“Former home and private theme park of Michael Jackson”
This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner. Neverland Valley Ranch (formerly the Sycamore Valley Ranch) is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, located at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road, Los Olivos, California 93441, most famous for being the home of American entertainer Michael Jackson from 1988 to 2005. Jackson named the property after Neverland, the fantasy island in the story of Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up. The ranch is located about five miles (8 km) north of unincorporated Los Olivos, and about eight miles (13 km) north of the town of Santa Ynez. The Chamberlin Ranch is to the west, and the rugged La Laguna Ranch, where the Zaca Fire began, is to the north. The Santa Barbara County Assessor's office says the ranch is approximately 3,000 acres (1214 hectares). Today it is owned by the Estate of Michael Jackson, with Colony Capital LLC maintaining a 12.5% undivided stake in the property.. Jackson purchased the property from golf course entrepreneur William Bone in 1988 for a sum variously reported to be 16.5 to 30 million US dollars. It was Jackson's home as well as his private amusement park and it contained a floral clock, numerous statues of children, and a petting zoo. The amusement park included two railroads: one 36" (914 mm) gauge with a steam locomotive (Crown 4-4-0 (2B), built 1973, with two coaches) and the other a 24-inch (610 mm) gauge amusement train ride-type, and also a Ferris wheel, Carousel, Zipper, Octopus, Pirate Ship, Wave Swinger, Super Slide, roller coaster, bumper cars, and an amusement arcade. Michael Jackson was also an avid art collector. According to Yves Gautier in his self-published book, Michael Jackson, Backdoor to Neverland: “Though few know about it, Michael Jackson is a voracious reader and there is a 10,000-volume library in the Neverland Ranch, that focuses on art, psychology and poetry.” Neverland Ranch was searched extensively by police officers in connection with the People v. Jackson trial after he was charged with multiple counts of molesting a minor in 2003. Jackson stated in that year that he would not return to the property, saying that he no longer considered the ranch a home, feeling the 70 police officers had "violated" it in their searches. In 2006, the facilities were closed and most of the staff were dismissed, with a spokesperson stating that this was the reflection of the fact that Jackson no longer lived there. Following the death of Michael Jackson in 2009, the neglected Neverland Ranch fell into disrepair. Saddened by a return trip to her childhood home in 2010, Jackson's daughter, Paris, resolved to acquire and restore the property in early 2013. The amusement rides were replaced with a meditative zen garden, and a section decorated with Peter Pan, Michael Jackson's favorite fictional hero. The Jackson children intended the garden to be used for the enjoyment of ill children.
In many reviews for this place you can read or sense how it goes under the similar motto\mood: well, what can I say?.. It's Michael's Neverland!.. This's pretty much what I felt too on my every visit to Neverland in the year that just past, 2015. I start my profile in RoadTripper by writing this review, for Michael Jackson's Neverland. It summarizes my experiences on all my travels to this place, which I will certainly continue in the future, forever. Or til the ranch's ownership conditions permit.
Michael Jackson's life, and most of all his death, impacted me profoundly. I was questioning many things. Including God's existence, His justice and fairness. These tumults all bob up again once I turn from CA 154 into Figueroa Mountain Rd for a 6mi drive to Neverland.
While driving by these peaceful sleepy yet pictorial ranchos and fields with grazing horses and fat chewing cows, you can better imagine what a miracle Neverland used to me - an amazing oasis of fun and beauty in the middle of the mundane. This path seems magical. Every time once I turned onto it it 's like an invisible dome covers you and it turns all different around - the brighter sunshine, the vaster surroundings, the sounding silence. It's Michael's country.
At the gates: there was no a single time when I happened to be all alone here. One or two cars with Michael's fans are always over there - they arrive and go. As I prefer spending time with Michael alone I always wait for a few mins in the car until the current fan or a company of fans had enough time and leave, and then I come over...
Except the gate's walls that are covered with fans' messages to Michael all along, from bottom to top, there is no any sign of gifts that Michael's fans want to bring to. If you leave flowers, or photo, or a paper message, they will be removed the next morning (proven!) There are some special objects you can discover buried or sprinkled with soil here and there - gifts from fans. But I noticed they disappear too over time - got cleaned up... On my most recent visits I began feeling a bit more of discomfort - sometimes when you just stand quietly there, a guard would still appear from their booth saying: Hello? You need to smile at him politely to show respect and no harm intentions.... times changing indeed.
The gate is very simple; many got disappointed to come over here and see it for the first time. But fans know that the real Michael's gates, the glitter golden ones with music playing and a railroad train picking up the guests were far behind this first gate, inside the ranch and not visible from the outside. It's all history too now.
The paved road ends off right after the Neverland's gate and a rather narrow gravel road begins - I always wondered if Michael was the one who ever made the paved road built in this poky, yet picturesque hole :) That past year we managed to explore the path behind Neverland and discovered a highland country of breathtaking beauty. Only one more small ranch is visible from the road behind Neverland. The rest is vastness, sky and wildness of the Los Padres National Forest. No words can describe the beauty you will find here. See the photos. Or even better - go and explore! The road would become quite narrow and rather winding. But it's worth every inch of traveling it! No doubt Michael drove it as well.
The Figueroa Campgrounds is 9 mi down by Figueroa Mountain Rd, which makes a 25 min scenic highland drive from Neverland. There is one more small hunter-like campground after the Figueroa's and that's it. The nowhere begins just 30 min behind Neverland. That past year we spent many amazing nights camping in Figueroa's... at the fire pit, under stars, in Michael's country...
Do they people in for tours????
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