by Kassidy Hart–One of my favorite parts of living off-campus is being with my 11-month-old puppy 24/7. And while this is a perk, our one-bedroom apartment can only suffice for a border-collie sanctuary for so long. As the weather gets warmer, I decided to start asking around about Siouxland dog parks and one suggestion, Bacon Creek, has now become our future summer hang-out spot.
We decided to visit Bacon Creek, my boyfriend, puppy and I, on the Tuesday of Spring Break. It was a day that felt like summer and I knew it was the perfect time to test out this dog park. Back in Omaha, we used to frequent Hefflinger Dog Park, a rather large and popular hang-out, so I had high hopes but prepared for disappointment. So, I was pleasantly surprised when this park exceeded my expectations by a landslide.
First thing I noticed was as we turned behind Taco Bell and began driving the route, I forgot that I was even in Sioux City because it felt so distanced from the rest of the city. Used to having to guess where entrances of state parks or lakes are, my boyfriend told me to “keep an eye out for the entrance to our left”, but as we rounded the corner out of the trees and began down the hill, there was a large sign that read “Bacon Creek” that was sure to be seen.
We got into the park and immediately noticed the beautiful lake sitting at the entrance that followed us as we drove further inward. We saw the first parking lot but were curious to see what else the park had to offer and so we ended up parking in the second lot and walking up to the dog park, allowing us space to walk back to the car alongside the lake.
We entered the gated dog park and questioned as if we were even allowed to be there. Although a clean and beautiful space with a pre-park area that required leashes and led to the two actual dog parks (one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs), there were signs that felt as though they were threatening us to control our dog and make sure there was 0 signs of aggressive behavior or we would have to leave “immediately”. Willow isn’t aggressive by any means, and our worries stemmed more from her being a bit unsocialized to other dogs – as she grew up during the pandemic. Yet, something about the directness of the signs and just how clean and precise the park felt intimated us.
The first thing we did when we got past the “leash-on” area was take Willow’s leash off and let her run. Of course, we brought tennis balls with us, she is a ball dog after all, but we wanted to see the space first. Initially she was hesitant to leave us but once she saw there was only one other dog there, the space became hers. We walked for what felt like forever to the end of the dog park and marveled at the size of the place. With all the green space, lack of puddles and mud, and a variety of seating options, this park made Hefflinger look like a dump.
Despite our initial fears, once we became acquainted to the park and found seats at the small gazebo area, we loved it. We had wished there were more dogs for Willow to play with, but we knew that it was typical work hours, and the spring weekends would most likely host an abundance of dogs. The one other man who was there with his rescue dog did come talk to us for a bit and the two pups got along fine, alternating between playing with each other and playing with the tennis balls. He was an older gentleman who didn’t visit the park too often but when we mentioned it was our first visit, he was quick to offer accolades of how amazing and popular his own experience has been.
We ended up returning to Bacon Creek later that weekend, hoping for more social interactions for Willow. This time it was a bigger crowd, but not too many. A lot of the owners were standing and chatting in a circle right at the entrance while their puppies (who were quite literally less than six months old) played and got acquainted. The moment we walked in someone asked, “Is that an Australian Shepherd?”. We continued to walk Willow up to the gazebo area and play ball, the other dogs following close behind.
All in all, I am so excited to be spending a majority of my summer at Bacon Creek watching Willow play. Despite the low expectations, both the dog park as well as the rest of the park pleasantly proved otherwise.
If you’re a dog owner and lover and enjoy being around nature or are even just wanting to take a peaceful walk around a body of water, I highly recommend checking this place out.
I give Bacon Creek a 5/5 (and I think Willow would agree).