Saturday, May 27, 2017

Frolic Under the Oaks: New Orleans City Bark

Continuing with our spotlight on New Orleans' dog parks, this month we're taking you on a visit to Nola's largest dedicated, off-leash, canine space, City Bark.

Modern dog culture is steadily transforming the way people live with their animals, and New Orleans is no exception. Over the last decade, the city has seen a significant rise in dog accessible venues, and when it comes to dog parks, City Bark is top notch.

Prior to hurricane Katrina, there were a number of unofficial spaces that people were using to exercise their animals off-leash, but only a few of these were actually fenced in, and many lacked any type of significant amenities. In addition, the use of these unofficial spaces was often a source of tension for surrounding neighborhoods.

Seven years after the storm, city officials made a commitment to create several new dog parks and runs throughout the area. That plan was scaled back to half, however, and only a fraction have actually been realized, the first being the Wisner Dog Run uptown on Laurel Street, which we featured on the blog in November of 2015, and the second being The Crescent Dog Run in Bywater/Marigny, which we told you about this past summer.

Fast forward to 2017, and the city now boasts four sanctioned off-leash dog parks (with number four being Little Paws downtown, which we posted about on the blog this past November), with hopefully a few more on the way.

New Orleans is a gorgeous city with plenty of green spaces, and as parks go, City Park - the home of City Bark - is as lush as they come. Sitting on a 4.6 acre plot of land just off Zachary Taylor Drive on the Marconi side of the park, City Bark first opened it's gates in 2010. Since then, it's been voted the favorite dog park in the city (though to be fair, there isn't much competition), and upon visiting it's easy to see why.

Unlike the city's three other existing dog parks/runs, however, entrance to City Bark requires a keycard. This security measure limits who can enter the park at any given time, as in order to obtain a card, you must first purchase an annual permit from the office in order to use the facility, and in order to obtain a permit, your dog(s) must be properly vaccinated as well as spayed/neutered.

While the permits are good for a full year, keep in mind that it's a fiscal year with a calendar end date of March 1. If you'd like to check out City Bark with your fur baby and are not sure you want to spend the $48 on the permit  ($53 for two or three dogs), you can get a temporary two-week pass for $15.

Hours for permit registration and pick up are 8 am through 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday. The office is located at 1 Palm Drive in the City Park administration building, which is just across the 610 expressway from the dog park (near Tad Gormley Stadium).

Signage stating dog park rules is clearly posted on both the front and side gates, as well as park etiquette and operating hours. It's a good idea to read City Bark's Safety Information page before visiting the park for the first time, as it has some great tips such as the best way to enter the park and what to do if other dogs are near the entry gates. It might also be prudent to have the dog park coordinator's telephone number handy (504-483-9377) in case of an incident.

Once inside the gate, you'll notice there is ample shade in the park for when you and your BFF find yourselves needing to take a break from the sun via the many trees and the large shade pavilions. There are also wading pools and a hydrant fountain for cooling off.

The very spacious park has plenty of grass with room for dogs to romp, roam, and run, including graded areas which allow for running uphill. All dogs inside the fence are expected to be off-leash so you'll want to teach your dog appropriate ways of interacting with other canines.

City Bark has a separate fenced in area about the size of a dog run specifically for small dogs under 25 lbs. The entrance to the smaller section is on the Diagonal Drive side of the park.

Amenities offered by the park include restrooms, benches, fountains, an agility course, a quarter mile paved walking path, wading pools, a washing off area, and of course, poop bags.

City Bark is open daily from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm year-round, however the park is closed weekly on Tuesday mornings until 1 pm for regular maintenance. The park's Facebook page is updated regularly with information about happenings and accessibility.

Important City Bark Safety Rules:

-- Smoking is NOT allowed
-- No children under the age of 8 years old.
-- Food and drinks are NOT allowed in the park.
-- Minimal cell phone use only.
-- Full attention must be paid to dogs at ALL times.
-- Only three dogs per household allowed at one time.

For the full list of park rules see: 

To stay abreast of updates on the park visit:

Please note: If you are visiting City Bark from out of town you MUST have a visitor pass to enter the dog park. Information on obtaining a temporary permit can be found here:

Useful Links:

For more info on dog parks, socializing, and other dog culture topics, be sure to see our Pinterest board, Doggie Domain.

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