Normal is known as the home of the main campus of Illinois State University, the oldest public university in Illinois. It also boasts everything from museums and shopping malls to wildlife sanctuaries and world-class golf courses. Not only is there plenty to see and do for humans in Normal, but their four-legged companions are well-catered for too, with dog parks, nature trails, dog-friendly restaurants, and six veterinarian clinics and hospitals.
One of Normal's greatest attractions can be shared by human and canine alike, and this is the 45 mile Constitution Trail, which runs through both Normal and Bloomington. This is a multi-use trail, with cycling and hiking popular in the summertime, and skiing in the winter months. Dog walkers can make use of this trail throughout the year, with the bonus being the access to the different parks that it passes. Make sure to keep your pooch on a lead, and bring a few doggie bags too.
In addition to taking plenty of tail-wagging walks through the many parks of Normal, you will also find a delicious variety of dog-friendly restaurants around town. Noodles & Company, on S. Main Street, has six tables for pooches, and a menu featuring international fare, while Maggie Miley's, on E. Beaufort Street, is an Irish pub with four tables for dogs to dine at.
With so many dog-friendly activities located within close proximity of each other, it is so easy to plan an entire day out for yourself and Fido in Normal.
A spacious residential area, Greenbriar's wide sidewalks are perfect for an urban dog walk, and this neighborhood also provides easy access to Shepard Park. Not only will you find picnic shelters, basketball courts and a playground here, but also a large, fenced-in dog park. For owners who do not like small breeds mixing with large breeds, this park is perfect, as there are separate sections for small and large dogs. Being a wide open space with plenty of benches around, this is a great spot for both humans and dogs to socialize and make new friends. Although you will need to bring doggie bags, a water pump is available to keep the dogs hydrated. Keep in mind that to enter this dog park, your pooch will need to be up-to-date on all vaccinations, and be wearing a rabies vaccination tag.
This Normal neighbourhood is where you will find Maxwell Park. This large and spacious park has some pawsome walking trails that follow a creek, with footbridges in place to enable you and your pup to cross back and forth. Maxwell Park also boasts a fenced-in dog park, where you will be able to let your pooch off the lead to run free with other dogs. You will need to bring some doggie bags with you, as well as a bowl, but don't worry about drinking water, since there are plenty of water fountains dotted around the park.
Redbird Estates is a quiet residential area, with wide streets that are perfect for a leisurely dog walk. Of course, Fido will likely want a bit more excitement, so head on over to Fairview Park, which offers up 45 acres of greenery to sniff around in, as well as several scenic walking trails to choose from. A lead is essential here, but with lakes, gardens, pavilions and more for you both to explore, your dog won't mind staying by your side! There are picnic shelters throughout the park, so don't forget to bring a snack for when you and your pup decide to stop for a rest.
Sustainable and thoughtful redevelopment is important to the town of Normal, and the Uptown Circle neighborhood is at the heart of this, meaning plenty of green spaces for you and your dog to frolic around in. One of the highlights is the Hidden Creek Nature Sanctuary, which stretches out for five and a half acres. Complete with dirt trails, walking paths, and even a butterfly garden, you and your pooch could easily spend hours here. The grassy picnic area provides the perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat, although don't forget to bring some water, as well as a treat, for your furry friend too.
Being where the Illinois State University campus is located, this is a highly populated neighborhood, meaning that there will always be others around for your dog to make friends with. This is the area to head to if you would like to treat your pup to a meal, as there are a number of dog-friendly restaurants here, such as D.P Dough, which specializes in calzones. Medici, which is built around a mulberry tree and serves up tasty gastro pub dishes, is also located here, while Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream is the ideal café to visit for some dessert, and even has a water fountain for your pooch to sip from.