Going to the Zoo When It’s 102

In case you live under a rock, or just don’t live in the same great state as me, today’s weather was ridiculous.  Ridiculously hot.  Word on the street is that it was 103 today – the hottest we’ve had it here since 1988.

This morning when I heard temps were expected at 100, my heart sank.  Who wants to take 160 kindergartners to the zoo in that kind of weather??  And then I thought, “I feel like I have been to the zoo in extreme heat before.”  And then I remembered that yes, indeed, I had!  Back in 2008 in the incredible Okinawa.  When I spent my summer on the beautiful subtropical island of Japan, we took the kids to the local zoo.  And it was always hot as hades there.  I could do this.  I will survive.

Since I can’t show you pics of my trip today to the zoo, even though I have a darn cute one of my little African queen wearing my hot pink sunglasses with her cute little sundress.  So I will instead share pictures from the last time I went to the zoo in extreme heat :)

It was tricky to be prepared for today because not only did I need to dress for the heat, I also needed to figure out a way to look at least moderately presentable after the zoo for our kindergarten graduation upon our return to school. Basically I didn’t want to turn into one of these prairie dogs at the Okinawa Zoo…

How does one do that after sweating for 4 hours in intense heat?   Let me tell you.  First off, I planned for the presentable part, before the keeping cool part.  I picked a black tank top with wide ruffly sleeves.  Then I brought a bright chunky long necklace to put on once I returned to school.  All attention should be drawn away from my disheveledness and towards the bright necklace, right??  Genius.

Next I planned the staying cool part.  I had waterbottles for each kid and for myself also.  I wore teva sandals (partially to keep my feet cooler than tennis shoes, partially to test out their walking capabilities for Europe.  It was a success).  Then, I thought back to Oki, and what hints I could pick up from the Japanese.  I left my umbrella (sun shield) at home, but I did grab a Japanese fan and used it all day long (best idea ever) and also brought a washcloth to dab that sweat off my face – both great lessons from the Japanese.  Thank you!  Saved me :) 

Of course I also made sure that anytime I saw a child from my class to inquire about their water drinking thus far, and encouraged shade and visits to the air conditioning.  All in all, a successful trip to the zoo.  I think since I was prepared for it to totally suck, I was pleasantly surprised by my lack of complete miserableness.

I was even able to enjoy conversations with kids such was:

It is like we are outdoor explorers!

What is Mrs. T’s first last name?  (yes, we had a big discussion, me and this kid, about maiden names.  She did not like the idea that perhaps someday I would have a different last name…)

When will we see the stinky zebras?

Thank you for bringing us here!  You are the best.

Is that a girl seal or a boy seal?

Will the giraffes spit on us?

Look at that ride!  Oh My God!  Echoed by another student: O.M.G.  (I usually stop and tell the kids they can say things like “oh my goodness!”  instead.  But the moment was lost after the OMG.  Seriously – how old are you?  5 going on 15?)

This was followed by graduation.  But more on that later… turns out I’m feeling  a little sad about the year ending.  Didn’t see that coming…

p.s.  If you want to read more about my last subtropical zoo trip, or see the video of a gorilla(?) throwing his “poo-poo” at my Japanese students, click here (the video is at the bottom of the post)

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