- By Lucia Benavides American-Statesman Staff
This summer’s going to be hot as always, but Austin is full of really cool (temperature-wise) places to hang out. We pointed our Ryobi laser temperature reader to tell you just how cool some of our places are. When you’re sweating it out, head to one of these cool spots. (Prices and admission fees have been updated throughout; temperatures were not retaken.)
The Currents exhibit at the Thinkery
At the children’s museum, you can really cool off. While kids roam around the room splashing each other and learning about the flow of water, they can get really wet and then wander around the rest of the museum. The temperature for the Currents exhibit room was measured at 70 degrees, and the rest of the museum was about the same. The water was a chilly 68 degrees. $9. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org.
The ice rink is a hidden gem inside Northcross Mall off Anderson Lane. The business that offers special events, summer camps, birthday parties and skating classes, plus public skating. Chaparral Ice is a great place to cool off during the overwhelming summer heat, with a temperature of 59 degrees. Inside the skating rink, it gets as low as 40 degrees. Make sure and come well-dressed; you can pretend it’s winter all over again, for at least a couple of hours. Admission is $8, and skate rental is $5. 2525 W. Anderson Lane. 512-252-8500, www.chaparralice.com.
Blanton Museum of Art
Museums are always kept at a cool temperature, mostly for conservation issues. The Blanton Museum of Art is no different. The atrium is kept at a nice 70 degrees, and while some rooms are cooler or warmer than others, it never gets above 72 degrees or below 68 degrees. The museum is located at the University of Texas at Austin and has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. Its permanent collection has more than 17,000 works, among them European paintings and modern and contemporary American and Latin American art. $5-$9; free entry on Thursdays. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and North Congress Avenue. 512-471-7324, www.blantonmuseum.org.
Whole Foods beer cooler
The Whole Foods at North Lamar Boulevard and Fifth Street is a popular spot during any time of the year, but the walk-in beer cooler is a perfect place to hibernate during the hottest days. It’s kept at about 40 degrees and has sliding doors at both ends to make sure the cool air doesn’t escape. It’s located next to the wine section, with a wide variety of both local and international beer. 525 N. Lamar Blvd. www.wholefoodsmarket.com.
Deep Eddy Pool
Deep Eddy is the oldest man-made pool in Texas and has become an Austin staple. It began as a swimming hole in the Colorado River and became a resort in the 1920s. There is still a bathhouse that was built during the Depression. The temperature at the shallow end of the pool, where the water is 2 feet deep, measured 71 degrees. The deep end, at 8 feet, gets a bit cooler, especially if you swim to the bottom, at 69 degrees. $3 adults, $2 ages 12-17, $1 children 1-11 and free ages 1 and younger (prices higher for non-residents). 401 Deep Eddy Ave. austintexas.gov/department/deep-eddy-pool.
Bowling alleys are known to be kept cold, no matter the season. Westgate Lanes in South Austin offers bowling every day of the week, as well as parties, kid’s birthday bashes and bowling leagues. It includes a sports bar, Lebowski’s Grill and an arcade room with various video games. The temperature in the seating area was 73 degrees, while the actually bowling lanes were a bit chillier at 70 degrees. $3.50-$4.10, $3 shoe rental. 2701 W. William Cannon Drive. www.westgatelanes.net.
Costco produce refrigerator
Every Costco member who has stepped inside its premises knows that the coldest place in Austin is its fresh produce fridge. While the thermometer in the room shows a constant 40 degrees, the Statesman’s infrared thermometer measured 28 degrees. Whether it’s one or the other, one thing is for sure: You can see your own breath in there. Costco is a membership warehouse club with hundreds of locations worldwide. Customers must acquire a membership, which ranges from $60 to $120 per year, in order to have access to its services. If you need some produce this summer, Costco will provide food and a cold shelter. 4301 W. William Cannon Drive. www.costco.com.