At the January 17 opening of the city’s latest official dog park, located at Allen Pkwy. and Montrose Blvd., an endless sea of people and dogs formed a massive line to get in, waiting patiently to check out the swankiness. The place has been packed ever since. 

Of course, Johnny Steele Dog Park, with its Zoolander-esque name, had already been an unofficial canine magnet for years. It’s far from the largest of its kind in Houston (that honor belongs to the 17-plus-acre Bill Archer Bark Park in Bear Creek), but it’s spread along a green hillside that slopes into Buffalo Bayou with the downtown skyline as a glittering backdrop. The two-acre site has plenty of amenities, too: shaded areas for those Houston summers, lots of seating, two ponds, dog wash stations, and copious lighting for nocturnal types.

Some may question the wisdom of Buffalo Bayou Partnership allocating $1.5 million to create a dog park out of something that was already one to begin with, but judging by the long lines of people and pooches, it was money well spent.

Note: The following are all off-leash parks; however, dogs should be leashed at all times when not on the premises.

Bay Area Bark Park

7500 Bay Area Blvd., Pasadena

Size: 5.3 acres 

What dogs love: Separate areas for large and small dogs, dog washing stations, dog water fountains, picnic tables, walking path, plenty of shade

Baytown Bark Park

4334 Crosby Cedar Bayou, Baytown

Size: 5 acres

What dogs love: Large and small areas, water fountains, walking path, agility training equipment (large-dog park only) 

Congressman Bill Archer Bark Park

3201 Hwy. 6 N., Bear Creek

Size: 17 acres 

What dogs love: Agility training equipment, large and small areas, washing stations, water fountains, walking path, two swimming ponds 

Discovery Green Dog Runs

1500 McKinney St., Downtown

Size: 4,400 square feet

What dogs love: Large and small areas, fountains

Ervan Chew Dog Park

4502 Dunlavy St., Montrose

Size: 9,000 square feet 

What dogs love: Plenty of shade, large and small areas

Johnny Steele Dog Park

2929 Allen Pkwy., Montrose

Size: 2 acres 

What dogs love: Washing stations, large and small areas, water fountains, plenty of shade, two swimming ponds

Katy Dog Park

5414 Franz Rd., Katy

Size: 14 acres 

What dogs love: Swimming pond, large and small areas, agility training equipment, water fountains, walking path, plenty of shade

Maxey Park

601 Maxey Rd., Northshore

Size: 13 acres 

What dogs love: Large and small areas, washing stations, water fountains, plenty of shade

Millie Bush Bark Park

16756 Westheimer Pkwy., Westside

Size: 13 acres 

What dogs love: Two swimming ponds, large and small areas, washing stations, water fountains, walking path 

Pawm Springs Bark Park

15300 University Blvd., Sugar Land

Size: 6 acres 

What dogs love: Water spray features, large and small areas, shade pavilion, resort-style pond with beach area

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