Sniffari noun \'snif 'fa-rē\ Definition 1 : The adventure one goes on while their puppy sniffs their way through an unknown or uncommonly visited location. The pup's nose must be in hyperdrive, taking in scents from all past location visitors and surroundings, while wagging their tails or butts consistently. 2: The act of walking with the primary intention of allowing your fur-covered best friends to take their time and thoroughly smell their surroundings. NOTE: Sniffaris may result in a low ground covered/time ratio but will ALWAYS result in a relaxing time for all involved.
It's a random Tuesday evening. You've had a long day at work and decide it's a perfect time for an adventure. You grab your pup's leash and the butt-wiggles begin! But this trip is different. This trip is an adventure... and this adventure isn't just to go potty outside (as all good boys and girls do). You pull up to that new park you drive past every day but haven't yet explored and hop out to begin your pup's sniffari adventure.
As you blissfully wander around a new park together, your pup takes their time to soak in ALL of the scents and surroundings. (WARNING: By "soak in" I mean with their nose, although it is entirely possible that some pups may choose to roll in an especially good scent!) By doing so, you get fully invested in their excitement and find yourself repeating things like, "Ohhh... What did you find, [GOOFY-YET-ADORABLE NICKNAME]? Was someone or something amazing here?"
Sniffaris are all the rage these days! If you're curious as to how these differ from your average daily walks, here are couple of key differences that make sniffaris a fantastic addition to your weekly pet routine.
1. Slow roll!
You and your pet get to just "be" together out in nature. It's not about getting in "steps", or getting your heart rate up, or making sure everyone has gone potty outside. It's about simply doing what dogs do best: SMELL the world around them!
Did you know that the average dog has up to 300 million olfactory (smell) receptors in their nose? Compare that with their two-legged pals [raises hand], who only have about six million. As you can imagine, dogs devote a LOT of brain power to deciphering and thinking about smells. What better way to enrich their lives then to let them fully work that brain power by smelling up and down a trail for 30 whole minutes?
Alright - Let's talk about some locations around the northside of Indianapolis. There are SO many good spots that it was tough to pick just three, but here are a few of my dog's absolute favorite sniffari locations.
Marion County Indiana
Located just north of 86th Street on Ditch Road, DCNP is a community-powered nature park. 100% fueled by volunteers, this park is a hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of Marion County. The 21-acre nature park includes a beautiful prairie with excellent year-round smells and native plants and wildflower. The trails on the north end of the park lead you through woods that wind along Alverna Creek. Trust me, your pup will LOVE this place!
Hamilton County, Indiana
Located off of Hazel Dell Parkway where 106th Street ends, this Carmel-Clay Park is well known among disc golfers but seldom known by local hikers and nature enthusiasts. This extraordinary property has trails that run along the White River through scenic woods and prairies.
Hamilton County, Indiana
Located off of Hague Road in Noblesville, this 43-acre nature park might be a bit "rustic" but it has a lot to offer! After parking in the lot, you'll notice a mowed trail taking you back to the woods. Follow along that nature trail to walk the "loop" along the scenic Cicero Creek. Noblesville City Parks has big plans for this location, but for now - it is still relatively unknown and very tranquil.
The cherry on top for the locations I mentioned above? All three are free to enter and have clearly marked parking areas. (ease of use for the win!)
As Mickey and I explore more locations around Indianapolis, we will be sure to keep you all updated with our favorite new hotspots! Until then - get out there with your best friend for your own sniffari adventure and let me know what you find!