Tail-Wagging Heights-Area Dog Parks
Odds are that if you’re itching for some time outdoors, your pet is too. Why not bring them to a dog park? While dogs are allowed in designated areas of most Houston parks, there are a few places you can visit that are more catered to your pup’s needs. As long as your dog is well-behaved, dog parks can be a fun way to exercise your pet while getting your own heart pumping as well. The next time your pet stares at you with those big puppy eyes, consider taking them to one of these parks in and around the Heights.
T.C. Jester Dog Park
Bring your pooch for some off-leash playtime at T.C. Jester Dog Park, located at 4201 West T.C. Jester Boulevard. This fenced-in 1.08-acre dog park features specialized areas for large and small dogs as well as drinking fountains for pups of all sizes. Who knew dog fountains were a thing! The ability to separate large dogs from small ones helps park-goers feel safer with their pets, making it one of the most popular dog parks in the area. The dog runs are also size-appropriate – the dog run for large breeds is 31,000-square feet while the dog run for small pups is 16,000-square feet. There are also plenty of shaded areas and benches to sit at while your dog fetches balls, sniffs the grass, and mugs up to curious strangers. But, of course, there is only one you! T.C. Jester Dog Park has been serving the public since August 2009.
Johnny Steele Dog Park
South of the Heights in Buffalo Bayou Park, the two-acre Johnny Steele Dog Park opened at 2929 Allen Parkway in January of 2015. It was named after Houston landscape architect Johnny Steele and constructed as part of a massive $58 million renovation of Buffalo Bayou Park by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, who manages the park. The greenspace features separate areas for small and large dogs with each including a pond, shade structures, and a dog-washing station. It’s considered one of the area’s largest dog parks! Visitors may bring up to two dogs for one hour each.
Current hours of operation are 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM, and limited parking is available along the frontage of Allen Parkway.
To go on or off-leash… Whatever your preference is, it’s important to keep in mind that every park has its own set of rules.
Houston Bark Park & Daycare
Before getting into the details, it’s worth noting that this park is members-only. If you aren’t a customer of the family-owned Houston Bark Park and Daycare, you cannot use the indoor or outdoor parks. However, if you are a member, their facilities offer some pretty cool features! Enjoy key fob access, temperament testing to ensure safety, bathing stations, pools, water fountains, play equipment, and web camera access. The parks also offer some pretty unbelievable amenities for the pups including bubble cannons, cold plates, misting fans, and splash pads. At a park like this, your dog can have fun and keep cool too!
The business also offers separate services in doggy daycare, lodging, and spa-quality grooming, and all staff are trained in pet CPR and first aid to keep your furry friends safe. Find Houston Bark Park & Daycare at 4905 Maxie Street and 710 West 27th Street.
The Park for Humans and Dogs
South of Woodland Heights in Old Sixth Ward, the Park for Humans and Dogs sits nearly hidden at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Sawyer Street. If you couldn’t tell by the name, the park is designed for both humans and man’s best friend. The area is known for its active restaurant and arts scene, but the greenspace helps residents slow down and relax for a moment. Highlights include a beautiful gazebo, a gravel “squatting” area for your dog to do its business in, and water features like misters, dog fountains, and showers. It’s worth noting that the park was designed to be sensitive to the area’s rich history and arts scene; for example, the gazebo’s cupola is 100 years old! It was fully restored to perfection from a nearby Victorian home. You don’t usually get character like this at a small local greenspace.
When not in the play area, dogs are required to be leashed. Bring your pooch down any time between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Another thing to wag your tail about: Limited free parking is available nearby.
The Dog Gym
Just north of the Heights at 3410 North Shepherd Drive, the Dog Gym is the purrfect place to take your pet to burn off some energy. The indoor dog park is air-conditioned, which is a rarity for dog playgrounds throughout Houston – let alone near the Heights! Classes activate your dog’s body and mind for 45 minutes, just long enough for the average dog’s attention span to last before thinking about all the treats you’ll give them when you get home. From basic obedience classes to tricks and agility sessions, the Dog Gym offers a variety of course options so you can select what’s right for your pooch. Open gym time is also a major perk – work on what you want in a safe setting full of all the right amenities! Sound interesting? Like Houston Bark Park & Daycare, this doggie playground is members-only, but you can opt to pay per class.
West 11th Street Park / Lorraine Cherry Nature Preserve
Although all dogs must remain leashed at West 11th Street Park, it’s a fantastic place to take your dog for a little adventure. This greenspace is a 20.2-acre mini-forest. In fact, it’s the largest plot of native forest in the Inner Loop! It’s host to hundreds of species of plants, dozens of species of butterflies, and nearly 150 species of birds. With more than a mile of nature trails to explore, it’s the perfect way to immerse you and your dog in nature without committing to a long hike in the woods. A few words of warning, however: Don’t forget your bug spray!
Trot over between dawn and dusk to enjoy West 11th Street Park, which will soon be renamed the Lorraine Cherry Nature Preserve in dedication of the community leader who so tirelessly contributed to the greenspace.
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