This week in Lynchburg and across Virginia is going to be hot, hot, hot. Forecasts call for temperatures to be in the mid-upper 90s after days of temperatures around 100 degrees.
The high temperatures created a severe windstorm, known as a derecho, which swept through the eastern half of the United States, causing massive damage, downed trees and widespread power outages.
There’s a lot of devastation around the area and a state of emergency has been declared by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.
When it’s really hot, you may have to change some of your scheduled plans, especially if the power is out. As power restoration continues in our area, some families are looking for a getaway.
With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday, some families had planned to add a couple of days to their weekend to make a mini-vacation instead of staying in town.
Whether you’re off work for a single day or all week, here are 10 ways to stay cool this week. Before you visit, make sure that your destination is open. Due to power outages, some businesses still aren’t open.
It’s a lot cooler underground than outdoors. When the temperatures are near the century mark, underground caverns are great places to explore. Virginia is home to eight caverns, two within an hour’s drive.
Natural Bridge Caverns are located below Natural Bridge, about an hour from Lynchburg. The temperature in the caverns is 54 degrees, about half what it has been in Lynchburg. You will travel 34 stories below the ground to get to the caverns and will see Mirror Lake, the Colossal Dome room, and other treasures during your 45 minute tour. There are discounts for tickets purchased online so visit the website above.
Dixie Caverns are located in Salem, a little over an hour from Lynchburg. Like Natural Bridge Caverns, Dixie Caverns are located deep below the ground. These caverns were found by a dog and several farm boys in 1920. There’s also a rock and mineral shop and an antique mall on site.
Other caverns in Virginia are Luray Caverns, Shenandoah Caverns, Endless Caverns, Skyline Caverns, Grand Caverns, and Gap Caverns. Click on the link above to find out more about each of these caverns.
Go to the water
Sprayground at Riverside Park on Rivermont Avenue is a great way to stay cool when the weather’s hot. Water sprays from the ground and buckets of water drop from above your head. Kids and adults love playing in the cool water at Sprayground. Daily hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Splash Valley Water Park is located in Roanoke, about an hour from Lynchburg. Splash Valley offers two 34-foot water slides, a water playground area for the kids, a current river, and a zero entry level pool. There’s something for everyone at Splash Valley, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until mid-August.
The beach at Smith Mountain Lake State Park will keep the whole family cool. You can float on the lake, slide down the slide from the dock, or rent a canoe, kayak, paddle boat, paddle board or hydro bike. The concession stand offers popsicles and other cool treats.
Visit a museum
Amazement Square is located at 27 Ninth Street in downtown Lynchburg. The only children’s museum in Lynchburg, Amazement Square offers hands-on learning and fun. The four story tall climbing tower has a zip line that kids and adults love. The Big Red Barn area is only for the younger kids. Kids can learn more about the James River, the human body, music, science and more in ways that won’t seem like learning. Parents can join in the fun throughout the building. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
The Science Museum of Western Virginia is currently located in the upper level of Tanglewood Mall, 4412 Electric Road, in Roanoke. When construction is completed, the museum will reopen at Center in the Square in downtown Roanoke. Kids will learn a lot at this museum. Learn more about the body in the big MOUTH exhibit. The Light and Sound Arcade is loaded with hands-on science projects for kids of all ages. The whole family will learn about atoms, molecules, electrons and more in the Plasma Sphere exhibit. The Science Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is located at 303 Norfolk Avenue in Southwest Roanoke. The rail transportation exhibits cover all types of trains including trains that brought the circus to town, a replica rural train station, a hands-on O-Gauge model railroad layout and more. The road transportation exhibits include cars, trucks, buses and NASCAR. There are also air and space exhibits and more. The VMT is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
Bounce About, located in Lynchburg’s River Ridge Mall, is filled with inflatable play areas for kids ages 12 and under. There’s a special toddler area that’s off-limits to the older kids. There’s a giant two lane slide where kids can race each other, several bounce houses including a Sponge Bob house, an obstacle course and more. Bounce About is open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is located at 4059 Electric Road in Roanoke. Although currently undergoing remodeling, Chuck E. Cheese’s remains open. From kiddie rides to arcade games, there’s something for everyone here. There’s also great pizza, a salad bar, sandwiches and more if you can pull the kids away from the fun long enough to eat. Chuck E. Cheese’s is open Sunday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Thomas Road Baptist Church’s Celebrate America celebration, which was scheduled for July 1, was postponed so that TRBC could open as a cooling center after the storm. The event will be scheduled at a later date.
There will be fireworks after the Lynchburg Hillcats game on the Fourth of July. See below for other events to celebrate America.
So there you have it, 10 places you can go without getting too hot this week or anytime this summer. So pick one, pick two or pick a few and have a great week.