My picks for the best dog parks

Photo by Lisa Lightner The Lightner dogs, Pixie and Mango, running through the WG dog park.

For the past few weeks, Iíve been sharing with you what some of my favorite parks are for certain activities. Iíve published a list of my favorite parks for kids and for fishing Ö this week itís the dogs! Many municipalities have added dog parks in recent years and they can be lots of fun. We have two dogs and my kids enjoy taking them to the dog parks. My one annoyance is that quite often when we go to dog parks, my dogs just stand there and donít do anything. Mind you, if we are in my small kitchen, they want to play-wrestle and chew on each otherís heads and chase each other around. So then I take them to a big, wide-open space so that they can do that ó and they stand there and look at me.

We have visited many of the local dog parks. Overall, my one complaint for all of them would be that they usually do not have much shade. I have big, black dogs that prefer the cooler weather and they do not like the heat. Then again, if there were a shaded area, they probably would just stand there and definitely not play or run around. I also wish that more of them had a water source. That would mean one less thing for me to bring. Here is my list Ö again assuming that travel distance is of no concern.

If distance was no concern at all, definitely my No. 1 pick is the dog area at Lums Pond State Park in Bear, Delaware. Except on nice weather weekends, it is not usually crowded. I have always run into nice dog owners with well-behaved dogs. It is far from the roads so it is safe. My main concern here is checking everyone for ticks when we leave. Depending on where you are in southern Chester county, it can be a 30-45 minute drive, but you can pack a lunch or snacks and have a really fun outing.

The dog park behind the Pennsbury Township building is my next favorite. One thing to note though - it is a decent walk from the parking lot back to the dog area and itís through grass and fields. It is not stroller friendly. I just wish I had known this the first time I went as I had both boys and both dogs with me and really had my hands full. Now that I know, I use it to get my boys to exercise too. But this area is far off of Route 1 for safety and noise reasons and I like the set up.

y next pick would be Goddard Park in West Grove. We visit this one most often because it is closest to us. I have a love/hate relationship with the kidsí portion of the playground and the dog portion being there together. When we are at the dog park, my kids ask to go to the playground and dogs are not permitted there. So even with a very thorough explanation before we leave the house as to whether itís the kidsí turn or the dogsí turn to play today, it happens again when we get there. Itís a really nice group that goes there too. Which brings me toÖ

do not recommend Carousel down on Route 7. I know many people who love going there with their dogs. I am not one of them. I have on several occasions run into careless dog owners who let their dog display poor manners. I do not care to let my dogs run off-leash there because while the area is far from the road, it is not fenced. My dogs often want to drink from the pond and there are geese in the pond so I donít want my dogs getting sick. There are also goose and horse feces (itís also a horse park) in the area and for some reasons many dogs think this is a tasty treat. And my kids have stepped in it before which also is not much fun. So between unruly dogs and keeping my dogs from eating feces, I just donít go to this park anymore. Itís too much work for it to be enjoyable for us.

Do you agree with my choices? I can be emailed at LisaLightner@yahoo.com.

Outdoor enthusiast Lisa Lightner lives in Avondale.