Remember Gates Open for Members at 7 a.m.
It’s one of those summers. The heat is relentless, the drought shows no sign of stopping and autumn feels like a long time away.
It’s tempting to stay inside with the AC blasting. But the Garden can still provide a welcome respite and a breath of fresh air. Just follow these tips to beat the heat.
Arrive early. Temperatures generally drop to the low 80s overnight, and arriving at the Garden when the gates open can give you an hour or two in relative comfort. The Garden opens for the general public at 8 a.m., but remember that members can arrive as early as 7 a.m. (Not yet a member? Join today!)
Stay hydrated. Bottled water is available for sale at the Garden entrance and drinking fountains are located around the campus, but we encourage you to bring your own water bottles. You can refill water bottles at one of the eight water stations (see map here) around the campus.
Stick to the shade. Some areas of the Garden are naturally cooler than others. The Japanese Garden is deeply shaded, and the ponds help guests feel cooler. Anywhere near water features is likely to be more pleasant.
Wear sunscreen. Even if you try to remain in the shade, reflected sunlight is all around you. Avoid burns and protect your skin by applying sunscreen to yourself and your companions, especially children and the elderly, and reapply regularly.
Dress appropriately. We recommend you wear clothes that are loose-fitting, light-colored and lightweight. It’s temping to wear as few clothes as possible, but covering your skin with a light layer is actually safer. Hats are essential for keeping the sun off your head, face and neck. Both hats and umbrellas are available for sale in the gift shop.
Remember dogs suffer from the heat as well. If you bring a canine companion to Dog Days on July 16 and 17, make sure they get lots of water. Avoid walking on pavement as temperatures rise, as hot surfaces can burn the pads on dogs’ feet. To determine if surfaces are too hot, place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you can’t hold your hand longer than 5 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.
In fact, to keep our four-legged friends safe in our hot afternoons, July Dog Days will run from 8 am until 1 pm.
Know when to get help. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are dangerous. This guide from the Centers for Disease Control will make you familiar with the symptoms. In general, if you or a companion start to sweat heavily, feel nauseated, become dizzy, experience muscle cramps, or feel extremely thirsty move into the shade and sip water.
If you or a companion experience symptoms such as vomiting, confusion or loss of consciousness, these are signs of heatstroke, which is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately. If you do not have a phone, signal someone nearby or flag down Garden staff, who will be glad to help.
Stay safe this summer, keep cool and enjoy the Garden!