ever see a dragon, pulling a wagon?"
  • "Did you ever see a goat, paddling a boat?"
  • "Did you ever see a fly, wearing a tie?"
  • "Did you ever see a spider, drinking apple cider?"
  • "Did you ever see a snail, delivering the mail?"
  • "Did you ever see a frog, walking his dog?"
  • "Did you ever see an owl, drying on a towel?"
  • "Did you ever see a chimp, flying a blimp?"
  • "Did you ever see a lizard, dressed for a blizzard?"
  • "Did you ever see a seal, making a deal?"
  • "Did you ever see a horse, taking a course?"
  • "Did you ever see a chicken, cooking in the kitchen?"
  • "Did you ever see a salmon, Jungle Gym Jammin'?"
  • "Did you ever see a cheetah, eating a quesadilla?"
  • "Did you ever see a crab, riding in a cab?"
  • "Did you ever see a flamingo, trying to play Bingo?"
  • "Did you ever see a dog, knocking at a hog?"
  • "Did you ever see a bat, wearing a hat?"
  • "Did you ever see rats, wearing silk hats?"
  • "Did you ever see a sheep, driving a jeep?"
  • "Did you ever see a moose, with a loose front tooth?"
  • "Did you ever see a cow, with a (color) eyebrow?"
  • "Did you ever see a parrot eating a carrot?"
  • "Did you ever have the time when you couldn't make a rhyme?"
  • "Did you ever sing a song that might last for long?"

"...down by the bay?"

The variations used in the Kidsongs version are[citation needed]:

  • "Did you ever see a baboon, holding a balloon?"
  • "Did you ever see a whale, with a polka dot tail?"
  • "Did you ever see a pig, wearing a wig?"
  • "Did you ever see a goat, standing on a boat?"
  • "Did you ever see a llama, wearing pajamas?"

Of course, new verses can be added like:

  • "Did you ever see a bunny gathering honey?"
  • "Did you ever see a puffin eating a muffin?"
  • "Did you ever see a chimp juggling some shrimp?"
  • "Did you ever see a nurse with an elegant purse?"
  • "Did you ever see a priest taming a beast?"
  • "Did you ever see a bird speaking the word?"
  • "Did you ever see a snipe playing with a pipe?"
  • "Did you ever see a maid serving lemonade?"
  • "Did you ever see a dove falling in love?"
  • "Did you ever see a monkey riding on a donkey?"
  • "Did you ever see a fairy gathering a cherry?"
  • "Did you ever see a lynx doing 70 blinks?"
  • "Did you ever see a shark playing in the park?"
  • "Did you ever see a deer that is crystal clear?"
  • "Did you ever see a shed with walls painted red?"
  • "Did you ever see a queen with her hair that is green?"
  • "Did you ever see a shrew with its fur colored blue?"
  • "Did you ever see a mage hustling in a cage?
  • "Did you ever improvise with your usual tries?"

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song "Polka Dot Tail" from Ween's 1997 album The Mollusk contains lyrics taken from "Down by the Bay," including original variations on the pattern.
  • The song is sung on two occasions by Nellie in the 1995 film 'Angela' written and directed by Rebecca Miller, including the rhyme 'Did you ever see a teacher kissing a creature?'.
  • In "A Young Children's Concert with Raffi", Raffi tried to say "Did you ever see an apple wearing a bapple?" and "Did you ever see an orange eating a blouse?" After the audience laughed Raffi said, "That doesn't quite make it. Did you ever, uh..." Then he decided to sing "Did you ever had a time when you couldn't make a rhyme?"
  • In Raffi on Broadway, Raffi said, "Did you ever see a chair rolling up a hill? Down by..." Michael Creber and Connie Lebeau both said "No". After a long pause, Raffi said, "Did you ever see a guitar going shopping? Down by..." Michael and Connie said "No" again. After another long pause Connie said, "It doesn't rhyme". Then Raffi decided to sing the last line like he did in his first concert video.
  • Sillywhim, the Jingleheimers and the Fruggy Frogs sang this song in "Wee Sing in Sillyville".
  • In the movie The Guns of Navarone, the Greek version of the song is sung during the wedding scene.
  • A version of the song is featured on the album Diego, Dora & Friends' Animal Jamboree, performed by Dora and her cousin Diego of the series Dora the Explorer.
  • Around the beginning of "Franklin Goes to Day Camp" on Franklin, the main characters perform a variation of the song.
  • On the episode "The Berenstain Bears Go To Camp" on The Berenstain Bears, Brother, Sister, and some other cubs sing this song on the way to camp.
  • The Barney and the Backyard Gang video "Rock with Barney" was done with puppets and featured the verses, "Did you ever see a bee with a sunburnt knee?", "Did you ever see a goose kissing a moose?", "Did you ever see a whale with a polka-dot tail?", "Did you ever see a bear try to curl somebody's hair?", "Did you ever see a guy playing tennis with a fly?", "Did you ever see a green dog jumping on a yellow log?", "Did you ever see a rhino kissing a dino?", and "Did you ever see some friends having fun that never ends?".
  • BabyTV have created an animated version of this song, and is frequently aired on the channel. The lyrics are slightly altered.