Riverview Farm Park in Newport News, Virginia is home to a really huge playground, over half an acre of play space for the kids, called Fantasy Farm. And that's just one feature of the park. There are over two miles of paved paths around the park in addition to lots of dirt paths, there are large picnic shelters, a couple of soccer fields, and even a concession stand, so Riverview Farm is fun for the whole family.
Especially now that there's a dog park. Fido Field at Riverview Farm Park has everything that makes a dog park great. It's big and safe. There's a lot of grass to run on, there are trees to pee on, and there are water fountains and hoses. In the summer, there are even plastic kiddie pools that are filled so dogs can cool off. There are covered benches for the humans, and also for their convenience, the city provides poop bags and trash cans, which are picked up regularly.
So Fido Field sounds pretty good, right? But what makes it great? Well, in a word, it comes down to safety. First, there is a small dog section for dogs under twenty pounds. Anyone who's spent much time around a small dog can tell you that the heart and spirit are often bigger than the body. That means that little dogs often perceive themselves as bigger than they are, and capable of playing with the big boys, who may, or may not, be mature enough and calm enough not to cause unintentional injury.
Having a small dog playing with big dogs is a potential recipe for disaster. Another thing that makes Fido Field great is the fact that dog owners have to provide proof that their dogs are current on vaccinations, especially Bordetella, or "kennel cough." Kennel Cough, at best, is uncomfortable and annoying, but in an older dog or a dog struggling with a health condition, it can be quite serious.
And places, where dogs congregate to play, is a really good place to get it. Before going to the park, you have to bring your dog's records to the Newport News Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to prove that your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations for rabies, Bordetella, parvo, and distemper, as well as a current dog license. The annual fee to use Newport News' dog parks is $10 for one dog and $5 for each additional dog.