Neverland Rides Find New Life
When you pay a visit to your county or state fair, or when a carnival comes to town, you may get a chance to ride on one of Michael Jackson’s amusement park rides. The rides were sold to amusement companies around the country and have been refurbished and put back into use.
“It was a blast!” said Benny Vasquez, a Visalia, Calif., welder who was regaining his bearings after a dizzying turn on the Spider, an arachnid-shaped contraption with blazing green bulbs lining its black legs. “It’s exciting for people to be able to sit on something that he owned.”
Over the years, Jackson acquired about 18 rides for his 2,600-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County. Some gradually were swapped out for newer models and hit the carnival circuit without fanfare. But most stayed in place even after Jackson, acquitted on child molestation charges in 2005, left Neverland for good.
Several big amusement companies purchased what remained in 2008, repainting and sprucing up rides run down by weather and lack of use.
(image credit: Tomas Ovalle/LA Times)