Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If Dogs Could Tweet, We'd All Know Where to Find the Best Dog Parks

Sparky awaits his entrance to Walnut Creek - Shramm Park
Sparky the boxer-doodle turned four this summer -- 28 years' old in dog years. It was time I let him off leash.

He didn't want me to have to drive all the way to Hefflinger Dog Park in Omaha, but wanted to celebrate by finding a park nearby where he could run, play, and maybe make a new canine pal. Sparky doesn't have Facebook so the whole friend thing requires I provide him face-to-face sniff time.

We set out on an unusually hot day, having searched online for DOG PARKS in Plattsmouth, then Cass county, then Sarpy county, finding nearly nothing to satisfy his pent-up desire for a birthday romp in tall grass. After about 30 minutes online, we found a three parks near the Bellevue, Papillion and LaPlatte areas off 370. Sparky asked me to share what we found with the other Cass County dogs on my blog, since he doesn't have his own Twitter account either.

Bellevue, LaPlatte, NE / Capehart Off-Leash Dog Park
Sparky had a good run at Capehart and 23rd in Bellevue
This expansive, fenced, well-maintained field has fresh water, a large shade tree, a long hill and a bench. It's double-gated entry provides safety for dogs coming into and out of the park. Shrubs around two sides provide privacy and lots of interesting areas to hide. However, this park in plain sight was the most difficult to find based on directions. It's right off 370 and I-75, on Capehart, near 25th street, but very poorly marked. Look for what appears to be abandoned basketball hoops and tennis courts near the military housing and way at the back you'll find the park entrance. Sparky liked this park, but it wasn't his favorite. Additional photos, map and directions can be found here.

Bellevue, NE / Jewell Off-Leash Dog Park
It's clean, it's nice. But it's not interesting enough to hang out.
This dog park is near the trail head of the Jewell Trail in Bellevue, NE.  Separate fenced areas are available for dogs under 30 pounds, and larger dogs. No one is on site to enforce the distinction, so use your best judgement based on your dogs' temperament. The two fields appear to be nothing but well-mowed lawns. There are no trees, no landmarks, no benches, and only one table inside the fenced area. However the surrounding park and trails make this worth a day trip if you also want to bring along a leash. This was Sparky's least favorite park, but it may be he was picking up on my frustration at finding no shady place to sit and watch him play. Additional photos, a map and directions can be found here.

Omaha, Papillion, NE / Walnut Creek - Schramm Off-Leash Dog Park

Due to a mix of short and tall grasses, dry prairie, waterfront, mixed width paths, and three seating areas, the off-leash park at Walnut Creek was Sparky's and my favorite. Trash bags are provided to tote out any leave-behinds, parking is close and shaded, and this park provides multi-season interest. It felt like the largest of the three parks we visited.  We've been back several times, finding mid-week peaceful with rarely another dog in sight. Sparky loves the long runs, tall grasses, sounds of crickets and plant diversity with trees, shrubs, shade, water and several interesting pathways. Additional photos, a map and directions can be found here.

Sparky's fourth birthday was a hit.

He's hoping other dogs will benefit from what he learned while off leash.

He'd share adventures on his own blog, but he's barely learned how to sit, and typing is out of the question.

1 comment:

Bridget Jansen said...

Pretty soon he can visit the Hanscom Bark Park in Hanscom Park on 32nd & Martha- Planned Opening Fall 2011-
Register and support the Omaha Dog Parks- come to the Wine & Beer Tasting Event Sat Aug 27th @ Urban Wine $20/ $30 Day of, 6 Tastings, Commemorative glass, Appetizers, Music – http://www.omahadogpark.org/WagNWine/2011WagNWine/2011WagRSVP.html