Neverland Valley Ranch (formerly the Sycamore Valley Ranch) is a developed property in Santa Barbara County, California, most famous for being a 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.
Midland, a college prep boarding school, is the southerly neighbor and also separates it from the Los Padres National Forest just east of the ranch; 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 3000 acres (1214 hectares). It is currently owned by the Sycamore Valley Ranch Company, LLC.
Jackson purchased the property from golf course entrepreneur William Bone in 1988 for a sum variously reported to be $16.5 to $30 million. It was Jackson's home and private amusement park and contained, among other things, a floral clock, numerous statues of children, and a zoo. The amusement park included two railroads: one 36" gauge with a steam locomotive (Crown 4-4-0, built 1973, with 2 coaches) and the other a 24" gauge amusement train ride-type); and a Ferris wheel, Carousel, Zipper, Octopus, Pirate Ship, Wave Swinger, Super Slide, dragon wagon kiddie roller coaster and bumper cars. Michael Jackson was also an avid art collector. According to Yves Gautier in the 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.”
During his residency there, Jackson brought groups of children and their families to the facility as day visitors. He also hosted various children overnight, a practice which...
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