Thank you for your interest in using the facilities at the Desert Outdoor Center at Lake Pleasant. The Desert Outdoor Center is nestled in the hills of the Sonoran Desert overlooking the waters of Lake Pleasant, one of the most beautiful locations in the Valley of the Sun. The Desert Outdoor Center is a beautiful and unique facility...the "perfect" location for your wedding reception. You and your guests are sure to experience a truly memorable day.

The Desert Outdoor Center provides many resources for your wedding day. To enter the facility, all guests will pass through a guarded gateway to ensure that no uninvited persons will attend your event. As your guests arrive or during cocktail hour, they can wander the exhibit hall to see many native desert animals, which is a favorite of both child and adult alike. Large, private dressing areas are provided for the entire bridal party to get ready for the special day. Exchange your vows during a sunset ceremony at the terraced amphitheater overlooking scenic Lake Pleasant. The lake, mountains and desert provide a picturesque backdrop for wedding photos you will treasure for a lifetime. The spacious multi-purpose room is an ideal reception location adaptable to your special bridal style and the large commercial kitchen is ideal for your caterer's use.

We can "pencil you in" on any available date, with no cost or obligation, for 30 days. The reservation office is open Monday thru Friday 8am-5pm. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact our Office Secretary at (602) 372-7470 ext.200.

Wedding Facility Rental Information

The Desert Outdoor Center is pleased to make its amenities available for your special event. However, because the Center is a facility of Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department, there are a number of restrictions placed upon its use. To help you make your decision regarding the use of the Center, we ask that you study our guidelines carefully. Your cooperation is needed in complying with the following regulations to ensure the success of your event, the security of the facilities and the protection of the surrounding natural environment.


Reservations for wedding ceremonies, receptions and other rentals are on a first come first serve basis. Facility rental requires that you apply for a Special Use Permit.

WEDDING Ceremony & Reception PER EVENT ($500 deposit*)
In Season (Sept-May):
99 or fewer guests
100-150 guests
151-200 guests
*Deposit is part of charge
Off Season (June-August):
99 or fewer guests
100-150 guests
151-200 guests
*Deposit is part of charge

WEDDING Ceremony only PER EVENT ($250 deposit*)
In Season (Sept-May)
*Deposit is part of charge
Off Season (June-August)
*Deposit is part of charge

Deposit Fee

Deposit Fees as listed in the fee schedule are $500 for ceremony and reception, and $250 for ceremony only.

Special Use Permit

The Desert Outdoor Center's primary mission is to serve as an educational center, therefore to hold a special event at the facility, the Maricopa County Parks & Recreation Department requires a Special Use Permit. After the application is received, a Special Use Permit and Operating Plan will be issued and must be signed by the Permittee, who is the party responsible for rental fee payment(s). It must be returned within 30 days of issuance or the reservation will automatically be forfeited and removed from the calendar.

Rental Space & Inclusions

The Center is rented "as is." Rental includes exclusive use of the following: multipurpose room, amphitheater, commercial kitchen, exhibit hall, private dressing areas, restrooms, Honeymoon Cove Trail, gate & parking lot attendants, tables, chairs (inside use only), and a podium with one wired microphone.


For the ceremony, the outdoor amphitheater may hold up to 200 seated guests. Legal occupancy within the multi-purpose room is 150 guests. For events with more than 150 guests, outdoor areas may be setup (i.e. tenting) at your own expense with prior permission from the Center's Supervisor, who will determine whether occupancy is at capacity.

Rental Hours

The Center facilities will be available only during the hours indicated in the Special Use Permit. All events must end by 11 pm and will have 30 minutes to leave the premises. After a ½ hour grace period, an additional 50% surcharge per hour (based on the total facility rental charge) will be added to the fee for the use of the Center facilities.

Rental Fees & Payment Policy

Rental of the Center will be billed at an hourly rate. Please refer to the Desert Outdoor Center Reservation Fee Schedule for complete rate per hour information. A summer discount of 25% during the months of August and September is available on the Center's rental fee only.

Balance of all charges is due 30 days prior to the event. No tax or service charge will be applied to the rental fees. All deposits and payments may be made in the form of cash, check, credit card, money order or cashier's check. All payments should be made out to "The Desert Outdoor Center." We request that cash payments be made in the exact amount due.

Postponement of Event

Any change in the event date must be agreed to in writing by both the Desert Outdoor Center and Permittee and will result in a modification of the contract price to conform with the current rates. In the event all parties agree to change the event date, all payments previously made towards the rental of the facility, with the exception of the Reservation Fee & Special Use Permit Fee, shall be credited toward any remaining or additional charges.

Cancellation Policy

If a cancellation occurs fewer than 30 days in advance of the event, all deposits and fees are non-refundable and no refund will be granted. Payments for events that are transferred (from one date to another) are non-refundable regardless of cancellation date. Refund checks will be mailed 6-8 weeks of receipt of cancellation.

Inclement Weather

The Center assumes no liability for inclement weather that affects the event or for any occurrence that may impact the event which is outside the Center's control. With the multipurpose room as a rainy day back-up, in most cases, inclement weather is not an issue in planning for an outdoor experience. You are responsible for any additional rentals required to accommodate the needs of the event.

Event Representative

A responsible party must be designated as an Event Representative prior to the start of the event. The Event Representative may be neither the bride nor groom. It will be the responsibility of the Event Representative to be available to answer questions and assist Center staff in enforcing all rules and regulations and (s)he must check out with a Center staff member at the end of the event and sign the Event Checklist before leaving the facility. If the Event Representative becomes intoxicated at any point during the event, the Center Supervisor may terminate the event as a breach of contract. The Event Representative must be at the Center during the entirety of the event.

Access to the Center

Access to the Center is restricted by an entry gate. A gate code will be designated especially for your event, which will be given only to the members of the wedding party, special guests, and vendors who will be arriving for set-up. At the designated guest arrival time, a member of the Center's staff will be posted at the gate to welcome your guests and direct them through the gate.

Pre-event Walk-through

An on-site inspection of the facilities and our thorough understanding of your specific needs are essential to the success of any special event. A walk-though with all involved parties (Permittee, Event Representative, Center staff member, event planner, etc.) must be held no less than two weeks in advance of the event. At this time, a Set-up & Decoration Plan must be agreed to by all Parties.


The Center will allow a rehearsal of up to one hour in duration on weekdays at no extra charge. Additional time will be charged $140.00 per hour. Rehearsals must conclude by 8 p.m. The rehearsal date and time are subject to change, which is more common during prime months.

Vendor Selection

The Center provides only the venue. All costs of food, floral, rentals, entertainment, and other features of the event are your responsibility. Once the service vendors have been selected, key contact names and phone numbers for each vendor must be provided to the Center. It is your responsibility to make sure that these guidelines are provided to any outside vendor, and that these vendors follow the rules of the Center.

You are also responsible for supplying a copy of each vendor's Worker's Compensation and Employer's Liability Insurance to the Center within two weeks of the event.


You may use the caterer of your choice or any person in possession of a Maricopa County approved Food Service License. Enclosed you will find a sample of the Kitchen Usage Agreement that will be required for anyone who is using the kitchen facilities. It is your responsibility to pass all necessary information to the catering staff or those who are using the kitchen facilities.

Alcoholic Beverages

Only the following alcohol may be served: beer, malt beverages, wine, and champagne. No hard liquor is permitted on the premises. The Center does not allow self-service of alcoholic beverages, so an insured bartender/caterer must be provided at any event serving alcohol. If any person other than the bartender/caterer is found serving alcohol, we reserve the right to end the event as a breach of contract. Alcohol cannot be sold at any time during the event. Alcohol may not be served in glass containers. Beverage service must conclude at least 30 minutes prior to an event's ending time.


DJs, acoustic and amplified music are permitted at the Center. The volume of music must remain at a level satisfactory to guests and Center staff.


Photos are permitted throughout the Center. However, no photographers, guests, or equipment will be allowed off marked trails and walkways.


Tent rental must be through a licensed vendor and approved by the Center Supervisor. Tenting must be located in the open spaces behind the Center. Stakes may not be used to secure tenting; tenting may be secured with water barrels, sand bags or concrete blocks.

Deliveries (Personal and Rental)

All deliveries and pick-ups must be arranged with the Center staff. The Center does not have areas for the storage of personal belongings or rental equipment. Therefore, all deliveries of supplies and equipment must occur no sooner than the day before of the event with advanced notice of time of delivery, unless special arrangements have been made prior to the event. Deliveries and pick up of rental equipment must be made between the hours of 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday and 8 am -12 pm on Saturday. Center staff will not sign for personal or rented supplies and equipment. If a vendor requires a signature upon delivery, a responsible party must be available to sign the delivery slip. Maricopa County or any Center staff is not responsible for loss or damage to property brought onto the premises and is not responsible for set up and breakdown of any rental equipment. All rental equipment must be scheduled for pick up by 11 a.m. the morning following the event, unless special arrangements have been made prior to the event.

Equipment belonging to the Center

Our banquet tables are 60" round, sit 6-8 guests, and we have 24 tables available. We also have 5', 6', and 8' rectangular tables available by request. Two 12' x 30" buffet tables are supplied. Gift table, cake table, and DJ table can also be set up by request. All tables come with white, lap-length tablecloths. The chairs supplied by the Center are chrome/burgundy plastic stackable chairs. All chairs are for indoor use only. We do not supply skirting, chair covers, napkins, china or flatware.

You are responsible for ensuring that vendors provide sufficient extension cords, generators, etc. to cover the event's electrical needs. Failure to notify Center staff of electrical requirements may result in inadequate power or power failure.


The Set-up & Decoration Plan must be provided to the Center during the pre-event walkthrough. No physical alterations may be made to any part of the Center's facility or property. No doorway or public corridor may be blocked in any way. Please see the Decorating Guidelines for more information regarding event decorations.

Audio/Visual Equipment

Arrangements for the rental of audio/visual equipment must be made at least 72 hours prior to event. Pricing varies depending upon requested equipment. You may provide your own equipment, or bring in a contract company of your choice.

Clean Up

You are responsible for returning the rented space to original condition. All rental items, decorations, flowers, personal belongings, etc. must be removed from the public areas immediately following the event and be picked up from the Center by 11 am the following day. The Center staff will remove any equipment (i.e. tables, chairs, etc.) belonging to the Center. The Center staff will not be responsible for the set-up or take-down of non-Center equipment. Any decorations or personal items remaining from the event will be removed by the Center staff and may be destroyed, sold, or otherwise disposed of without any liability to the Center. If any damage or theft has occurred, it will be noted on the damages page of the Event Checklist and signed by the Event Representative before leaving the facility. If the damage is found the morning after the event, the Permittee will be contacted immediately. The Center will determine the amount to be billed to the Permittee.

The caterer is responsible for clean up during and after the event. Before departing the premises, the caterer must complete a Kitchen Clean up Checklist that must be approved by a Center staff member via a final inspection. If the caterer cannot, for any reason, provide full clean up, the Permittee is responsible for contracting a clean up service. When a caterer is not used, the Permittee assumes the responsibility of the caterer and clean-up of the kitchen facility. Charges for unusual clean-up required in the kitchen after the event will be billed to the Permittee.

Vehicles & Parking

There are a limited number of parking spaces available to guests, however, a parking attendant will be provided during the event to guide guests to appropriate parking areas.

The Center Staff must be advised when valet parking or charter bus arrival has been arranged. Valet parking requires documentation of an agreement with a permitted valet parking company and an accompanying certificate of liability. Parking attendants and drivers must park cars/buses in designated areas and at all times in a manner so they do not block the Center's entrance or exit for emergency vehicles.

Taking off from and/or landing by any plane, helicopter, glider, balloon, dirigible, parachute, or other aerial apparatus is specifically prohibited on the Center grounds, except when human life is endangered.

No person is allowed to operate or dock any boat, yacht, cruiser, canoe, kayak, raft, or other watercraft on the pier in Honeymoon Cove.

Flora & Fauna

As a Maricopa County park, the Center asks all guests to show the utmost respect for all forms of plants and wildlife so that our desert may be preserved intact for all to enjoy. All guests must stay on designated trails and roadways to protect the native flora of the desert. Trimming, cutting, or altering of any plants or trees can be extremely damaging and is not allowed. For the safety of the wildlife and plants near the Center, please do not throw rice, birdseed, confetti, or similar materials. Hunting, fishing, handling, harassing, or disturbing the wildlife is not permitted. Please leave the grounds as you found them.


Minors must be accompanied at a ratio of one adult to every 5 minors. An adult must be with a minor at all times and are responsible for their safety and discipline. Minors must stay on trails and are not allowed to remove any items from the premises. Minors are allowed in all rented areas unless the Center is threatened by damage. The Center staff reserves the right to close exhibit halls to the renting party under those circumstances.


Only service animals for persons with disabilities are permitted on the Center property.


Tobacco use is prohibited inside all buildings. Designated smoking areas are marked outside the facility with proper disposal receptacles.

Center Staff

A member of the Center staff will be on premises throughout your event. Center staff will open and close the building, oversee gate entrance and parking areas, provide assistance in building and equipment use and ensure the event meets specifications outlined in the Special Use Permit.