The Best Doggone Park in Kansas City

by on January 11th, 2011
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When someone says ‘dog park’ you might think of a fenced-in area where you can let your dog off-leash and play fetch. If this is what you think a dog park is, then you have no idea what you are in for. There is a park in Kansas City where you can throw your frisbee or ball as far as you want and not worry about having to go fetch it yourself when if flies over the fence. The best park in Kansas City for your dog is at Shawnee Mission Park.

The first dog park I ever went to was the dog park at Shawnee Mission Park and now I laugh at how pathetic other dog parks are. Shawnee Mission Park is a bit of a drive from downtown Kansas City. It is located at 79th Street and Renner Road in Shawnee, Kansas. So it always took us 20 minutes to get there, but it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere in Kansas City. Now, from this point on, I’m going to take you through our usual trip. My wife and I loved to load up our two lab mixes, Jack and Chloe, on Saturday morning. We would stop and get a coffee on the way.

Shawnee Mission Park is huge, so once you get to Shawnee Mission Park, you will need to keep driving until you get to the dog off-leash area. There is paved road all the way to the dog area and there is adequate parking when you get there, but it can get full during the on nice days. Also, you have to watch out for all the dogs and kids! For the humans, there is a Johnny-on-the-spot in the parking area and as I recall that is the only one so you better take care of your business before you embark (get it? bark?) into the park.

There is a wood-chip path that leads into the 53 acre off leash area. The path is fairly long so I would advise you to wear some comfortable footwear. Once you get into the park the dogs can just take off an run. Jack and Chloe would run up ahead as we walked. When they thought they were too far away, they would run back. There was always plenty of open space to throw Chloe’s frisbee as far as I wanted without having to worry about hitting anyone. I couldn’t tell you for sure how long the wood chip path is but it probably took us 10 minutes or so to walk to the end.

Once we got to the end of the wood chip path, you can hear the craziness. The wood chips turn into side walk and you walk down a hill to the lake. On a nice day, there could be 20 or more dogs there running like crazy with their owners sitting on the giant limestone block retaining wall. Don’t get too comfortable because you never know when a big, soaking, yellow lab mutt is going to shake off behind you and get you wet. This is where the madness happens. There is always a dog for Chloe to compete with to see who can swim the furthest out to retrieve the toy. There are always other dogs to play with and mostly the dogs just take turns chasing each other around. Sometimes you might even see a person who is a little too attached to their dog in the water as well. We would just let Jack and Chloe run themselves silly before we finally tossed Chloe’s frisbee one last time and made the trip back to the truck.

So if you’ve got a dog and a nice Saturday morning, head out to Shawnee Mission Dog Park. Bring a toy that floats, but one that you don’t mind losing if your dog can’t concentrate with all the other dogs around (but there is usually another dog like Chloe that might go get it for you). Also, you might bring a towel to dry your dog off before you let them back in the car. Your dog might sleep for the rest of the day!

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