By Cassie Bonstrom, WCCO-TV

MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Spring may be here, but that means the mud puddles are as well. And if you’re a dog owner, you know a trip to the park is going to be messy. That’s why a new facility in Minnetonka is giving you another option.

It’s busy, loud and, at times, chaotic. But that doesn’t bother anyone at the Bark Park in Minnetonka.

“Any place that there’s a lot of dogs, I love it,” said Lee Fields. “I’m a dog lover.”

The new indoor play area and doggie day care opened in mid-March and offers a 3,000-square-foot space for dogs to run, play and make new friends.

“She’s having a blast today,” said Fields. “I don’t think we’ve found a dog she doesn’t like or that didn’t like her.”

The Bark Park allows Fields to get out with his best friend, Annabelle, no matter what Mother Nature is doing.

“Anytime, any season, any day, rain, sleet, snow, don’t matter,” he said. “Not only does it allow them, but it allows you to get out and play.”

Co-owner Mindy Banko said it’s perfect for those trying to avoid yet another dog bath.

“It’s still pretty sandy and mucky, and the dog parks are pretty wet and grimy,” said Banko. “So we’re just seeing a ton of people coming here to just come for a couple hours and play and just leave clean.”

Alicia Lahti is glad her dog will come home looking the same he did as when he arrived.

“It’s like the Cadillac of dog parks,” said Lahti.

And the dogs aren’t just clean when they leave. If all goes well, they’re downright exhausted and ready for a long nap.

If you’d like more information about The Bark Park, visit

A day-long pass for the indoor play area is $7. Doggie Daycare is $5 per hour.

Comments (11)
  1. Mike says:

    My dogs love going outside rain, snow or sun and I bet most of the dogs who go to this facility do to. Places like this are not built for dogs, their are for spoiled people who would rather their dogs get their exercise while they mingle with the other lazy, fair weather pet owners.

    1. Kim says:

      As a bulldog dog owner, this breed isn’t weather friendly in heat or cold, so something like this really helps them “not be couch potatoes”. You shouldn’t knock down something until you try it! It may not be for everyone, but for others it’s a blessing.

      Just my opinion….

  2. jld says:

    Lazy to me would be making no effort whatsoever to get decent exercise for their dogs. I have a large breed & a small breed, I also live somewhere I can’t allow my dog to run free the way he loves the most. Places like this mean my dog gets exercise, socialization and fun, while i don’t have to deal with trying to get his butt in the tub, bathe him, dry him & brush him; all things I would have to do if I took.him to the outdoor dog park during muddy weather. Not to mention, maybe some ppl don’t have the physical ability to walk their dog in inclement conditions.

  3. Brandon G. says:

    ha ha ha…i agree with mike. clever idea for the people who started the business (taking money from these type of clients).
    seeing city pets is about the most depressing thing in the first place.
    funny how owners can see their pets exercise while they read magazines.

  4. Brandon G says:

    Think twice about being a pet owner. They do sell books on what dogs are suitable for people based on activity level and where they live.

  5. L says:

    i am so glad i live where i live! i love my dog but he stays outside, unchained all day, all night, all year (unless it’s bitter freezing) and his bath consists of a trip to the neighbors pond. granted he stinks sometimes i would rather have it this way than having to take him to an indoor facility like this

  6. Pork Chop Guy says:

    You gotta love America.

  7. Kim says:

    As one of the owners of this facility I appreciate all of the comments. We know this isn’t for everyone, but for the people that have used it, (and love it) or have stopped by to see us and for the ones that support us, we Thank You! We’re not just a indoor park, we also provide Doggy Day Care for owners that would other wise have to leave dogs in kennels for extended periods of time.

    When it’s poring rain, or below zero out side and your dog wants to go out and YOU DON”T, this is just an option for dogs to play and interact with others in a safe controlled environment. Don’t knock it till ya try it!

    Everyone deserves to have a dog to love. Does it really matter to any one of you how they choose to socialize them. To each there own? Training classes and puppy playtime sessions are indoors, should those type of facilities be for bidden as well?

    We just had an amazing dog adoption event last weekend where 6 out of 22 dogs found forever homes. It was FANTASTIC!

    We’re NOT just another business, we truly do care and love dogs!
    Call with question anytime…952-544-0206 or check us out on the web:

    The Bark Park

  8. Amy says:

    A place like this is for REAL dog lovers!!! We like to get out and socialize with others that share a common interest. I still take my dogs to outdoor parks and for long walks so it’s not about being lazy, it’s about having options. “L”- Dogs don’t want to stay outside all day and all night! They want to be with other dogs and people, they are social animals. Mindy and Kim are FABULOUS! They support local non-profit rescues and are giving back to the community. This business will continue to be successful because we love our dogs in Minnesota but the weather leaves much to be desired.

    1. Kim says:

      Thanks Amy! Much appreciated….

  9. Kim says:

    As one of the owners of The Bark Park, I appreciate all comments and feedback. We know this isn’t a facility for everyone, but it does give people with small dogs, specific breeds who have difficulty in extreme heat and cold (Bully breeds) or people who just don’t enjoy the heat, mosquitoes and freezing cold weather an option for safe, fun dog socialization and exercise.

    We also offer cage less doggy day care for owners who HAVE to work extremely long hours and may have to kennel dogs while away. Again it’s an option.

    As a do friendly event center as well we just had an amazing dog adoption day with three local rescue groups and I’m happy to say that 6 out of 20 dogs found forever homes. We’re not just another business, we felt a need for this and we truly have a passion and love for dogs.

    Don’t knock it till you try it! If anyone has questions or concerns they can stop by and check us out or call anytime. 952-544-0206 or follow us on face book or visit our web site.

    Everyone no matter where they live (to address an earlier comment) deserves to love and care for a dog. It doesn’t matter if they live in an apartment and don’t have acres of land or a dog park near them. There are many options for dog owners just like training classes and puppy playtime hours they’re indoors, should they be banned or closed down as well?

    Again, The Bark Park is just an option…..
    Thank you!

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