Celebrites as Tourist Attractions: Jackie Chan, Britney Spears, and More

Millions of tourists visit Los Angeles every year in hopes of spotting a celebrity, but rarely see anything more than gated homes and unemployed actors in character costumes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some enterprising celebrities are finding ways to become tourist attractions in their own right, with live performances and theme parks for fans to see their favorites (or at least their stuff) live in person.

-Britney Spears just announced a two-year residency at Las Vegas‘ Planet Hollywood starting in December. Over 1,000 fans gathered in the Nevada desert for her helicopter arrival and performance on GMA. Tickets for the pop star’s first 16 shows this winter go on sale tomorrow.

Action star Jackie Chan is opening his collection of historic sandalwood houses to the public in Beijing with a new theme park. The proposed park will show different cultural experiences with no admission, with some ticketed attractions to help maintain the antique buildings.

Film and TV actors on Broadway have become de rigueur in recent years, a way to prove their serious talent and break away from roles they’ve become famous for. This season, you can catch Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Patrick Stewart on stage in New York City.

-Fans of Michael Jackson have been hoping that his Neverland Ranch in California might be turned into a park or pilgrimage spot like Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but part of the property was sold off in 2008 and has since fallen into disrepair. Hearing that his children would like to buy it back, Lady Gaga was rumored to offer to help with costs or open it to the public.

Video: Traffic cop gets his Michael Jackson on

Recently, we showed you a Mexico City street performer giving his own personal tribute to the King of Pop. Now, a Filipino traffic cop brings a little Michael Jackson to his job. Check it out – we’re pretty sure this guy would make our day if we were stuck in rush hour.

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Michael Jackson theme park planned for Gary, Indiana

A Michael Jackson theme park has been planned for the late Pop star’s hometown of Gary, Indiana. The developers announced that the theme park will be part of a larger $1 billion project that will also include a museum, golf course, 300-room hotel, and a performing arts center. Spokesperson Odie Anderson shared that they hope to break ground later this year.

The theme park and surrounding attractions will be built out in phases over the next decade beginning with the museum. Eventually, the park will include rides from Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and a roller coaster themed after his mega hit “Thriller”. I would have thought that a Micheal Jackson theme park would have sprung up out of the remnants of the Neverland Ranch in California. But, a park in Indiana has the advantage of being closer to more of the country’s population which will give more visitors a shorter trip to the park.

Gary, Indiana to honor the late King of Pop with a theme park

It is hard to write about Gary, Indiana without insulting them. I’ll admit that most of my experiences with Gary have involved little more than driving through the city on my way to Michigan, but from what I’ve seen when speeding down I90 has never really been interesting enough to stop and learn more about what they have to offer.

That is all about to change, because Gary has decided to build a theme park dedicated to its most famous one time resident – Michael Jackson. Before Jackson passed away, I did not even know he was born in Gary, something I’m sure I share with many others.

Work on the theme park is scheduled to begin this year – and will include a rollercoaster (called Thriller), a Ferris wheel, a zoo, a museum and even classic carnival rides moved from the pop singers famous Neverland Ranch.

Now, before you load up the family truckster for a trip to Gary, you’ll be disappointed to know that constructing the theme park will be a ten year project, and will start with a museum and an art center. Out of respect for Gary, I’ve added a photo of the Neverland Ranch – you’d be surprised to know that there are no cheerful photos of Gary on the Internet.

[Via: Jaunted]

Click the pictures to learn about other unusual amusement parks, from R-Rated “Love Land,” to a park based on the works of Charles Dickens, from a park with a ride called “Dog Fart Switchback,” to a park that’s twice the size of Disneyland.