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BARNEY TO GET HIS OWN PARK AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

SHARE BARNEY TO GET HIS OWN PARK AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

Barney is getting his own Jurassic Park.

Universal Studios Florida is planning to open "A Day in the Park with Barney" next summer, a 60,000-square-foot attraction devoted to the chortling purple dinosaur.The Barney park will include a 350-seat enclosed theater and an interactive game area, Tom Williams, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Florida, told a New York news conference Thursday. He did not disclose the cost of building the park.

Barney and his sidekicks Baby Bop and BJ will make appearances several times daily. Admission to the area will be included in the regular theme park ticket price.

The project is the latest venture for Barney creator Sheryl Leach and her father-in-law publisher Richard Leach. The pair already is worth $84 million in combined 1993-94 gross income, according to Forbes Magazine.

Despite outside concerns that overexposure could send Barney the way of his ancestors, both Universal and The Lyons Group, which produces the dino-celebrity, say there's more than enough interest to sustain the attraction.

"I think it's jumping the gun to say he's up," said Jim Hampton, a Universal spokesman. "The merchandising is going well and we think it's a good investment."

Sales of Barney merchandise soared in 1993 but have leveled off in 1994, said Lyons Group spokeswoman Kelly Lane. But she welcomed the even plane, saying, "You can't sustain that kind of hotness. We just want to see Barney becoming a classic character like a Bugs Bunny."

"Barney & Friends" debuted on public television in 1992 and quickly became the network's top children's show. The show also is aired in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa. Leach has said she plans to take the show to Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Universal Studios Florida had 15 million visitors last year to its Orlando park.