The Day: May 22, a gorgeous and sunny 60 degrees
The Park: Lake of the Isles Off-Leash Park in Minneapolis
The Amenities: On-street parking, garbage cans at entrance, shaded benches and picnic tables
Sidewalk Dog Editor’s Note: This six-part series celebrates some of the Twin Cities finest dog parks just in time for summer. If your favorite park didn’t make it this year, review your top spot in our directory so we can feature it in 2015.
Lake of the Isles Off-Leash Recreation Area isn’t exactly large, but you won’t find a more picturesque location anywhere. Nestled along the shore of Lake of the Isles, this little beauty of a park is a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of Uptown — and when you’re done with the park, you and your furriest friend can take a scenic walking tour of the Chain of Lakes. It’s a perfect pick for blind dogs like Bella because a) it’s small enough that she can’t get lost and 2) there are plenty of wide-open spaces for her: most of the obstacles she’ll run into are other dogs, not trees.
The entrance gate (festooned with scary signs) opens directly onto the park’s main play area, which can be scary for your buddy if someone else’s pooch is guarding the gate. Luckily enough for small dogs, there’s a separate entrance for them through the (large, fully fenced, main park-adjacent) small dog’s park next door: they can slip in through the side with no one the wiser and then make friends at their own speed.
Once inside, the park is a perfect mix of sun and shade, flat open expanses, and wooded areas — definitely something for everyone. Including the humans, who have a smorgasbord of plastic chairs and wooden benches to sit on while they watch the action. One of the best things about having a park this size is that, no matter where your chair is parked, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your pooch.
Unlike Egan Park’s collection of man-made agility obstacles, the enjoyments here at Lake of the Isles are all natural. Dirt for digging big holes into, trees to bob and weave between, and (everyone’s favorite), a fallen, hollow log through which to lose your pursuers.
Want a break from the high-energy pack running zoomies? Take a walk towards the back fence and take a right: there’s a quiet little grove back there with plenty of space for playing fetch or sniffing the foliage (Bella’s favorite). It’s a great place to take your dog for a quick cool down if he’s overheating and having a little too much fun.
So what do you need to know before going?
- Permit, rabies vaccination, and license required. (Minneapolis residents, buy your licenses through Sidewalk Dog and get free stuff: a free dog wash from Ollu Dog Wash & Grooming, free daycare at Metro Dogs Daycare & Boarding, and free snacks from Raw Bistro. So many ways to win!)
- Open from 6:00 am – 10:00 pm
(All photos credit: Sidewalk Dog)