Who's a good dog? Your dog? Well, it's time to reward him, then! While you're away, your dog is sitting at home, waiting, wondering if every sound or flash of lights against the front window is you getting home. You're his entire life. He loves you unconditionally. He doesn't tell your secrets to anyone. Well, that's mostly because he can't speak, but if he could speak, he would say you owe him a trip to the dog park for his unquestioned loyalty.
Yes, a dog park. Not a regular-old park. A dog park. Ever hear of a cat park? No! You know why? Because dogs earned this. Now give them what is owed to them. You have thumbs and GPS; otherwise, they would do it themselves.
Here are the best dog parks in Broward County. Your dog can't read, so this is on you.
10. Happy Tails Dog Park at Seminole Park
6500 SW 16th St., Plantation
Happy Tails' features include three activity areas: a leash-free run section, a wide-open fun area for bigger dogs, and an exercise area. Don't worry if your dog is more of a lightweight than heavyweight; there is an area for smaller dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less. The park is open 7 a.m. until dusk every day except
Dr. Paul's Dog Park's puppy perks include agility equipment, an open field for a leash-free frolic, and water stations so your best friends can quench their thirst without having to go through the whole playing-charades-with-their-eyes-and-tail deal with you. There's a small-dog area to keep the little guys from getting trampled by the big guys. And human bathrooms are close by for when nature calls. This is also one of the only dog parks for night owls, with hours from dawn to 9:30 p.m. — and plenty of lights.
8. Precious Paws Dog Park at Patrick J. Meli Park (City of Dania Beach)
2901 SW 52nd St., Dania Beach
Precious Paws is a spacious 1.1-acre dog park that features separate fenced-in areas — one for large dogs and the other for small dogs, both unleashed-approved. This particular park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, excluding holidays. This is one of those parks where to get the goods, you're going to have to show your dog's vaccinations in advance. The park offers a good value with its $25-a-year price for city residents.
7. Dog Park at Poinciana Park
1301 S. 21st Ave., Hollywood
This particular dog park is set up great for privacy and includes ample shade. Rather than nonstop fun, this is the park where you take your pooch to get a little relaxation while you read a book on a bench. It's fenced, so no worries about traffic nearby, and the residents are known to mingle here, making it a sort of a meeting place in the neighborhood. Admission is free. Park hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
6. Windmill Dog Park
700 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek
The Dog Park at Windmill Park features three fully enclosed spacious areas for dogs to enjoy
5. Quiet Waters Park
401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach
OK, this isn't technically a dog park, but it is a very dog-friendly park. While you do need to keep Rex on a six-foot leash, you can also take him camping,
4. Tradewinds Park and Stables
3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek
Also, not technically a dog park, and the purists are getting
3. Oakland Bark Park
971 NW 38th St., Oakland Park
Oakland Bark Park is quiet, which might be the best thing one can say about a dog park. You won't find doggy slip-n-slides or crazy-automated dog water fountains here, just a good, free, spacious, shaded, fenced park for your dog and you to get some outdoors time together while he runs free. There are obstacle-course-like structures set up around the park for your dog to run through and around and plenty of places to tire your dog out. Everything you need is here, and it even has a wash area for your dog (and you too, I guess) to use after you're done playing. Just remember to bring a towel, for the sake of your car seats.
An annual fee of $25 gets your dog the unlimited-Disney-rides pass at the beautifully Bermuda-sodded Barkham Park. This park requires documentation of current vaccinations, which might seem like a pain at first but later on will make you feel much safer than you would feel at some sketchy random park. Markham is a space designed to let your dog enjoy leash-free runs, spanning three acres of fenced-in field. Areas for large and small dogs are available.
1. Dog Beach at Hollywood Beach
Between Pershing Street and Custer Street in Hollywood Beach
The draw here is obviously the beach; there is no getting around that. This is one of the few places in South Florida where Spike can dig his toes into the sand and frolic in the ocean. Unlike some other dog parks that charge fees, Dog Beach actually has the capability to take credit cards on an iPad, which is awesome, because you probably just used all your dollar bills and loose change on the metered parking across the street. You can purchase a daily or a six-month pass. Day rates are $5 per dog for Hollywood residents or $10 per dog for nonresidents. A six-month pass is $30 per dog for residents or $60 per dog for nonresidents. The Dog Beach is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, though during daylight-saving time, the hours are adjusted to 4 to 8 p.m. Hands-down during New Times' intense dog-park research, we found that five out of six dogs looked happier at this particular park. The owners did too, because it's the beach!
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