INDIANAPOLIS— Indianapolis will have its first indoor dog park soon.
The 4,000-square foot facility is slated to open in the winter on East 82nd Street across from Castleton Square Mall and will welcome dogs of all breeds and sizes.
The founder of Indy’s Indoor Bark Park, Darius Smith, said he was inspired to create the park after moving from Las Vegas to Indianapolis last winter and going “a little stir crazy” with his dog, King.
The high-energy Doberman would beg to go outside but Smith and his wife couldn’t tolerate the Midwestern cold for more than a few minutes.
“We’d be outside for maybe five minutes and it just wasn’t enough for him,” said Smith. “We searched the area but couldn’t find any indoor dog parks.”
He arrived at an ambitious solution — he would open his own park.
The idea immediately generated interest on social media, he said, and opened his eyes to how pressing the issue was for local pet owners.
“The day that I put [the initiative] on Facebook, someone called my phone and was like, ‘Hey, what time do you guys open?’” Smith said. “I was like, ‘Um, I don’t know. We haven’t opened yet.’”
Indy’s Indoor Bark Park is tentatively scheduled to open in December, he said, and will remain open year round with heating during the winter months, air conditioning in the summer and ongoing partnerships with local pet businesses.
Smith said the completed facility will be similar to an indoor off-leash dog park in Seattle, as well as the “Barx Parx” in Las Vegas.
“This isn’t just going to be a winter thing for Indianapolis” he said. “It’s going to be a place for dogs – and pet owners – to have fun and make friends every season. We want to have WiFi, Colts watch parties and beer and wine vendors.”
The venue will not act as a “doggie daycare,” he clarified, and will require dogs to have updated vaccinations and active park memberships. Each visitor is permitted a maximum of three dogs and must stay with their pets.
Discounted memberships and day passes can be purchased online.
An IndieGoGo fundraiser for the park will run from October 22 through November 18.