[Update: As with all things in Shanghai, this venue has since closed
"Offbeat" is a SmartShanghai column about stuff to look at or do in Shanghai that's interesting or weird (relatively, of course), that doesn't fit anywhere else. It appears weekly, monthly, or maybe even annually, when we're not busy working on other superfluous column ideas.
Where can a big city dog go to escape the heat, the pressure, the daily grind of barking at the construction going on next door? Somewhere where a pup can just, you know, frolic and run freely under these blue skies. This wonderland exists, at a dog resort in a peach field in deep Pudong. They're hosting a dog hotel, a dog playground, a farmhouse restaurant, and most impressively, **a dog swimming pool**.
Let's take an Uber XL to the far, far Eastside, kind of close to Disneyland
, but so much happier. Joining us on this adventure are three friends, from left to right: Woof, Abraham Lincoln, and Bobo.
So, this dog swimming pool is an hour from downtown by car. You'll know you're getting close when you start seeing farmers selling boxes of peaches on the side of the road, and statues like this.
They call it OKAYland
, or 萌物园 (cute animal park).
And they have some rules, so pay attention you estrous bitches.
The pool was nearly empty on Thursday afternoon, and the water seemed clean enough for humans to swim so we all did. No skin problems yet.
This guy, who we'll call Mr. Peanut Butter, had already been swimming laps and chasing tennis balls for an hour or so. Have you ever seen a golden retriever swim? They're quick. Mr. Peanut Butter and I raced for a tennis ball and he nearly won.
Bobo, Woof, and Abraham Lincoln set sail across OKAYland. Woof was swift in the water, but Bobo was skittish and scratched the hell out of his owner. Luckily, the boats are free.
Other dogs just really weren't feeling it. "Goodbye, my love."
And here is some video
, with music by human friend Damacha. (It was a foam frisbee).
The staff were all really caring, and told us to keep a special watch on Abraham Lincoln due to his short nose. Apparently, Bulldogs inhale water and overheat easily. Abraham ended up overcoming his aquatic anxiety and won "most improved swimmer of yesterday."
And then he KILLED IT on the dog playground. What a star.
So, they charge 100rmb for entry for dogs, but humans get to play for free.
After a dip in the pool, you can use the dog bath and grooming facilities free of charge. This dog was kind of a dick and his owner seemed really intense. Our pets are such mirrors.
OKAYland is more than okay. They also have a vending machine full of cold beer for 5rmb a can. It's more like GREATland.
A hotel that costs 280rmb a night.
A dog-friendly restaurant cooking up some really good food from the local farms. Also, the pool offers free-flow BBQ vegetables and juice for 50rmb.
A gat damned paintball field.
And a really trippy pool covering that sways and breathes in the wind. You're basically at Burning Man.
All the humans agreed, this place was totally worth the trip out to deep Pudong. No complaints. Maybe a few more toys, some music, and the option to purchase dog treats would make OKAYland even more okay, but that's digging hard. Hell, even if you don't have a dog, but enjoy their company, it's worth the trip out here as an escape from the city -- humans need escape too.
OKAYland Dog Swimming Pool is at Datuan Peach Garden, 888 Datuanzhen Zhaoqiaocun Caichang, Pudong. There is no subway anywhere around here, even if you could take your dog on the subway. The better option is finding some other dog lovers and renting a car for half a day. They're open from 10am-10.30pm daily, and they get real busy on the weekend so call ahead. They do not accept cards, so bring cash. More info in our venue listing.