John & Anne Wiley

2015/03/10

Return To Neverland

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was only a few minutes’ flight from here, so we flew over it a few times coming and going places. We’ve never landed of course, much less driven out to the locked gate. After his surprising death a few years ago, we saw crowds gathered at the gate and not long afterward all the carnival rides he’d installed there were sold off and taken away. Though we saw a period when that once fanciful escape had seemed to fall into disrepair, it now appears well maintained. Many of the signature sights we’ve seen from above including the train station I posted yesterday, look quite nice as does this floral name.

4674 Neverland In Flowers

4674 Neverland In Flowers

Today I thought you might enjoy an aerial tour in photos, so let’s start in the pic below looking East at the North end nestled beneath the mountains we were returning from on our wildflower exploration.

1767 North Neverland

If you click on this link to see the largest version here, you can make out some details. At the left edge is a building that seems to house trains, with another long train building below and right of center off that wide circle in the tracks left of center bottom. Sprinkled around the pastures are what appear to have been horse and pony riding areas. Top right is an array of small “Old West” looking buildings that I understand were a petting zoo. Below the red barn in at area on this side of the trees you might be able to make out a large cage that maybe housed a monkey or birds.

1731 Petting Zoo

1731 Petting Zoo

Here’s a zoom view of that petting zoo, barn and pasture area with the cage I mentioned just beyond the bottom of the pic. This place would make such a great theme park for kids now, but the local residents would be severely impacted by the resulting traffic and of course water would be a major problem. I’m glad it’s being preserved though, and maybe a few people get to visit it as a giant museum of sorts. Our next area moving South is where all the rides had been.

1732 Neverland Rides

1732 Neverland Rides

At the left edge is that floral name again as seen from the West, and maybe you can get a sense of how the ride it had been at the foot of fit into the other rides. Hard to imagine now, with just the concrete pads and a few ticket booths plus at bottom left what was presumably a little track for cars. The two buildings center and right bottom are quite attractively done and nestled among giant ancient oaks.

1733 Neverland Mansions

1733 Neverland Mansions

There seem to be two main mansions on the Neverland estate, nestled in the trees above the tennis court in this pic. Just above the court is a fancy garage, and the main mansion above and left of that. The other is on the lake, above and right of the garage. I understand that Elizabeth Taylor once married and honeymooned there, but maybe someone who really knows will contact me with reference material.

1777 Tennis & Pool

1777 Tennis & Pool

This lovely building sits between the tennis courts and pool, and you can see more detail of the garage in this zoom pic. Here’s a zoom pic of the “Taylor” manse.

1779 Liz Taylor?

1779 Liz Taylor?

I like that little gazebo looking at it across the lake. What I call the main mansion is a collection of roofs mostly hidden among the trees that are just beginning to take on Spring leaves. Here’s that main mansion, brightened a bit to show a little bit of how magnificent it looks through a zoom lens from 1/4 mile above. There are probably helicopter photos taken with those stabilized monster zooms that can count the fleas on a pony, but hopefully this can give you a distant glimpse.

1806 Neverland Mansion

1806 Neverland Mansion

Here’s a look at the whole South end for some context of how everything fits together so nicely.

1740 South Neverland

1740 South Neverland

Above the large green field just right of top center is the petting zoo area, and the train station is to the left of the tennis court. As you can see, there’s another loop in the train tracks at this end. I think there are two different train lines that don’t connect, using different gauge trains. This one uses the long train building I pointed out and the smaller one uses that building barely visible at the left edge of the other pic above. I think the small one took people to the petting zoo area. Last up, this zoom pic of the main mansion’s beautiful post and beam front entrance that may have given some visitors the impression they were entering Neverland Lodge for a train safari back to the Old West.

1823 Neverland Lodge

1823 Neverland Lodge

I guess hundreds or thousands of people recall being at this whimsical place, and I hope they’re all pleasant memories.

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