|Lulu at Global Pet Expo last year.|
|Last year, the expo was three football fields long. By the end of the day, this was Lulu.|
If you're in town for Global, or if you plan on visiting Orlando with your pet soon, please check out some of these great pet-friendly spots. We are a great community for pets.
1) Woof Gang Bakery -- Though the first store opened in South Florida, the company is actually based in Orlando. Woof Gang is a boutique offering high-quality pet food, pet gear, fresh baked cookies and sometimes more -- grooming, day care, even a medical clinic. The stores are each individually owned. There are two not far from the tourist zone, but we have them all over Orlando.
And they are not the only pet bakeries in Orlando. Also check out Bark Avenue Bakery on Sand Lake Road or Pookie's on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park, to name a few.
2) Orlando's dog parks -- Like a place where dogs can run and play? Orange County, Florida is home to eight dog parks run by the county, plus Fleet Peeples Park in Winter Park. My personal favorites are Dr. Phillips Park, near Disney, and Barber Park, which is near Orlando International Airport.
Dr. Phillips Park is small, but the other dog owners are friendly. I rarely see problems at the park. It;s also well kept.
Barber Park is slightly bigger, and it has agility equipment for dogs to tryout.
Both have separate areas for small and large dogs, doggy water fountains, and places for humans.
3) Park Avenue, Winter Park -- The city of Winter Park is not too far from Orlando, and Park Avenue is the downtown area. While dogs are not allowed in Central Park, they are welcome to walk around the street on a leash, drink from outdoor water bowls, sit with their owners in outdoor cafes and even enter the stores. As long as your dog is well-behaved, they are welcome. There is also The Doggie Door, a shop for pets and their dog lovers, with treats, toys, clothes and pet lover items like clothes, games and household items.
Dogs are welcome at some of the festivals, farmers markets and parades throughout the year. There are two big dog events on Park Avenue as well -- the Doggy Art Show, and the Halloween Costume Parade.
4) Dog-friendly dining -- While we are talking outside cafes, Orlando was actually the pilot city for dog-friendly dining in Florida. We have lots of restaurants who welcome dogs on their patios. It's good to ask ahead of time though, because not every patio allows dogs (which to me is silly, but what can you do?).
5) Quantum Leap Winery -- You won't find a vineyard growing Pinot Noir or Chardonnay in Florida. The grapes just can't survive here. However, we do have wineries that bring the grapes to Florida and make their own wine. Quantum Leap does this with an eye towards being as environmentally friendly as possible. Dogs are also welcome in the main wintery show room. You dog may meet owner Jill Ramsier's dog Kaley. And you can try some of her own wine -- Kaley's Rescue Red. Proceeds from the wine's go to benefit SPCA of Central Florida.
Quantum Leap Winery is in Orlando in the Mills 50 area.
6) Mall at Millenia -- This high-end mall may not like me broadcasting this, but you can bring your dog there. Dogs are permitted at the mall in Orlando, provided they remain in a carrier or a stroller. Of course, service dogs are welcome everywhere.
So Lulu will not be going to Mall at Millenia any time soon. However, it makes sense to me that frou-frou dogs are welcome at the frou-frouiest mall in Orlando.
7) Rocky's Retreat -- Get your dog a massage. Rocky's Retreat is a fitness center for dogs, featuring hydrotherapy, massage, Reiki and even aromatherapy. Don't have time to get out to Winter Park? They'd do your dog's massage at your hotel. Call for pricing.
8) Pet-friendly events -- Plan your trip around a pet event! There is always a pet-friendly event going on somewhere in Central Florida each month, from big events like Barktoberfest and Paws in the Park in Orlando, to smaller events like Barks and Brews, Pookie's Rescuefest and the Doggy Derby. That's why I have an Orlando-area pet events calendar.
Have an event you'd like to add to the calendar? Let me know!
So, what would you like me to focus on at Global Pet Expo? Here's your chance to weigh-in and help me shape my coverage!