When you have a furry family member their health, happiness, and quality of life are a top priority. Studies have shown that when people are researching a new place to live quality dog parks only come second behind an outstanding school system. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that fact because often we treat our pets like one of the family!
In recent years the demand for pet-friendly public spaces has exploded and we're seeing the effects right here in West Michigan. A recent trend among Millennials is dog park-bar/restaurant hybrids just like The Pack located in Comstock Park, Michigan's first indoor off-leash dog park and bar.
Many communities in Southwest Michigan have developed beautiful, clean, and spacious environments for friendly canines to gather and play, and Battle Creek is among them! If you're looking to enjoy the outdoors with your pup near Cereal City, here's where to do it:
Home Run Dog Park
Created by the "Friends of Calhoun County Dog Parks", the community-led project located inside Bailey Park opened in 2019. The off-leash dog park is free to use, but all dogs are required to be licensed through the City of Battle Creek or Calhoun County before entering which helps to ensure all participants are up to date on their rabies vaccination. Dog licenses range from $5-$20 annually and can be found here. The dog park is open year-round, including holidays, from 7:00 a.m. to sunset daily. All sizes and breeds of dogs older than 4 months old are welcome to enjoy the park-- there's even a separate area for small breed dogs! If you forget your doggy bags, no problem! Dog waste bags are provided at the park to help encourage owners to do their part in keeping the park clean.
Curtis Whitaker Bark Park
A program of the Humane Society of South Central Michigan, this dog park is free and open to the public, but you must submit an application annually. Highlights of this park include a large fenced-in area where dogs can play and run off-leash, walking trails to enjoy with your pup while on a leash, and there's even a bone-shaped pool that your canine can enjoy in the summer! The trail system is open daily from dawn to dusk, but the fenced-in portion of the park closes daily to allow humane society volunteers to walk current shelter dogs. Check out the hours and learn more about the application process here.
Honorable Mention: Riverside Park
Located adjacent to Riverside Elementary School, Riverside Park sits on 40 acres its walking trails connect to the school's trails for even more room to roam. There is a 1.6-mile trail that loops around both properties and the hard surface walking path makes it easily accessible for dogs of all ages--a perfect spot to explore with your pup!