Monday, February 4, 2013

Dog Park Reviews: Zilker Park

This past Saturday was my mother-in-law's funeral. I've been posting a bit less than I would otherwise.

My parents and my four younger siblings all came up from Victoria to attend the funeral, and of course, Apple had to spend a lot of time at home alone on Saturday. So, between the service and the family dinner that night, I thought it would be fun to take Apple and my three youngest siblings to Auditorium Shores. Am I right?

Wrong! It was so crowded people were illegally parked underneath the bridge and in the grass. There wasn't even room for me to park illegally if I wanted to! So, since we were short on time, I decided that instead of turning around and going to Onion Creek, we would go try out Zilker.

I have attempted to take Apple to play at Zilker park a few times, and only one of them was moderately successful. Every time we go, there have been people playing soccer on the Great Lawn (one of the areas designated for leash-free play) and no dogs in sight. The only time we actually played there was when the Great Lawn was being set up for ACL (Austin City Limits Music Festival) and we played with another dog in the grass across the street.

I hoped that on a Saturday, there would be plenty of dogs out, and that we wouldn't have to worry about the pick-up games. When we arrived, there was so much traffic that it was incredibly difficult to park, and I actually drove into a ditch that I couldn't see in front of me trying to park on this make-shift parking lot. There were plenty of dogs, but there were even more people, and it was completely insane.

This was taken during ACL, but this is pretty much how crowded it was!

 Taking your dog to play on the Great Lawn at Zilker is like taking your child to play in a playscape at a bar on a Saturday night. Children might be allowed (in my hypothetical bar) but the bar is certainly not meant to be enjoyed by children. Almost all of the dogs here were just lying on blankets with their owners, not playing, while frisbee golf, volleyball, and flag football games were scattered around everywhere. People are having picnics on the ground that will attract your dog! If your dog is not incredibly obedient, they could easily get lost or hurt. Apple listened to me really well, so we didn't have any problems, but the whole experience was not fun and just felt dangerous.

We left after about 20-30 minutes and it took us about that much time, if not more, just to get home because of the traffic. We could not find a trash can so we had to take a poop bag home in the car. I can't believe I didn't lose track of my dog or one of my siblings because the entire environment was just....frenetic. That is the best way I can explain it. 

Zilker is a great park. But I wouldn't recommend taking your dog there! (Unless he is old and only wants to sit on a blanket and not steal your food while you have a picnic.)

1 out of 5 Paws...only because I actually had fun that one time before ACL
There might be great area in the park that I just haven't discovered yet. Forgive my oversight if such is the case.

1 comment:

  1. The Austin City Council is currently talking about building a dog park in my neighborhood (SE Austin) in Mabel Davis Park. As one of Austin's dog park users who travels to different parks if you've got a second to send in a note of support for it that would be fantastic.

    You can send an email here:

    Here's the supporter Facebook page:

    It's in a really lovely park that's full of wildflower and a series of streams.