Maricopa County Parks and Recreation

Evening Programs


Plan an overnight resident camp at the Desert Outdoor Center. After a full day of classes your group can enjoy an evening of programming lead by a Ranger. Two evening programs can be selected, each lasting one hour in length. Then complete your groups evening roasting tasty marshmallows over an open fire pit located in the Center’s amphitheater. Comfortable dormitories located onsite sleep up to 150 people for your single or multiple night visits.

Below are evening programs available to groups staying overnight at the Desert Outdoor Center. Each program is 1 -1.5 hours in length and presented by staff.

Feel free to make modifications, or add your own favorite activities to the schedule. Contact the Centers Program Coordinator for equipment available for group use.


Amazing Race

This evening program will lead students through an obstacle course of activities. Participants will accomplish activities focusing on specific skills, such as listening, leadership and group cooperation. Accomplishing these tasks is dependent on how well the group works as a team.

Camp Songs

Gather around and sing some of your favorite camp songs. A great activity in all weather (held indoors when raining), children will have fun learning new tunes and singing old favorites. Add this tradition to the end of a wonderful experience.


Desert Idol

The entire world’s a stage as participants showcase their talents and try to impress the judges. Students will be able to express their more creative sides by signing up to participate in a talent show hosted by one of the rangers. This program can be done indoors/outdoors and can accommodate groups of all sizes. Participants can perform as soloists or in small groups. We will dance, sing and laugh our way into the night. Break a leg and try to avoid the wrath of the dreaded judges!

Desert Jeopardy


Participants can test their skills on the big board. Categories and questions are chosen from daytime programs and include academic standards related topics. This program is done indoors and can accommodate groups of 100 or less. Who will be the next Desert Outdoor Center jeopardy champion?

Dream Catcher

In this twilight activity, participants are introduced to folklore and Native American craft. Students will learn the legend of the Dream Catcher while creating their own. Campers are invited to hang their Dream Catchers above their bunks as they sleep at the Desert Outdoor Center. Class includes a minimal fee.

Evening Hike



Become a nocturnal creature and gain a sense of who is out and about during the evening hours. This is a great opportunity to spot animals not active during the day, like the owl, coyote, or ringtail. The hike starts at sunset and continues into night, allowing visitors to view the desert in a different way.


Investigating Owl Pellets

Subjects: Art, Science
Grades: 3-8


Students will learn and be able to understand the predator/prey relationships between the common owl and its prey through examining and dissecting the owl pellet. They will make predictions about the types of food and material that are consumed by owls and be able to critically think about why scientists may use owl pellets to examine the biology and characteristics of an owl. A minimal fee is charged for this program.

Sneaky Snakes

Subjects: Art, Science
Grades: 3 - 12

Students are introduced to some common Sonoran Desert snakes and discuss the unique adaptations and color patterns these snakes use to survive. Students will then enjoy an arts and craft project of designing and painting their own wooden snake to take home.


This evening program utilizes safe-handling practices of live, nonvenomous animals to give participants the opportunity for a "hands on" learning experience about snakes. A minimal fee is charged for this program.

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