Chicago has 580 parks within its city limits, many of them small community green spaces with playgrounds and short walking paths. Burnham Park, on the other hand, is 600 acres big, 6 miles long, and is one of the most well-known of Chicago's public access parks. Perched on Lake Michigan's shore, it's much more than a lakefront beach. It boasts a planetarium, an aquarium and the Field Museum, but the giant's share of the park is a human and pup paradise. With bird sanctuaries, man-made islands, meadows and play fields in addition to a 5.5-mile long trail that stretches from 16th Street south to Hyde Park, you and your pup will find many hours of enjoyment here.
Burnham Park features a few areas within it with their own special attractions. The Burnham Wildlife Corridor is a 100-acre swath of true urban wilderness spanning both sides of Lakefront Drive. It contains native prairie, savanna, wetlands and woodlands and is home to migratory birds and other wildlife. Boardwalks stretch across marshes with decks and benches for quiet contemplation of the natural world around you. It's also home to 5 unique "gathering places" where you'll find artistic displays with seating areas, the work of local artists.
A unique section of the park is Northerly Island, which encloses a 30-acre prairie and interlocking paved trails that are pawrfect for a stroll with your fur-baby. Promontory Point is another naturalistic environment within Burnham, and as the name suggests, sits on a 90-acre spit of land jutting into the lake. Everywhere in the natural areas of the park you will see flocks of migratory birds, so be sure to bring your binoculars and a camera! The park also contains a 20,000-square foot skate park, where you can drop your adolescent kiddos while you visit the quieter parts. Be sure to bring clean up bags!
Paid parking lots are at the Burnham Nature Sanctuary, on Oakwood Boulevard and at the dog-unfriendly 31st Street Beach. So there's no excuse for not visiting this park that hosts quiet solitude next to active ball fields and artistic events. Your pooch will love it!