Picture a park in south Florida. I bet you imagine that it's sunny. I'll bet there's a sandy beach populated with bikini-clad sun worshippers of all the hues of the human rainbow. I'll bet there are frozen drinks, and maybe even some windsurfers. Off in the distance, you can see water and blue skies. It's a nice daydream, isn't it? Well, forget about it. Today we're talking about a park that doesn't have any of that.
The Rotary Park Environmental Center is not what you would expect in a Florida park. For instance, it's large, nearly 100 acres. It is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, and there are brackish ponds, salt marsh, wetlands, and uplands. There are trails, a playground, and a butterfly house. There aren't any beaches, so you probably will not see anyone in a bikini.
But there are picnic facilities, so you might see frozen drinks. Something else you will see at Rotary Park is dogs, which are not allowed at most Florida beaches. They are welcome at Rotary Park, provided that they are leashed (it is a bird sanctuary, after all). Unless, of course, you're at the dog park, named Wagging Tails.
Wagging Tails is part of The Rotary Park Environmental Center. The first thing you should know about the park is it's not free. You will need to register with the city, provide up-to-date vaccination records for your puppy, and pay a registration fee, which is $20 for a local resident and $40 or out-of-town folks.
But it is worth it. The sad truth about going to the Wagging Tails Dog Park is that it can be a good way for your puppy to be exposed to all kinds of nasty bugs, like parvo or distemper. So simply getting vaccinations for your dog to give you the relief from that worry is terrific. But there is more to this dog park.
Wagging Tails is a nicely sized dog park, over two acres. The park's grounds are covered in cedar chips and sandy soil. There is a separate enclosure for dogs under 35 pounds. The main dog enclosure has pieces off agility equipment that are well maintained. Both sides of the dog park have benches and seating, as well as water fountains for people and puppies.
The park is largely sunny, but there are trees that provide shade as well as covered shelter, which is essential in a Florida downpour. There are poop bags throughout the park, and the city does an excellent job at maintaining the dog park. In addition, there's a small regiment of park patrons who help keep the place in top shape. Rotary Park is a great park for the whole family. Add Wagging Tails, and you can truly bring everybody!