St. Louis is becoming friendlier toward its four-legged residents every year, with an increasing number of dedicated dog parks and other great opportunities for you and your best fur-friend to hang out. Here is a current list of the city’s best places to take your fuzzy little buddy for a Saturday afternoon romp. You’ll be surprised at the range of play date venues St. Louis has to offer.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
12580 Rott Road
St. Louis, MO 63127
(314) 615-5278
www.laumeiersculpturepark.org

Your leashed dog is welcome at Laumeier, where you and she will both enjoy the wide open spaces, wooded trails and massive sculpture installations. Along the wooded trails, you’ll find art exhibits designed especially for your dog’s unique sensory experience. Sculptures tantalize your dog with their smells. A place to clip your leash to a free lead lets your dog explore fallen logs at her own pace. A streambed invites your dog to splash while you handle the leash from a U-shaped bridge. And a “karaoke booth” stimulates her to sing along with recorded barking and howling tracks. This is a very special doggie play date for art lovers and their four-legged pals.

Frenchtown Dog Park
Interstate 44
St. Louis, MO 63104
(314) 283-8513
frenchtowndogpark.com

Soulard is one of St. Louis’s favorite neighborhoods; why not enjoy it with your dog-date? Frenchtown Dog Park has separate areas for large and small dogs and offers a splash pool to cool off on hot days and tennis balls in case your pup gets bored. A recent land acquisition is allowing Frenchtown to expand into one of the largest dog parks in the city, and a full roster of events makes it a great dog owner’s community as well. Membership requires proof of vaccination and a $60 per year membership fee. 

Southwest City Dog Park
Willmore Park
Hampton and Jamieson Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63110
www.swcitydogpark.org

If you’re looking for an option deeper in the south side, you’ll love this busy 1.5 acre park. It offers a large romping ground with a little agility course, wading pools, water stations and toys. If your dog is nervous, shy, small or recovering from an illness, you’ll appreciate the second, quieter play area just for these vulnerable doggies. Membership is $42 for the first dog and $10 per additional dog if you’re a city resident; non-residents pay $10 more. Members of the Southampton Neighborhood Association enjoy a $10 discount.

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Treecourt Dog Adventure Park
2499 Marshall Road
St. Louis, MO 63122
(314) 960-4741
www.treecourtunleasheddogadventureparks.com

Further west, you’ll find a terrific option for larger and more active dogs who need generous amounts of exercise and ample socialization opportunities. Treecourt Adventure Park is meant to offer the “running with a pack” experience that these dogs appreciate. The park’s Kirkwood location offers lush views of Simpson Lake. All dogs have to provide proof of vaccinations and take part in a temperament test (no charge) to be allowed to join the community. Membership is priced at $30 per month.

Forest Park
5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis, MO 63112
(314) 367-7275
www.stlouis-mo.gov

It’s not a dog park, but leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy the trails and outdoor attractions at Forest Park with their owners, and there is no better place to spend the day in the STL. Did you know that Forest Park is larger than Central Park in New York City? If your dog loves to people-watch and be in the middle of things, bring him out to see all the rollerbladers and tennis players, jog the trails with you and sit on a sun-soaked hillside watching urban life go by.

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Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Visit her blog at http://www.thesoulofajourney.com.