The Equipment Dubbed Opportunity Park for its accessible-to-all experiences, the pair of playgrounds at Allen Pond Park offers lots to explore. The larger playground features a sprawling piece of equipment that is mostly low to the ground with lots of entry/exit points, including small slides and easy-to-climb stairs. Standalone equipment found near the big playground includes a large slide, a fire/police set of steering wheels on walls, monkey-bar-type rings, a cute pair of stone turtle sculptures, and four bucket and two regular swings. The smaller playground is geared to toddlers and boasts a four-piece (stationary) train, a clubhouse with slide, two bucket swings, a small sand area, and a low-to-the-ground structure with three slides. The surfaces at both playgrounds are a combo of woodchips and a rubbery surface. Note: The larger playground, installed in 1994, is slated for renovations in fall 2012. The Scene A five-minute drive from Bowie Town Center (anchored by Macy’s and Sears and with lots of dining options), the 85-acre park is a lively place with people fishing (no license required for under age 16), jogging, biking, picnicking, and more. Paddleboats can be rented on weekends in summer (cash only), and the Bowie Ice Arena, Bowie Skate Park, and numerous sports fields are also on site. You’ll also find an amphitheater/stage and tons of picnic tables and grills (some sites are available to rent). The paved path running around the pond is good for a stroller walk. The closest parking area for accessing the playgrounds is in the lot next to the ice arena. There’s partial shade on both playgrounds. Keep an eye on little ones as there is no full fence around either playground and they are both close to the pond. Age Recommendation All ages for the park, but the equipment is best for five and under. Restrooms The boathouse has restrooms. Review and photos by Kathleen Seiler Neary.

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