The heat wave is wearing us out

Kansas City’s weather Sunday wasn’t fit for humans or beasts.


Most animals at the Kansas City Zoo don’t care for the high temperatures any more than we do, not even the lions and tigers that have genetic roots to lands with sweltering summers.

“They tired in the afternoon,” said Julie Neemeyer, the zoo’s marketing and membership director.

Some animals, including the polar bear and sea lions, had swimming pools to help keep them cool, while others were allowed to return to their “backstage bedrooms” to cool off.

Nearly 1,500 people visited the zoo Sunday despite the weather, but that’s less than half the 4,000 or so who normally show up during more temperate weather. The turnout might have been helped by the special opening time of 8 a.m. that started last week and runs through July to encourage people to visit before the day gets too hot.

Joe Sheeley of Hays, Kan., visited Sunday with his family, who cooled off with plenty of water and ice cream. They also stopped by three times at the polar bear enclosure with its tempting pool.

“I would have liked to have jumped in — without the polar bear,” he said.

The hot, dry weather will stick around the Kansas City area for a few more days. The forecast calls for highs of 104 to 106 degrees through Wednesday. A weather system could move in Wednesday bringing the possibility of rain and temperatures that don’t rise above the 90s on Thursday.

Until then, we’re finding ways to slog through the heat.

Melinda Aguilera got out Sunday before the temperature grew unbearable and swam a few laps in the Gillham Park pool.

Several miles away in Swope Park, Hasan Zaidi and others adapted their weekly cricket match to suit the weather.

Zaidi, a pre-business student at the University of Kansas, said they usually play at least eight hours on a typical Sunday. This week’s match wrapped up in six hours so they could get out of the heat.

“When it’s really hot, everybody is out of energy,” he said as teammates nearby undressed and doused their heads with cool water.

To prepare for the hot temperatures, Zaidi said, players drink plenty of fluids the day before the match. During the competition, they wear white or light-color clothing and take frequent breaks.

Bob Hicks of Leawood said he made sure he took plenty of water and rest breaks Sunday as he hit practice rounds at the driving range at the Minor Park Golf Course in south Kansas City.

“It was a two- or three-shirt day and I only had one,” Hicks joked. “I was just hitting some golf balls and my shirt was soaked. Had I another, I might have changed it.”

Hicks, who regularly spends weekends practicing his swing on the driving range, is used to the heat.

“You just deal with it until you can come home to the air conditioning,” he said.

The outdoor restaurant patios on the Country Club Plaza mostly sat empty early Sunday evening.

Ashley and Gustavo Lopez trudged into the heat for a meal, but they weren’t sure they would have if it weren’t their first wedding anniversary.

“Probably not,” said Ashley Lopez.

Even ice cream shops have had to wait until the sun goes down before they see a rush of customers.

“In the evening, the line is out the door,” said Mary Pat Losey, an employee at Murray’s Ice Cream & Cookies in Westport.