Zoo Atlanta closing early because of extreme heat

Devon M. Sayers, CNNPublished 22nd June 2022
Sibling pandas Xi Lun and Ya Lun at Zoo Atlanta.
(CNN) — High heat indexes are forcing one of Atlanta's major attractions to make adjustments to its schedule.
Zoo Atlanta closed early on Wednesday and will close early again on Thursday because of extremely high heat indexes, the zoo announced on its website.
The grounds close at 2:30 p.m. The zoo normally closes at 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Temperatures in Atlanta on Wednesday were expected to reach a high of 99 degrees Fahrenheit (about 37 degrees Celsius) with a heat index of 100, according to CNN Weather's Taylor Ward.
The zoo houses a variety of species, including endangered animals, and is one of the few zoos in the nation to have giant pandas.
All of the animals have temperature guidelines with various accommodations available to them when temperatures rise, Rachel Davis, the zoo's director of communications, told CNN.
Some of the animals have access to climate-controlled indoor areas, while others have access to shade and water features, according to Davis. Some animals, including the gorillas, get to enjoy frozen fruit juice treats.
The Animal Care Teams at the zoo "monitor and check in on all animal habitats at multiple times throughout the day," said Davis. "Animal care and well-being are a daily number one priority regardless of the presence of visitors or of the zoo's hours of operation."
People in the area can find relief at the cooling centers opened by the city of Atlanta and Dekalb County.