Kristen Manieri is travel and lifestyle writer living in Orlando, FL with her husband and two little girls. Her work has appeared in such publications as Air Tran’s GO Magazine, Dreamscapes, Florida Guides, Costco Connection and Orlando Magazine. Living in the Sunshine State has given Kristen endless adventures and writing material as she’s explored Florida from Amelia Island all the way down to Key West.

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An Unsung Gem: Cranes Roost Park Orlando

An Unsung Gem: Cranes Roost Park Orlando www.TodaysMama.com

Looking for an easy, outdoorsy day your entire family will love? Head to Cranes Roost Park Orlando, the 45-acre park in Uptown Altamonte, about 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando.

I’ve been enjoying this picturesque park space every since my youngest was a baby. I’d load her into the stroller, sometimes wrapping her up in a warm blanket if the day was cool, and we’d do three or four laps of the one-mile trail around the park’s shimmering waters.

Now that my brood is a little older, we all make the trek by foot, so we can peak over the side of the boardwalk and see the fish, turtles and ducks swimming below. We often make a pit stop at the fountain, where I hand over my extra pennies, so the girls can toss them into the water, making wish after wish.

An Unsung Gem: Cranes Roost Park Orlando www.TodaysMama.comThis time of the year, Cranes Roost is sporting its finest holiday décor, including a colossal Christmas tree and a series of spectacular lights that begin to twinkle at sunset. Christmas music has been piped through the open-air audio system making it an ideal nighttime outing for families looking for activities that are festive and free.

Try if you can to plan your visit for a Friday evening when live music is presented at the Eddie Rose Amphitheatre. Hundreds of families attend the weekly Friday Night Live event where they settle into the stadium-style seating to enjoy this free outdoor concert. This is one of Orlando’s best weekly outdoor events.

Another park perk is Cranes Roost’s Sunset Cinema, which takes place monthly (usually the second Saturday of the month) September through December and March through June. Held in the Plaza (by the fountain) these outdoor screenings feature a different family-friendly flick each month. Admission is free, food is available for purchase, and attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs.

An Unsung Gem: Cranes Roost Park Orlando www.TodaysMama.comThis month, the films will be festive. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas will be shown on Thursday, December 12 at 7 pm, and Christmas with the Kranks will be shown on Thursday, December 19 at 7 pm.

Visit the Uptown Altamonte event page for a full calendar listing.

If it hasn’t already, Cranes Roost is sure to become one of your favorite Orlando hotspots any time of the year.

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