Orlando water park making a splash

The Smart Traveler

June 01, 2008|By Jane Wooldridge | Jane Wooldridge,Mcclatchy-Tribune

ORLANDO, FLA. -- Waterslides, wave pools, meandering rivers and cooling fountains -- and dolphins?

Dolphins and other creatures are the newest twist on Central Florida water parks, found at Aquatica, which opened in March.


Little Bookroom / $16.95

This charming book profiles almost 100 of the best patisseries, chocolate shops, tea salons, ice cream parlors and other sweet spots in Paris. Author Jamie Cahill also includes the best picnic spots and offers several lovely sidebars, such as a profile of a chocolate buyer for a fashionable gourmet store, a behind-the-scenes look at the daily goings-on in a patisserie kitchen and the history of three crucial items in the French kitchen: the Madeleine (a shell-shaped tea cake that originated in the 18th century), the eclair (France's favorite pastry) and the tarte Tatin (a French "upside down" apple tart accidentally created by the Tatin sisters in the Loire Valley). She also mentions other useful tips, including brief descriptions of the various types of cream and cream fillings that form the foundation of French pastries.




Wonders to behold

New York City, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and South Dakota's Badlands were named to a list of seven U.S. wonders featured on ABC's Good Morning America. Also on the list were the Grand Canyon, Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Preserve, Washington's National Mall and the Saturn V moon rocket at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in Huntsville, Ala. The show assembled a panel of experts to choose the seven destinations, which included manmade as well as natural wonders.




How the rich dine

The villa where Italian designer Gianni Versace, 50, was shot to death in 1997, is again opening its doors to the rich and fabulous -- or to anyone who can afford lunch or dinner. Casa Casuarina, a beautiful Spanish-style mansion, built in 1930, was renovated and expanded by Versace and became a private club after his death. Now the Casa is accepting overnight reservations for its 10 guest suites ($1,200 to $10,000 a night). The restaurants are open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays. Information: casacasuarina.com.




Vacation cities with plenty of culture

Top big cities in arts destinations, based on a poll of readers of AmericanStyle Magazine:

1. New York 2. Chicago 3. Washington 4. San Francisco 5. Boston 6. Seattle 7. Albuquerque, N.M. 8. Philadelphia 9. Baltimore 10. Columbus, Ohio


Urban waterfall sprouts near Brooklyn

If you're visiting New York this summer, don't be surprised to find a waterfall next to the Brooklyn Bridge. The spectacle will be one of four manmade waterfalls built on the shores of the city's East River by Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson. The water will course over scaffolding 90 feet to 120 feet high, from late June to Oct. 15, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and will be illuminated after sunset. The locations will be the Brooklyn base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Governor's Island, Pier 35 in Lower Manhattan and between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn. Circle Line Downtown (866-925-4631 or circlelinedown town.com) is the official boat tour operator for the event. Details at nycwaterfalls.org.



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