Kristen Manieri

Correspondent

  • Orlando, Florida, USA

Kristen Manieri is a correspondent who lives in Orlando and covers the city and surrounding areas for Forbes Travel Guide. A regular contributor to Orlando Magazine, Orlando Family magazine and Edible Orlando, Manieri continuously scours the city searching for the next great person, place or adventure. Living in the Sunshine State has given her the opportunity to explore it from northerly Amelia Island to southernmost Key West. But from top to tip, Orlando remains one of Manieri’s favorite Florida spots thanks to its ‘come as you are’ art scene, local food-focused restaurants and gorgeous green spaces.

  • On May 7, 2013
    Kristen Manieri answered the question: Kristen Manieri

    What are the best activities in Orlando?

    Theme parks and kitschy International Drive attractions may be what put Orlando on the map, but they really are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of things to do in the Orlando area. In the fall, winter, and early spring months, cooler temperatures make exploring state parks—via kayak or hiking trail—an ideal activity. One of my favorites is Wekiwa Springs State Park, a pristine preserve located 30 minutes north of downtown Orlando. Rent a canoe or kayak and head out onto the river where you’re sure to see alligators, turtles, and maybe an otter or two. For another authentic Florida wilderness experience, pay a visit to Forever Florida, a 4,700-acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area where you can experience everything from safaris to zip-lining to overnight horseback adventures. Of course, not all those activities will be fun when the temperatures hit scorching status. On those days, consider checking out the Orlando Science Center. Between the engaging permanent and visiting exhibitions and the films screened on either the CineDome or newly unveiled Digital Adventure Theater, your brood can stay busy indoors for most of the day.
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  • On May 6, 2013
    Kristen Manieri answered the question: Kristen Manieri

    What are the best attractions in Orlando?

    Obviously Walt Disney World Resort, the 40-square-mile Mecca of merriment, will top most visitor’s bucket list, and justifiably so. With four theme parks, two water parks, plus a dozen more fun happenings at Downtown Disney, a trip to WDW can easily eat up an entire weeklong vacation. That being said, there’s one attraction that is, in my books at least, even better: Discovery Cove. As the sister property to SeaWorld, you’ll expect to see dolphins and tropical fish; what’s surprising is that you’ll be swimming with them. Guests are outfitted with wetsuits and snorkels upon arrival and then they spend the entire day in Discovery Cove’s various wet zones, swimming with fish, wading with rays, and floating along a lazy river that passes through a free-flight aviary. It’s an unforgettable Orlando experience that’s limited to just 1,300 guests each day. Finally, you can’t come to Orlando without a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal's Island of Adventure. Even if you’re not fan of the outrageously popular book series, you’ll still appreciate the attraction’s epic rides and crafty recreation of J.K. Rowling infamous locales.
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