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If you're lucky enough to have a dog in your house, you understand that when the sun’s up, your pup’s up. Luckily, as long as that sun is out of bed, you and your dog can play at Camp Barkeley Dog Park. Located by the Abilene Zoo, Camp Barkeley Dog Park is an off-leash park with two completely fenced-in areas – one two-acre lot for the big dogs and a one-acre lot for dogs less than 30 pounds. Both areas are double-gated, handicap-accessible, and offer benches, shade trees, and water. People are welcome to use the zoo’s restrooms for free, but dogs are not allowed within the gate.
Red Bud Park is all-around a family park. Two playgrounds, a track, walking trails ranging from a mile to 1.5 miles in length, bathrooms, a prairie dog town, and a dog park are pieced together to create a beautiful park that is a common hot-spot for events such as balloon festivals, concerts, and more. The prairie dogs do spend most of their time in their “town,” but there are those that prefer scampering around the rest of the park, so think twice before you take your dog on a walk at Red Bud if he’s a chaser.
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly hotel that won’t break the bank, consider the Knights Inn. Rooms start at $51, and two pets of any size are allowed per room for a fee of $15 per pet, per night. Amenities include free breakfast served daily and an outdoor swimming pool.
The Park Central Area offers three popular restaurants with outdoor tables for dog-lovers. Firehouse Subs, with its Fire Department décor and lore, is a deli-style restaurant serving sandwiches and sides with catchy firehouse names, such as the Hook and Ladder Sub. Fuzzy’s Taco Shop serves up Mexican fare like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, a la carte or as full dinners and combo plates. Ole’! Finally, Miguel’s Mex Tex offers Mexican fare with a Southwestern flare. Dogs are welcome on their outdoor patio, but the restaurant recommends a call prior to arrival so they can open the patio gate for your Best Amigo.
The Fort Phantom Area is home to Fort Phantom Lake, a popular fishing area that boasts stocks of large-mouthed bass, striped bass and catfish. The historically important Fort Phantom Hill grounds cover 22 acres, offering plenty of space for strolling with your furry companion. Also within the Fort Phantom Area are the Sea Bee and Johnson Parks. Johnson Park sits beside Fort Phantom Lake and welcomes dogs to its walking and biking paths or to swim in the lake. Sea Bee Park is a designated 5 acres of wetlands with a large group pavilion, picnic sites with barbecues, natural trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and of course, fishing on Lake Fort Phantom.
Residents of Buck Creek say two of their favorite things are food and dogs. Luckily for them, there is the Golden Chick Restaurant on Hwy 351. The Golden Chick serves up everybody’s favorite comfort foods, such as fried okra, fried chicken tenders and catfish, macaroni and cheese, green beans and mashed potatoes. With a roomy outside dining area, feel free to bring your pup along! There are also eight dog-friendly hotels along Route 20 near the University that you can stay at with your pup. Among them are Residence Suites by Marriott, Quality Inn, the Whitten Inn University, and Motel 6 Abilene East. Pet fees and requirements will vary for each.
Oscar Rose Park in the Sayles Blvd Area is one of Abilene’s oldest parks at over 100 years old. Offering a tennis center, a Senior Activity Center, playground, baseball/softball fields, basketball courts and numerous other formal centers for sports and human play, this is a popular park indeed. What your pup will be most interested in, however, is the walking path, and the open grassy areas with plenty of room for frisbee-tossing. You can rest and relax between strolls at the picnic tables and benches. Keep dogs leashed within the park, and don’t forget clean up bags. The park is open from 5:30 a.m. to midnight, which may be good news to those later walkers.
Historic Original Town North is a charming, diverse neighborhood that caters to its dog-lovers with tree-lined streets, sidewalks for strolls, and two dog-friendly spots: the Cypress St Station restaurant and Everman Park. Fido is welcome to join you at one of Cypress St Station’s three pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy an order of Alligator Bites, breaded and fried alligator tail meat served with Creole honey mustard. If Big Lizard isn’t your thing, you can chow down on a burger or fried green tomatoes. After lunch, be sure to take your tail-wagging friend on a stroll through Everman Park. With statuary depicting favorite characters from Dr. Seuss, Charlotte’s Web and others, this will be a unique experience to share with your hairy friend. The park also offers fountains and benches, making for a relaxing, casual and delightful stroll.
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