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Published October 22nd 2017
Dogs love their new place at Marshmallow Park, so will you
Most dogs say that you can never have too many dedicated dog parks, and rumour has it that their owners agree. New parks seem to be popping up all over the place, which is just as well as councils put more restrictions on dogs near playgrounds and sports facilities.
The City of Adelaide and state government have pooled their resources to open the newest dog park south of Adelaide at Marshmallow Park (aka Pityarilla) on Glen Osmond Road in the south parklands. The upgrade for Marshmallow Park will also bring a nature play area and improved access when complete.
Separate Areas for Small Dogs and Large Dogs at Marshmallow Park
Although I missed the opening day celebrations, I was under strict orders from the fur babies to visit the new dog park the very next day. We weren't the only ones with the same idea - a constant stream of canines and companions arrived while we were there.
There are two large fenced enclosures at the Pityarilla Dog Park. Both are of a similar size, but one is intended for small dogs and the other for larger breeds. All entrances have a convenient bin with doggy bag dispenser, and you pass through the standard double gate arrangement to minimise the chance of escape. The door latch handles are high, presumably to prevent children entering without an adult. However I found it awkward to reach through and unlatch from the opposite side, and I think shorter people might struggle.
Play Area for Large Dogs at the New Dog Park in Adelaide's South Parklands
Both large and small dog parks are landscaped nicely with a central turf area. Mature gum trees in the parklands provide lots of shade, and there is a sheltered area with seating. Water taps are easily accessible for dogs and humans, and are designed to refill water bottles too. There are logs, rocks and turfed areas, but I'm particularly looking forward to a planned water play feature for the dogs. My dogs are not!
We were greeted on arrival by humans and other dogs, with everyone in a friendly and sociable mood. Most people didn't stay strangers for long, starting conversations quickly about breeds, dog behaviour and the merits of other dog parks. I sometimes hear gripes about fights and other incidents at dog parks, but the hour I spent was pleasant and without incident.
As my dogs are mid-sized, we also did a test run in the large dog enclosure too. The facilities are much the same, but play can get more boisterous with larger breeds so we didn't stay too long. For the the main downside of the park is the lack of exercise for me - at Victoria Park I can walk briskly around and get decent exercise while the dogs play. At the Pityarilla Dog Park you can walk the circumference path, but it becomes a bit repetitive.
One thing to watch - if the gates aren't fully open when you let them go, they don't always latch quickly. I accidentally let someone else's dog out because the gate hadn't latched behind me. Something to look out for.
There's plenty of parking on Glen Osmond Road adjacent to the Marshmallow Park (Pityarilla), but if you approach from the north you have to drive a long way down before being able to u-turn. Next time I may park on Unley Road and walk the short distance over through the south parklands.
You can read a bit more about the new Pityarilla Dog Park in Mashmallow Park on this website, but why bother? Just put the dog on a lead and head on over to road test it yourself.
What a beautiful park for dog lovers. So we decided to have afternoon tea there with a few of our friends (we all have small dogs) in the small dog enclosure; however, we could not believe how many large dogs (with grumpy owners) were in the small dog enclosure. Some of our small dogs had been attacked by large dogs in the past, so we were pleased that there was a small dog enclosure where they should have been able to play in peace. The larger dogs were helping themselves to our afternoon tea on a fold up table and their owners were asking how long were we going to have food there. I almost answered how long were they going to have their large dogs there, because the small dogs cannot reach the food, but I am too nice and held my tongue. None of our small dogs could reach the food, nor did we expect there to be any dogs large enough to reach the food there. The large dog owners seemed to resent us small dog owners being in the small dog enclosure. Perhaps larger 'SMALL DOG ENCLOSURE' signs are required. Perhaps the large dog owners resented us for thinking to take coffee and cake. It's not our fault that others did not take any refreshments to enjoy while watching our small dogs play, some of which, understandably, were afraid to play because of the larger dogs. We didn't take enough coffee to share; after all, how could anyone possibly know exactly how many other people were going to be there when we were. Resentful people took the enjoyment out of what was expected to be a lovely afternoon with our little dogs.