Like the homes of stars such as Elvis’ Graceland, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is a highly desirable tourist destination for fans of the King of Pop. This infamous property has been the subject of significant scandal over the years. The estate has not seen a similar fate to Graceland despite fan speculation.
Visiting Neverland Ranch is not possible at this point in time. The property was purchased in 2021 by a private individual, Ron Burkle. The ranch has since been renamed the Sycamore Valley Ranch. The public cannot enter private property, but fans can come up to the gate to pay respects.
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Can You Visit Neverland Ranch?
Unlike Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley that has become a pilgrimage location for countless fans, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is not open to the public. This property was previously the private residence of Michael Jackson.
After he vacated the property after his infamous trial, there were talks of turning it into a more public space that allowed visitors to enjoy the childhood paradise Michael Jackson had created. Despite extensive talks and much speculation, none of these concepts have come to life.
Visiting Neverland Ranch today is impossible unless you somehow acquire an invitation to the property from the owner. Having been bought by a private individual, many of the Michael Jackson’s pieces that turned it into the Neverland as we know it today have since been removed from the property.
You could say that the Neverland Ranch no longer exists as we all know it. The artifacts acquired at Neverland during Michael Jackson’s residence have been sold to various museums and other locations across the country.
Many fans of Michael Jackson make the significant pilgrimage to Neverland Ranch to see firsthand the place where Michael Jackson called home once upon a time. Unfortunately, visitors can only see the estate entrance and are not permitted to explore further.
Despite the lack of access to the property, fans travel from across the world to simply see the gates of what was once Michael Jackson’s Neverland. Even today, remnants of fan visits can be found at the gates of the enormous estate.
The gates and walls of Neverland Ranch are littered with many tributes to Michael Jackson. The tributes consist of various types, such as messages, flowers, simple rocks, and even clothing items from adoring fans. Most of the messages on the estate walls carry a similar sentiment: “We love and miss you, Michael Jackson.”
Despite not having much for tourists to see at the gates of Neverland Ranch other than memorabilia from previous visitors, the trip remains well worth the effort. There is the opportunity to have your picture taken at the entrance to the ranch. However, some rumors say the gates have since been moved to an undisclosed location.
Other than visiting the gate and enjoying browsing through the memorabilia left by previous visitors, there is beautiful scenery to be enjoyed in the area. The ranch is surrounded by oak-covered countryside. The nearest town is Los Olivos.
This region is the center of the Santa Barbara wine country, making it a great destination for those who enjoy spectacular scenery and great wines.
According to the Michael Jackson Website, “Neverland, unfortunately, cannot be open for public visitation. We wish it could. Its location and the applicable zoning regulations prohibit opening it up to the public. During his lifetime, Michael explored this possibility and was faced with the fact that it could not be done.”
This quote from the website implies that while Michael Jackson was alive, he had attempted to find a way to open up portions of the ranch to the public for their enjoyment. However, government regulations and the isolated location of the ranch prohibited this idea from being taken any further.
After Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, the Jackson family was initially rumored to have wished to bury his body at Neverland ranch and turn the place into a memorial. Around this time, most resident animals and fun rides were completely removed from the property despite much contestation from fans.
The removed theme park rides were quickly replaced with a section specifically dedicated to Peter Pan and a meditation garden in remembrance of the fallen star.
Despite initial talks – claimed to be rumors – that the Jackson family would open up Neverland ranch as a memorial or museum to Michael Jackson, nothing of the sort has since come to pass. As a result, there is still no tourist access to the property, and it seems the Jackson family has lost interest in Neverland Ranch altogether.
Visiting Neverland While Michael Jackson Lived
While Michael Jackson was alive, it was only possible to visit Neverland Ranch if you were personally invited to the property. To obtain access to Neverland Ranch during Michael Jackson’s residency, you had to be placed on an approved guest list in one of two ways.
Either you had to be personally invited to Neverland Ranch by Michael Jackson himself, or you had to be somebody who had pre-approved business at the ranch.
Michael Jackson hosted several well-known dignitaries at Neverland Ranch while he lived there. Oprah Winfrey interviewed Michael Jackson at one point on the property. Michael Jackson hosted countless events at Neverland Ranch with his wife, Lisa Marie Presley.
Some of his events included inviting children in need to spend time enjoying themselves in the theme park he had created to relive his own childhood.
What Features Does/Did Neverland Ranch Have?
Neverland Ranch is an extensive property with many buildings, attractions, and countless quirky tributes to Michael Jackson and his childlike intrigue.
The property was originally bought in trust but soon grew to become Michael Jackson’s personal amusement park. The ranch was home to a full-size petting zoo with countless animals and a host of fascinating garden statues Michael Jackson had commissioned for millions of dollars.
The property boasted three railroads and a steam locomotive. In addition, there was a Ferris wheel, rollercoaster, and amusement arcade. Some of the most exciting theme park rides featured at Neverland Ranch were the car rides, wave swinger, carousel, and a well-known pirate ship ride.
Some other rides to be enjoyed at Neverland Ranch were the Octopus ride, bumper cars, super slide, and a zipper.
The main house at Neverland Ranch is a six-bedroom mansion that is 126 000 square feet in size. An interesting feature of this house is the secret safe room near the main bedroom’s en-suite bathroom. This was built as a safety feature in case of emergencies.
In addition to the main residence at Neverland Ranch, there is a pool house and three separate guest houses. Naturally, Neverland Ranch has a tennis court. In addition, there is a large four-acre lake with a substantial waterfall.
One of the house’s best features is a five-and-a-half thousand-square-foot movie theater with a stage. The stage in the movie theater meant that the space could double up as a space for live performances.
What Happened To Neverland Ranch?
After Michael Jackson’s 2003 trial in which he was charged with molesting minors – and subsequently acquitted of all charges – the singer decided that Neverland Ranch was no longer his home.
After a foreclosure auction that saw Michael retain a stake in the property, the king of pop gradually gave up more of his property until it went up for sale.
After Michael Jackson’s death, the fate of the property was uncertain until it was purchased in 2021 by a businessman for $22 million.