Philadelphia Area Dog-Parks
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area is host to dozens of dog parks. There are all kinds of dog parks – some are official, some are “unofficial”, some are members-only, some are completely public, some are fenced and some are not fenced. This article reviews just a few of the dog parks in the Philadelphia region.
Roonie’s Canine Corner at Robert Lambert Park
In West Chester, nearing the border to Exton, dog owners will find Roonie’s Canine Corner at the Robert Lambert Park. (Some locals also refer to this as Greenhill Park). This dog park is enclosed in a much larger park, so it’s a great place to drop the kids off for skateboarding while you are with Fido at dog park section – the walk between the two sections is a mere two minutes. There is also a traditional children’s section in the park as well. This park has two entrances and each entrance has a double gate system to help ensure that no dog accidentally escapes. There’s a shaded area for sitting within the dog park, close to the entrance. This rectangular park is entirely fenced in, lending itself to fly ball and free-throwing of tennis balls. Along one side is a series of basic agility equipment for dogs to try working on. The park does get a lot of activity and the grass has a hard time surviving the rough use of all the dogs running on it.
Just outside of the park, but quite visible from the dog park area, is a Wawa – perfect if you need to pick up extra ater on a hot day for the dogs. Those who frequent the park often bring a gallon of water and a couple of bowls for the dogs to share. To get to the park, map your directions to the corner of Route 100 (Pottstown Pike) and Greenhill Road, West Chester, PA, 19380. The park’s entrance is on Route 100; if you are approaching on Route 100 Northbound, it will be on your right and the sign is easy to miss. On my first visit there, I spotted the Wawa, realized I had missed it, turned around and spotted the sign quite clearly when approaching on Route 100 Southbound. There was an abundance of parking.
During my visits, the other dog owners were a friendly lot, tending to cluster amongst themselves and chat, while letting the dogs be dogs on their own. If you’ve got a friendly dog that tends to get along with almost any other dog, you should be fairly comfortable here. Be aware that park does not have separate sections for dogs by size, so if you have a smaller dog that is easily intimidated, you should be watchful of your dog’s reaction here.
In Radnor, dog owners congregate at the Harford Park. This is a large, open space, mostly unfenced. It’s a good park if your dog has a rock-solid recall “Fido, Come!” command in his repertoire. During our visits here, we found that most owners tended to be more aware of their dog’s activities, so although some owner-to-owner chatting occurred, the chat groups tended to evolve as the dogs moved around with different playmates. Dogs can get muddy here, as there is a small stream hidden to one side; but on a hot day, dogs love having the ability to splash and climb up the muddy embankments. The park is not entirely level, so if you have difficulty with slopes or rough ground, this is not the park for you. Again, your dog needs to be well-socialized and with a strong recall command, because in a matter of seconds your dog can go from being at your side to being a hundred yards away.
During warm weather, there is a water fountain for both humans and dogs. Even so, many owners will bring water, because at times this park has several dozen dogs at a time. There are a few benches scattered about and waste bags are provided. This park does have a member association, but it is voluntary to join. Check on the huge bulletin board by the parking area for current information. The park is at 260 Gulf Creek Road, Radnor, PA. Because there are fields and woods in this park, be sure to check for ticks after each visit.
In Philadelphia, on the border between Center City and South Philadelphia, you’ll find Seger Park which includes Seger Dog park. This park has a well run membership (Seger Dog Park Owners Association) organization and easily accessible rules. The park is located on 11th Street between Lombard and South Streets, but to get to the dog park section, go to Rodman Street. Parking here is tough; you may need to park several blocks away in order to get a legal spot. Parking in an illegal spot near the park will get you a rather substantial ticket ($70 or more).
Once there, you’ll find that this park is entirely fenced in, similar to Greenhill Dog Park, with double gated entrances. The Dog Park matches the hours of the larger park in general and is well-lit in the evening. There is a water fountain during warm weather for dogs and owners are generally fairly friendly and attentive to their dog’s activities.
Ridley Creek Park
Back out to the suburbs, you will find Ridley Creek Park in Edgemont Township. Although this is not an off-leash dog park, it is well worthy of note. There is a paved loop of approximately 4.5 miles, heavily used by walkers, bicyclists and dogs alike. Local dog rescue groups and shelters often walk adoptable pooches here too, and midway through the loop, there is a permanent water station for dogs. Owners are reminded that dogs are to be kept on leash; sometimes owners will switch to a longer lead and let their dogs romp a bit in the creek. Away from the walking loop, visitors will find over a dozen park areas, each with their own parking area. At times, owners can be found practicing off-lead long-range commands with their dogs in the other park areas (although it is against the park rules). The park is easily accessed from West Chester Pike (Route 3) and is typically open from dawn to dusk. As with Harford Park, owners should remember to thoroughly check their dogs afterwards for ticks.
There are many other parks in the Philadelphia region worth visiting. Consider “checking out” the park without your dog first, to familiarize yourself with the layout and to know the rules and regulations for each park. Talk to owners and find out the etiquette expectations; some parks are stricter than others. Checking out each park before bringing your dog helps to ensure that your dog’s visit will be enjoyable.