Two-metre-tall toy dog offering warm hugs comes to Sokolniki Park

Two-metre-tall toy dog offering warm hugs comes to Sokolniki Park
A giant plush husky dog sits on Fontannaya Square. Inside the dog is an electric radiator, so that anyone who hugs the toy can warm up.

Sokolniki has come up with an unusual way for visitors to warm up during winter walks in the park. A huge plush toy, a two-metre-tall brown husky dog, has been installed on Fontannaya Square, ready to offer passers-by warm hugs. An electric radiator inside the toy keeps it heated to 45-50 degrees. The dog will sit in the park until the spring.

“The skeleton of the toy was assembled from wooden arcs. Heating elements were attached to them, then the whole structure was wrapped with a special material for even heat distribution. After that, the dog was covered with artificial fur. The husky dog will be connected to the park’s power grid. The toy is absolutely safe for visitors. We called it a hug dog. We hope that visitors will like it, and that it will become the mascot of our park,”said the Sokolniki Park press service.

The park makes sure that visitors can warm up in the winter while walking. In previous years, the administration installed such unusual heating devices as warm electric valenki (felt boots).

Sokolniki Park, located in the east of Moscow, is one of the largest and most visited recreation areas of the capital. It covers over 500 hectares. The park is open to visitors around the clock. The park’s layout is very convenient for walking. The walkway from the main entrance leads to a large circle. Eight more walkways radiate from it, connected by an arc-like path.

There are various kinds of entertainment in the park. In the winter, visitors can enjoy an ice-skating rink and a tubing hill, while in the summer, the park offers a beach area and recreation sites near the water with a boat station, tennis courts and outdoor exercise equipment. For fans of active leisure, there is a tennis court, a billiards room, a go-kart track, a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

Since 2014, active improvement works have been underway in the park. During this time, the main entrance of Sokolniki got its historical appearance back. In addition, the Symphonic Stage, the Golden Pond, a large rose garden, the chess and checker clubhouse and an open-air cinema were repaired and restored. Also the paths were renovated, and new playgrounds and sports pitches were built.