Scottsdale, Arizona is known as a rather upscale suburb of Phoenix. Like Phoenix, the city has wide, straight streets and plenty of desert-influenced architecture and design. Unlike Phoenix, however, Scottsdale is primarily a tourist destination. Tourism accounts for nearly 40% of its economic base.
Scottsdale has the highest number of destination spas per capita of any city in America. It also has over 200 golf courses and over 150 art galleries and museums. There is plenty of high-end shopping and dining in Scottsdale, but there is also a lot of outdoor activities such as rafting on the Salt River and hiking.
There is a lot of natural beauty close to Scottsdale. This is the same town that architect Frank Lloyd Wright found compelling enough for a winter home, which he dubbed Taliesin West. Scottsdale puts a high value on aesthetics and quality of life. So it should come as no surprise that there are three beautiful dog parks in Scottsdale. The largest is Chaparral, at four leash-free acres.
Chaparral Dog Park is a great dog park. It has plenty of grass and shade trees, which is a pleasant surprise in a place commonly called "The Valley of the Sun." Of course, it gets hot and dry there, so there are multiple water fountains and benches. The park is well-lit from sunset until 10:00 PM, when the park closes.
The city has provided plenty of bag dispensers and trash cans, so that's a convenient detail. But what really makes the park outstanding is the unusual design. You see, the dog park is divided into two sections, one for "active" dogs and one for "passive" dogs.
It's not unusual for dog parks to have a section for smaller dogs. But, of course, some dogs are more active than others. An elderly Golden Retriever is likely to be much less active than a young Yorkie. Chaparral Dog Park recognizes this fact. The active section has a number of play features, such as large concrete pipes for dogs to run through, boulders to perch on and wooden ramps to climb.
The passive section doesn't have a lot of play features, but both sides of the park have separate splash pools. It is the responsibility of dog owners to make sure that their dogs are in the right section. It's easy to see how a large dog can be a hazard to a small dog, but remember that a small, active dog can also be hazardous to a larger dog made passive by age or infirmity.