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By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- A reader e-mailed us to point out that many of the Cool Zones listed on the County's map are not open Sundays. So we did some research to find a few more options on some cool places to go, such as shopping malls, bowling alleys, ice rinks, movie theatres, casinos, aquatic centers, libraries and more. 

We also have some tips on how to beat the heat at home and keep your cool. Plan ahead, since SDG&E says Flex Alerts (temporary power outages) are possible during the extreme heat starting Sunday. 

Check out our list below of cool places  that are open Sunday and beyond:

Parkway Plaza shopping mall in El Cajon is indoors and air conditioned, with many stores, restaurants and movie theaters, as well as activities for children including an indoor train ride:

Grossmont Center in La Mesa is an outdoor mall but does have an enclosed food court area with seating, a movie theater, and of course all stores are air conditioned:

Movie theaters are always good retreats on a hot day.  So are bowling alleys. There’s a bowling alley at Viejas Outlets Center in Alpine  as well as Parkway Bowl in El Cajon:

How about ice skating? Check out Kroc Center's ice rink in San Diego, just a couple of blocks west of La Mesa,  at    

Local casinos are all open Sunday and have restaurants inside, too , including in the Dehesa area of El Cajon, in Alpine and in Lakeside.Added bonus: most casinos have back-up generators so if the power goes out (SDG&E says flex alerts are possible) they can keep the lights on and the AC running.

Some libraries are open Sunday, others aren't. .For example, the El Cajon Library is open from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday: .

For kids you could consider Boomer’s in El Cajon (near Santee) which has some indoor activities like arcade games as well as outdoor:

There is also the Santee Aquatics Center which has play equipment in the pool:  as well as a “sprayground” at Santee Lakes

Also the Mission Trails Regional Visitors Center is open Sunday and has a nice museum and a small library,plus areas with beautiful views:

For a complete listing of Cool Zone locations, see the county's Emergency Map or a list with hours and locations here: Additionally, the following two Cool Zones have extended hours for Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.:

  • Borrego Springs Library, 587 Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 125
  • Potrero Library, 24883 Potrero Valley Rd.

Tips to Beat the Heat

Aging and Independence Services offers Cool Zones to help older adults keep cool during hot summer days. But there are other things people can do to beat the heat:

  • Slow down. Be your most physically active during the coolest part of the day, usually between 4-7 a.m. Pace yourself when engaging in physical activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not being used, stay on the lowest floor. Keep shades down and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
  • Go to a Cool Zone site on hot days.
  • Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
  • Avoid using the oven.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's heat.
  • Air out hot cars before getting into them.
  • Never leave children or pets inside vehicles at any time, even with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a vehicle can reach lethal levels no matter what the weather is like.
  • Drink more fluids than usual even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine; they make the heat's effects on your body worse.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increases metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • If you take diuretics, ask your physician about a lower dosage during hot weather.
  • If it is safe to do so, leave windows open at night. Open windows on two sides to create cross ventilation.
  • Place a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil in sunny windows to reflect sunlight and heat away from the house.
  • Vacuum, clean or replace air filters regularly for maximum cooling efficiency.
  • If affordable, install outdoor awnings or sunscreens.
  • Call your physician if you feel you may be experiencing a heat-related illness.

For more information send us an email or phone 800-510-2020

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A trick we used to use to keep cool

When traveling cross country without A/C....put an extra T-shirt in a plastic ziplock bag and put in ice chest.  When cold, put it on.  It really cools down your body temperature.

Ceiling fans really help cool down a house and circulate the air. Our house was like an oven before we got the ceiling fans  in the bedrooms,family room and kitchen.

Floor fans also help but be careful with themaround pets, or you can get one on a tall stand.

If you are outdoors, wearing a lightweight, broad-brimmed hat to shade your face helps - be sure it's a breathable material like straw or canvas.