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and Team / Co
Jul 22, 2013
Arlington, VA
So far this season has been particularly hot.  Candy Apple Grove has been especially brutal.  As someone who likes hot weather and generally shuns air conditioning, I was shocked when I actually started sweating (glowing?) at KD over the past two weekends.

It seemed to me that if I find the heat nearly unbearable, it is probably killing a lot of other people.  So, I thought I could start a list of ways to escape the heat at KD.  Please feel free to respond with other ideas.

1. Water Rides.  The most obvious way to cool off in any amusement park is to go on the water rides.  I personally don't enjoy walking around in wet street clothes, but I'm sure Shenandoah Lumber Company and Whitewater Canyon are good options for many people.  Along similar lines, Soak City is another easy way to get wet, as long as you bring a bathing suit.

2. Theaters.  Another solution is to attend a show in an air conditioned theater.  Since I don't actually go to theme park shows if I can avoid it, I can't swear to the temperatures in the Kings Dominion Theater and Action Theater, but they might be a way to escape the heat.

3. Arcades.  We discovered quite by accident the most air conditioned building in the park (we think): the Grove Arcade.  If like us you have never noticed this anonymous building next to Subway in the Candy Apple Grove, then you may not know about its excellent air conditioning either.  It was easily the coolest place we have been at KD this summer.  

4. Restaurants.  Some of the restaurants (Border Café, Victoria's Pizza, Country Kitchen, etc) have indoor seating and air conditioning.  While they do not seem to be kept as cool at the arcade, they do have tables and chairs.

5. Shops.  Many of the shops have air conditioning.  Since they do not have doors, however, they are generally still fairly warm.  Regardless, there is shade and slightly cooler air.  

6. Frozen treats.  I have long advocated frozen food and beverages as a way to keep your body cool in the Summer.  KD actually has a wide variety of options from Icees to Dole Whip to ice cream to frozen bananas.  None of these are a replacement for water, which is an absolute must on a hot day, but they can help cool you down, when you are outside. My observation over the years is that frozen drinks especially cool me down from the inside, which is a surprising effective way to combat the heat.

One final thought: regardless of how you cool off, it is essential that you stay hydrated in the Summer.  I know I sound like ForumMom right now, but I have seen a lot of people drinking alcohol and Cokes in lieu of water.  Dehydration is really dangerous and will also give you headaches and make you black out on rides.  You can get free water at most places, so there is really no excuse for not staying hydrated all day.  (Sorry.  Stepping off my soapbox now.)

Please feel free to add to or correct my list.
Kings Dominion Theatre and Action Theater are both very cool. However, if you choose to cool off in the Action Theater, the tradeoff is that you are stuck watching a terrible video.

Also, don't forget Boo Blasters! One of my favorite ways to escape the heat.
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Boo Blasters!  I knew I was forgetting something.

We rode it three times in a row just to stay inside.

Actually, the swings and (of course) roller coasters are nice, when they are moving.  Loading, however, isn't pleasant.
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this is why I am in favor of personal air conditioning suits.  Never be left alone with un-treated hot air again!

Also protects you from the DayStar
I was at the park yesterday with my buddy and yeah it was hot ass hell being in the 90's. The free water was what kept us cool and hydrated most of the day. Juke Box Diner was the place for us since the soda fountain is accessible for customers instead of waiting in line and asking employees for multiple refills.

Didn't get the chance to ride FOF yesterday, but if I remember correctly from previous years, doesn't that ride have A/C inside?
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Too bad the monorail is gone. That was the best air-conditioned attraction for extreme heat like this!

Also, the arcades will always be the coldest because they need to keep all those machines cool.
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As I spend a brutal Tuesday at KD, I am inspired to update this post.

While the A/C in most places isn't really enough to overcome today's level of heat and humidity, we discovered what we think might be the best place to cool off.

I certainly don't recommend eating in Victoria's, but I strongly encourage everyone to find a table directly under a fan.

A/C is nice, but wind is much, much better. Victoria's has both. It is lovely.

Edit: I want to clarify that the fans seemed more effective than in the past. Perhaps they are new.
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The last few weekends we've gone we brought our camelbacks which are a gallon in water and it saves us from having to buy drinks constantly..
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Nicole, great soapbox to be on, and I want to add to it how you dress:

Light colors help some. Wear light fabrics. Linen, tech fabrics, breathable cotton. Of course shorts, but heavy shorts aren’t smart. Again, linen pants/shorts, gym shorts, golf shorts (tech fabric) are great.

Izod (outlet isn’t far away!) makes a great tech short with very discreet cargo pockets for golfing, but I wear them to parks in the summer. The zipper pocket is deep enough for a phone, the other pockets are deep as well.

Straw or tech hats with a big brim give shade, protect you from the sun, and act as a great fan.

Don’t be wearing your heavy hiking boots with crew socks. Low socks, breathable running/crosstrainer/walking shoes help a ton.

Don’t forget about your sunscreen, sun glasses, and finding shade. Skin health isn’t something to skip in cooling off!!
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