Michael Jackson ran the Neverland ranch for a long time, and it was his main residence. The ranch was more of a theme park for many years, with rides, a zoo and an amusement arcade along the grounds. Eventually some reported financial issues meant Jackson was believed to have signed over a large amount of the property, but can fans visit it now?
Michael Jackson bought the Neverland Estate, then known as the Sycamore Valley Ranch, in 1988, for an amount which sources have placed between $ 19.5million and $ 30million.
The ranch was bought in trust, but it was reported this arrangement was rescinded and Jackson became the ultimate owner, deciding to turn it into more than just his home.
Jackson lived in the ranch, but also developed a private amusement park on the property, opening a petting zoo, and numerous garden statues.
Following this, he also opened three railroads, a steam locomotive named after his mother, Katherine, a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and amusement arcade.
Michael Jackson Neverland ranch: Who bought the Neverland ranch?
As well as these, there were also number cars, a wave swinger, a pirate ship ride, and a carousel, as well as a reported safe room for security.
Jackson hosted a huge number of events at the ranch, with his then wife Lisa Marie Presley in 1995, where children from around the world were invite, as well as the ranch of Elixabetj Taylor and Larry Fortensky in 1991.
Oprah Winfrey also interviewed Jackson live at the ranch in 1993.
However, in Jackson’s trial in 2003, where he was charged on multiple counts of molesting a minor, the Neverland ranch was extensively searched by police.
The entrance to the Neverland Ranch
Jackson was acquitted of all charges, and after this took place he left the ranch, and he was reported as saying he would never live at the property again and considered it to no longer be his home.
This was detailed in his sister La Toya’s memoir from 2012, Starting Over.
In 2007, foreclosure of the Neverland Ranch was published, and a spokesperson for Jackson said the loan was being refinanced, and he still retained the majority stake in the ranch.
However, as time went on, it reported Jackson gave up more and more of the ranch, with it eventually going up for sale.
The rides and amusements at the Neverland ranch
In a press release around a foreclosure auction of the ranch, Jackson said: “I am pleased with recent developments involving Neverland Ranch and I am in discussions with Colony [Capital, an investment company] and Tom Barrack with regard to the Ranch and other matters that would allow me to focus on the future.”
However, tragedy struck when Jackson died in May 2009, and his family spoke out on their intention to bury Jackson at the ranch.
From this point, all the rides and animals were removed from the property, and some were believed to have been replaced by a section decorated with Peter Pan, along with a meditation garden.
The ranch was put up for sale in 2015 by Colony NorthStar, but Jackson’s brother, Jermaine, wrote an open letter disagreeing with the decision.
The main house at Neverland
The ranch was, at this stage, jointly owned by the company and the Jackson estate, with Jackson bequeathing his share of the estate to a family trust on his death.
Eventually, the ranch was being put up for sale again in 2016 via Sotheby’s, but the property began to fall in value and, as of February 2019, the value of the property has fallen by an approximate $ 70million.
It has still not been sold, but despite this the family of MJ has not opened the ranch as a memorial or museum to the singer, especially with a great deal of the rides having been removed.
As a result of this, it can not be visited by tourists.