After being cooped up all winter, the kids (furry and human) all need to get outside and stretch their legs. So why go to the park and leave their best buddy behind? Let your four-legged family members join in the fun and head outside to one of Des Moines’ off-leash dog parks that are kid and dog friendly.
Know Before You Go
- Observe park hours. Most dog parks are open year round and are open to the public sunrise to sunset, but be sure to know the hours of the specific park you will be visiting.
- Check if restrooms are available. Many dog parks are located in larger parks and have restrooms available. However, some do not or they may be closed for the winter.
- Dogs visiting a dog park should be spayed or neutered.
- You’ll want to make sure your dog’s immunizations are up to date and that they are licensed.
- Make sure your pooch has dog tags or some other form of identification.
- Read and follow the rules of the dog park.
- Be prepared to pick up poop. Some dog parks provide bags to pick up waste, but not all do.
- Bring refreshments for both your human and furry kids. You’ll want to bring along fresh water and a few treats or snacks.
- While at the Dog Park, keep a close eye on your kids, especially tots.
- Teach your kids to always ask the dog’s human if it’s ok to pet their dog and make sure they also know and obey all dog park rules.
Dog Parks in Des Moines
851 17th Avenue SW • Altoona, IA 50009 • (515) 967-5136
The 17th Avenue Dog Park is FREE and open and available to all users. The fenced, off-leash park is located just west of the Altoona Campus on the trail. It has a turf base, trees, benches, boulders, a dog waste station, and a fire hydrant. A water fountain for dogs and their owners is located at the entrance. The park is approximately 1-acre, of which nine-tenths of an acre is recommended for larger dogs. The remaining tenth of an acre is separately fenced and is recommended for smaller and senior dogs only.
SW Ankeny Road • Ankeny, IA 50023 • (515) 963-3570
The Ankeny Dog Park is a beautiful 7.5 acre park that allows dogs of all sizes to run freely in an entirely fenced in area. The Dog Park features a half acre pond, separate small and large dog areas, and open green space for dogs to run. A Dog Park Pass is required to visit this park. Day passes are $5 and an Annual pass is $25 for residents or $35 for non-residents. Dog Park Passes can be purchased at City Hall, Parks & Recreation and both Ankeny Hy-Vee locations. Please note that children under 10 are NOT allowed in the Ankeny Dog Park.
4660 Indianola Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50320 • (515) 237-1364
Ewing Dog Park has 8.5 acres of fenced area for all dogs and one acre of fenced area set aside for dogs that weigh 20 pounds or less. There’s lots of sloped terrain with mature trees and mix of tall and short grass and is a lovely place to take the whole fam. The park also includes a shaded open air shelter for taking a quick break. The City of Des Moines has an annual dog park permit fee that is $20.00. Dog park permits are valid January 1 – December 31 of each year. Permits are sold at the City Clerk’s office in Des Moines City Hall located at 400 Robert D Ray Drive, Des Moines, IA 50309; Monday – Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm.
1710 S K Street • Indianola, IA 50125 • (515) 961-9420
The Indianola Dog Park provides space where dogs can exercise and socialize with other dogs. It offers a great opportunity for dogs to run, play and interact with other dogs…to just be dogs! Dog owners can socialize with other dog lovers as well. The park has agility equipment, bag dispensers, benches, picnic tables and porta potties. Annual membership fees for the Indianola Dog Park are $25 per dog, and expire one year after purchase date. Memberships may be purchased through Indianola Parks and Recreation.
2500 Grand Avenue • West Des Moines, IA 50265 • (515) 222-3444
Need a place to let your dog run off some excess energy? Dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoy romping through the 10 acre fenced play area of the Raccoon River Park Dog Park. It’s also a great place to meet other dog lovers and enjoy each other’s pets. The facility features areas for both large and small dogs and is located just to the east of the softball complex. Users are required to purchase a Dog Park Permit ($20 resident/$40 non-resident) to utilize the facility. Permits are available at the Parks & Recreation Administrative Office or the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge.
1111 Illinois Street • Des Moines, IA 50320 • (515) 237-1364
Pooches give Riverwalk Park 4 paws up – and kids agree! Dogs and their humans have four acres of freedom near the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to explore and play fetch. The Dog Park has easy access to the nearby Riverwalk and trails and there are picnic tables provided to enjoy a snack or do a little squirrel watching. Porta potties are available for human kids and a dog waste station is provided for the furry ones. A Dog Permit ($20) is required to access City of Des Moines Dog Parks.
6900 School Street • Windsor Heights, IA 50324 • (515) 279-3662
Windsor Heights Dog Park is located just south of Colby Park (you can see it just off of 1-235) and is a great destination for furry and non-furry family members. For the best access park at Colby Park, and walk the trail to the Dog Park. There’s a kids’ play area right by the parking lot (but we’d recommend letting the pooches play first:). There are two sections of the dog park, one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs. There are agility obstacles and a few picnic tables available. During summer and early fall the Windsor Heights Dog Park hosts Yappy Hour. Be on the lookout for 2017 dates.
Do you have a favorite dog park in Des Moines? Let us know!