Magic behind Wacky World Studios born from hardship

What's Right With Tampa Bay

- Many would never guess the owner of Wacky World Studios grew up on the streets. 

Bruce Barry's company designs and creates kid-themed projects for churches, amusement parks, schools and businesses. His creations are almost beyond description.

"I immerse myself in this wacky world so that it is easy to design and create," Barry explained. "It's like a kid, once you take a project on, it becomes yours, it becomes your own." 

Bruce started drawing at a young age while working with his dad, who was an animator for Disney.

"He taught me how to cartoon and how to design, how to think outside the box," Bruce said.

Bruce's father got sick and died when Bruce was a teenager. While his family moved to Florida, Bruce stayed behind in New Jersey to finish high school.

"I found a basement to live in and I was there for probably about a month or two before I couldn't pay my rent," Bruce explained.

Homeless and no where to go, Bruce did what he could to finish school.

"I ended up living in my car for two years, going to high school," Bruce added. "I lived in a park and through the cold seasons, the fall and the winter and the snow, the wet the sleet and the rain."

After high school graduation, Bruce enlisted in the Navy.

"The best thing I ever did, really put me on a path, straightened me out," Bruce said.

He left the military and started Wacky World Studios in 1979. Ever since, he's taken personal ownership of each magical project. His clients say they love the turn-key approach of Wacky World. Bruce described how it works. 

"We design it, we create it, build it, we sculpture it, we mold it, we make it,  we ship it and install it," Bruce said.

Bruce is so thankful for his team and what he calls the blessings that have come his way. He also said he never forgets the key to what his life has become.

"Hard work, hard work, that's what it takes. It's never handed to you," he said. "I'm very humbled, what I have and where we have gotten today." 

For more on Bruce's work, visit

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