For many years, the Outdoor Education Center at Lake Pleasant annually served thousands of school children. The converted guest ranch at the south end of Lake Pleasant had developed a reputation for delivering exciting and informative outdoor education programs. In 1992 this site was destroyed to accommodate the expansion of Lake Pleasant, so the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation built a replacement educational site. The doors of the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant officially opened on May 1, 1998 under the management of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department.
The Center was built into the hillsides surrounding Honeymoon Cove on the southeastern shore of Lake Pleasant. Buildings at the Center were constructed with concrete and masonry to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
The appearance, setting, and isolation of the Center enhance the desert experience for all visitors.
Facilities include an administration building that houses three classrooms, an exhibit room with live desert animals, a large multipurpose room that seats 150 and functions as a gathering spot and dining area, a full kitchen, and two dorms that house 75 people each and have private showers. The three classrooms seat about 50 people each, and consist of a science lab with microscopes, a resource room with computers, and a “room with a view” that doubles as a great place for business meetings. A 12-inch NASA telescope is housed in a special building with a retractable roof, and an outdoor amphitheater that seats 150 overlooks the lake and provides the perfect setting for weddings, concerts, and other gatherings.The Honeymoon Cove Trail affords a two-mile loop trek that is handicap accessible. It begins at the Center and winds its way through pristine Sonoran Desert along a peninsula that juts out into Lake Pleasant.