By Amelia Santaniello

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The bond between humans and dogs is a special one.

Although we are two different species, our needs are pretty much the same. We both need food, shelter, security and a place to let off some steam — or feed your soul.

“It’s magical in here,” said park visitor Arley Marquis.

“Magical” is not a phrase that most people would use to describe the average dog park, but the six-acre Minnehaha Falls Dog Park — nestled right along the Mississippi River — might be just that.

“It’s kind of like a hidden gem,” said Annie Olson of the Minneapolis Park Board. “You don’t realize you’re in an urban center.”

It’s “old growth” canopy of trees almost seem to hold nature in, and at the same time shelter visitors from the outside world.

best dog park in minnesota minnehaha falls WCCO Viewers Choice For Best Dog Park In Minnesota

Dogs frolicking in the Mississippi River at Minnehaha Falls Dog Park (credit: CBS)

“I like that I get my soul fed in the woods and the dogs can make friends, run through the water, run through the woods,” said park visitor Jenny Buck.

And as you and your dog explore the area, you may wonder why it doesn’t have the same vibe or feel as other dog parks.

“There are no fences, and the way you determine the boundaries is by the landmarks around you,” Olson said. “So the river is a landmark boundary and the powerline is a boundary along the south side, and south of us is National Park Service land where there is a leash law.”

So along with a leash, you may want to bring a good pair of walking shoes.

“People take a long hiking trail down to the entrance of the park,” Olson said. “The hiking trail is a leashed area, and once you get to the entrance and there you can unleash your dog.”

Whether your dog is tea cup or growler sized, everyone seems to know why they’re here.

“It’s a community down here,” Olson said.

Frequent visitor Jenny Buck says the park fosters community.

“They know the dogs’ names more than the people, but yeah, it’s great!” Buck said.

So if you and your dog are up for a little exercise, or a little tranquility, the Minnehaha Dog Park — Minneapolis’ diamond in the “ruff” — is waiting.

The Minneapolis Park Board requires an “off leash” permit for each dog visiting the park.

They are $35 for the first dog, $25 for the second. Those permits are good for a year.

If you’re not a Minneapolis resident, or would just like to check out the park, daily permits are available for just $5.

Your other picks for best dog park were Elm Creek Dog Park in Champlin and Cleary Lake in Prior Lake.

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