Aurora, Illinois, often referred to as the "City of Lights," is the second biggest city in the state. Lots of people means lots of pets - and the city has done a fantastic job at creating attractions for the whole family (yes, furry members included!) to enjoy.
Several dog parks are available if you'd like to take Fido off-leash. On the west side of the city, Lincoln Dog Park is available for some friendly socializing. Gregory Island Dog Park is a larger space on the Indian Trail, surrounded by the Fox River. Areas are separated for small dogs under 35 pounds, and large dogs above 35 pounds.
The newest addition is the Stuart Sports Complex Dog Park. This park is massive - 15 acres of space to run, jump, and play! An affordably-priced permit is required to use this park. The smaller (3 acres) Phillips Park Dog Park is nearby, with modern amenities and walking trails. No matter which park you head to, Fido is sure to thank you!
Aurora might be a large city, but it's still close to many natural paths and areas. The Virgil Gilman Trail is a paved 11.5-mile path that wanders through high prairie, oak-laden forests, and eventually some residential areas. If you need more mileage, try the Illinois Prairie Path, which is over 60 miles long!
The West Aurora a neighborhood offers many amenities for people and their dogs. Lincoln Dog Park is located here, at Russell and Lakewood. It is operated by the Fox Valley District, which manages parks and trails in Aurora, Montgomery and the surrounding neighborhoods. This park is a large fenced enclosure covered by a green carpet of grass for running, rolling, and sniffing out a new friend or two. Picnic tables let human companions socialize and share a bite to eat. The park also provides doggie water fountains. The fun starts at sunrise and ends at sunset. Waste receptacles make clean-up convenient for human companions.
The South Park neighborhood is dominated by the Phillips Zoo. This park includes the Phillips Dog Bark. This dog park is a favorite hangout for the local dogs and their people. This large patch of grass gives dog some space to run leash-free. There is a separate space for the small dogs. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Water and numerous waste receptacles are provided. People socialize while their dogs do likewise. The Zoo Park also offers marked walking paths, which provide numerous opportunities for on-leash walking. There are also many picnic areas and pavilions for you and your pup to enjoy together.
The Sugar Grove neighborhood is a dog’s suburban paradise. The Stuart Sports Complex Dog Park located at 6704 Base Line Road has 15 acres dedicated to dogs. Dogs of all breeds and sizes have a safe place to play leash-free. A separate enclosure gives smaller dogs their own safe space. The dog park has all the amenities you need for a fun, safe day out. Water and waste stations are provided, so be a respectful dog owner and make use of them. There is no shortage of shade, and people can socialize while dogs run and make their own furry friends. This park also has agility equipment for some training or extra exercise. It opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.
Gregory Island Dog Park, located just off off Indian Trail, gives dog a chance to explore the outdoors leash-free. There are separate enclosures for small and large dogs. Clean up bags and waste receptacles are plentiful, but the park does not provide any drinking water. The park is surrounded by the Fox River, which is the pawfect place to cool down on those dog days of summer. After a run in the dog park, grab some grub with your pup at Quigley's Irish Pub located at 43 E. Jefferson. This dog friendly-restaurant has plenty of outdoor dining seats that welcome dogs.
A short, ten mile drive east of Aurora is the dog-friendly Will County and the town of Naperville. This suburban area has six dog parks where dogs can run leash-free. These parks are managed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. All six parks -- except Hammel -- have separate areas for small and large dogs. Whalon Lake Dog Park is one of the parks the District manages. Whalon is a grassy large fenced enclosure set among mature trees. There are benches and shelter for the human companions. All dogs must be registered with the District before using their parks. There is a fee for using the parks, too, which helps ensure they're kept clean and safe.