Now that we have had a couple weeks of this hot weather and the forecast calls for at least another week of it what I would call exceedingly hot and humid weather, out here on the West Coast I have been looking for ways to beat the heat in Metro Vancouver.
To help you (and me) beat the heat, I have compiled a list of five places to go on any of these super hot sunny days, especially if you are taking care of small children.
One of the places that I find respite from the exceedingly hot weather is IKEA. Even if the IKEA “ballroom” is busy and you are unable to hand responsibility for your children over to one of the adolescents who are in charge of the ballroom, at least you can go inside the village-sized warehouse store and spend hours aimlessly wandering around looking at beds, bedroom suites, and living-room furniture that those wacky Swedes have come up with.
When my kids are in there and jumping up and down on beds or couches or worst case scenario, dining room tables, I see their behaviour as a public service. Jumping up and down on the furniture is doing a stress test on the furniture to demonstrate the quality of the furniture on display.
Of course my all-time favourite place to go on a sunny day is Costco. I have blogged about this favourite retreat of mine before so I will not bore you with details other than to say, an air-conditioned warehouse, $1.50 hotdogs that come with a soda AND free food at every turn. What more is there to life?
If you are looking to avoid crass commercialism, another place that you can visit on a scorching hot day is the public library. I know that the downtown Vancouver public library is open until 9 PM most evenings. If you have done your due diligence and you have actually taught your kids, the way we have, that books are valuable and great entertainment, then you can spend an afternoon in the library without experiencing heat stroke. As an added bonus, library washrooms are typically pretty accessible and relatively clean.
The Vancouver Aquarium is another place where there is lots of air-conditioned indoor activities for you and the kids to enjoy. You might want to check the news or the Twitter before heading down there to see if there’s a protest going on about keeping whales and other marine life in captivity.
It can be awkward trying to explain to little kids why people are shouting and screaming and making you feel like a piece of shit as you are going to visit one of their favourite places. The fact is you are really just going in to the aquarium to beat the heat and the fact that there are fish and whales in small tanks is another issue.
Of course unless you have a membership to the Vancouver Aquarium, that is going to be a very costly day-trip. Especially when you try to escape the Aquarium through the gift shop.
Another place that you can go for free, sort of, is the your local shopping mall. A shopping mall such as Metrotown or Coquitlam Center offers quite a wide array of experiences.
During the summer months there are any number of strange and bizarre looking teenagers wandering aimlessly around the mall as if they are on the set of the Walking Dead. These strange and bizarre creatures can be entertainment for smaller children or at worst, they can be traumatizing.
Be sure to use your judgment while you’re out in the mall. If you play your cards right you can always go into the Apple store in the Coquitlam center or Metrotown malls and have your kids glom onto an iPad while you are receiving a sales pitch or tech help from the wonderful people who work in the Apple Store.
If you are looking for something where you were still outdoors but you don’t want to be in the direct sun, then you can always venture into an urban forest. Forests like Mundy Park in Coquitlam, the Seymour Demonstration Forest offer many heavily shaded trails or paths to walk on.
So if you want to go to IKEA, Costco or a suburban mall you can beat the heat. If you have the internal fortitude to drive across Vancouver and attempt to find parking at the Vancouver Aquarium, you may be able to beat the heat that way. You can also wander around an urban forest or the public library. Whatever you do, get out of the sun before you melt!!