Five Places to Take the Kids to Wait out the Heat Wave
Most are free-ish and all are a short, air-conditioned car ride away.
If you have a child, you know what a hidden treasure our local McDonalds is in the middle of winter when the temperatures have dropped below the freezing mark and you just can’t spend another minute in the house. The flip side is that the play area where we spend so much time in the winter is air-conditioned – so air-conditioned that you might actually need a long-sleeved shirt! You can walk in and sit there for free, but I usually spring for a cup of coffee (free refills) and take advantage of McDonalds’ free wifi.
Lather on the sunscreen, slip on the swimming suits, bust out the water shoes and let them run around in the fountains outside of the Starbucks. Try to go early to secure a spot in the shade for yourself. This is an entirely free outing, unless you choose to go into the Starbucks for an iced coffee beverage of some sort. Plus, I am pretty sure you can hook into the Starbucks’ wifi if you are so inclined.
Another popular hangout during the stir-crazy days of winter – I am dumbfounded by how long the little ones can spending staring at the fish in those tanks – pet shops are a great way to beat the heat of the dog days of summer (pun intended). Pretty much all retail establishments are air-conditioned, but pet stores, because of the nature of their merchandise, have an added incentive for keeping the temperatures cool. And you can get away with hanging out in the pet store without actually buying anything and without actually feeling too guilty about it. But, if you absolutely need to make a purchase, we’re running low on dog biscuits.
Create your own story time at the library. Grab some books off the shelves, snag a table and read to your little one for a while. Let the kids spend some time playing on the library computers – they can get 20 minutes of Internet time if you enter in the number on your library card, and pbskids.org is, theoretically educational. Then, there’s the free wifi for you if you have a laptop or other device to bring along. Just keep in mind that you can’t access grown-up stuff like Facebook from the library’s network.
5. Kmart, S. 4th Street
Browse the aisles of Kmart, slowly. This Kmart has shopping carts with televisions inside and if your child is small enough to fit in the seat – my four-year-old still can – you can enjoy some quiet time, some air-conditioning and…wait for it…get in a little bit of exercise. There are only a couple of these carts though, so you may want to slip a handheld gaming device into your purse, just in case.
What do you do to beat the heat? Tell us in the comments.