Canine Play Date: A Guide to Missouri’s Best Dog Parks

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Socialization is a very important part of a puppy’s life. Playtime not only introduces the dog to other dogs—making him or her familiar to sights, sounds and smells—but it also provides important exercise and off-leash freedom.


Many pet owners love to bring their fur babies, but are afraid of attacks, disease and other unknown dog park factors. However, many of Missouri’s dog parks are at the top of their game and have exclusive memberships with certain benefits and requirements. The following are some great barkalicious parks that will leave your best friend woofing for more.


Cruse Dog Park

If you’re in the Springfield, Mo. area, try Cruse Dog Park. It’s Springfield’s first off-leash park complete with water fountains and a $25 registration fee. Vaccination records are required, and there are some fun events attached to the park, such as a Dog Swim on Sept. 3 and Dogfest on Sept. 28. For more information on the park and its events, visit their website.


Frenchtown Dog Park

Frenchtown Dog Park is Downtown St. Louis’ premier dog park, and is one of the largest enclosed green spaces in the city. Fencing, water and waste stations are being added this year, also increasing the size of the park from ¾ of an acre to 1.5 acres. With membership fees by suggested donation only and vaccination records suggested by mail, the dog park is one of the easiest to join in the state. For more information, visit their website.


Twin Lakes Recreational Area Dog Park

Have a swimmer in the family? Twin Lakes Recreational Area Dog Park provides lake access for doggy swimming (summer months only—the park moves away from the lake in the winter). This fenced area in Columbia, Mo. is a beautiful outdoor paradise for your pooch. For directions, visit the park’s website.


Gregory O. Grounds Dog Park

Don’t want a dirty pup riding in your truck? The Dog Park at Gregory O. Grounds Park, which opened in 2007, includes a dog wash area at the park’s exit. There is a separate area for smaller dogs so the little guys can have their own area of fun. The 2.7 acre park is located in Blue Springs, Mo., and is complete with a small pond, open space and a water fountain. For more information, visit their website. 


Parr Hill Dog Park

New in 2013 is Parr Hill Dog Park, located in Joplin, Mo. The reopening of the park marks this pawesome new amenity. Members can enjoy exclusive tags for their dog’s collar, drinking fountains, shade structures and a small dog play area. For more information, visit their website.


Pepper Dog Park

Perhaps the park with the truest sense of “Man’s Best Friend” is the Pepper Dog Park in Hollister, Mo. Pepper’s owner, Parks Director Chad Fuqua, was killed by a drunk driver in 2008. The park is named after his beloved dog Pepper and includes dog-run space within Tiger Park. Opened in 2011, the free park has a small-dog area and drinking water. For more information, visit their website.

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