LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas heat has yet to let up, leading to heat advisories and warnings.
Those temperatures are causing places like the Little Rock Zoo to adjust their hours starting next month to keep animals and those who work there safe.
The Little Rock Zoo will be changing their hours of operation to open earlier in the day and close early afternoon in August due to the heat.
Around 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon it was 97 degrees with a feels like temperature of around 108.
“It’s really hot,” Paisley Reed, a young girl at the zoo said.
In the thick of Arkansas summers, you can see those temperatures reach well over 100 degrees, often bringing with it extreme heat advisories and warnings.
“Sweat here, sweat there, sweat everywhere,” Mariah Reed said.
With those high temperatures, the exhibits at the zoo are left looking empty, as all of the animals make their way to the shade.
“The sun around two or three pm in the afternoon, it gets really hot, you know that heat index and being in that direct sunlight can really affect humans and animals,” Director of the Little Rock Zoo, Susan Altrui stated.
“It’s fun seeing the animals, but to not see all of them out here, it’s kind of sad because it’s hot,” Reed said.
Mariah Reed brought her family to the zoo Thursday, and as they admired the monkeys, elephants, and exotic birds, they also noticed the waterspouts and the various pools for the animals to stay cool.
Although the Little Rock Zoo doesn’t monkey around when it comes to keeping everyone safe in the blazing sun.
“This is to protect our staff, it’s to protect our guests, our volunteers really just to protect everyone from this really extreme heat,” Altrui said.
“I think it will be better to change the hours, it would make more sense, just for it to be comfortable for the animals and us to be here earlier during the day and we would be able to get the full experience of the zoo,” Reed said.
The zoo will be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. beginning Aug. 1 through Aug. 30.