1. Anniston Museum, 74-76 degrees
The museums in this area are air-conditioned to keep the exhibits in good working order. The Anniston Museum of Natural History is trying to be energy-efficient, and has “most all of our thermostats bumped up to between 74 and 76 degrees,” according to Francis Mote. As part of the museum’s 80th anniversary, patrons who turn 80 in 2010 get into the museum free (bring valid ID in case the years have been kind to you). Regular admission is $6 for adults and $5 for children. The museum is open daily. Other area museums: The Berman Museum of World History, right next door to the Anniston Museum, and the Piedmont Museum, a local history museum housed in an old train depot.
2. The movie theater, 70 to 74 degrees
At the Amstar 12 movie theater at Quintard Mall, the temperatures vary depending on the size of the theater. The larger theaters are set at around 70 degrees, while the smaller theaters are kept closer to 74 degrees. Any lower leaves moviegoers frigid. The big Fourth of July movies are The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (vampires, werewolves, you know the drill) and The Last Airbender, a live-action version of the popular Nickelodeon animated series Avatar – directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
3. Books-A-Million, 77 degrees
Browse books. Drink iced coffee. We measured the air-conditioned temperature one day last week with a hand-held mercury thermometer. 900 S. Quintard in Oxford.
4. Starbucks, 76 degrees
Surf the Web with free wi-fi. Read the newspaper. Eat madeleine cookies. Drink iced coffee. 1011 Highway 21 S., Oxford. For other restaurants offering milkshakes and free wi-fi, try Jack’s Hamburgers, Arby’s or McDonald’s.
5. McDonald’s indoor
playplace, 77 degrees
One of the few area fast-food restaurants with an indoor playplace for kids is the McDonald’s at 3424 Greenbrier Dear Road, Anniston. We took a temperature reading in the playplace last week.
6. The library, 74 degrees
Dive into a fantasy world where anyone can fly, or take a trip through history to ancient Egypt where the only forms of air conditioning were fans and swimming in the Nile.
Most public libraries also offer computers and Internet access. We measured the temperature at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, downtown branch.
7. Lowe’s, 74 degrees
8. Best Buy, 78 degrees
Money burning a hole in your pocket? Better cool off with some shopping.
9. Anniston Bowling Center,
You can play a sport without working up a sweat. 321 E. Blue Mountain Road.
10. A cave, 60 degrees
DeSoto Caverns in Childersburg is the largest cave in this area, about an hour’s drive from Anniston. The company boasts that the caverns stay at a constant temperature of 60 degrees (but admit that, due to humidity, it can sometimes feel as high as 70 degrees). A cavern tour is $18.99 for adults and $16.99 for children. The park, which offers lots of outdoor attractions as well, is open daily.