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Desert Discovery Center

The Proposed Desert Discovery Center (DDC) at the Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is envisioned to provide opportunities for residents and visitors to discover the story of the Upper Sonoran Desert. Through exhibits and environmental experiences presented in a natural setting, the center will inspire learning about the desert through programs designed to encourage preservation and instill a sense of harmony with and respect for the desert environment in which we live.


Phase III

This phase of feasibility study assessed private funding capacity and interest, evaluated public funding options, and recommended a business, operating and management model for the DDC.  

The City Council appointed the 5-member DDC Phase III Committee which held a series of public meetings to develop its recommendations.  The Committee met 17 times between May 2011 and February 2012.  To access meeting minutes and agendas, please click here.

As a result of this extensive review and analysis the DDC Phase III Feasibility Committee produced and approved Recommendations and a Work Program for moving the DDC project forward.  On April 3, 2012 the City Council adopted Resolution No. 8998 approving these Recommendations and Work Program for the DDC project.


Phase II

Planning focused on refining concepts, conducting a statistically significant market survey to determine the character and content of the DDC preferred by residents, visitors and business interests, identifying preliminary building configuration and design opportunities, and preparing a preliminary business plan. 


On November 9, 2010 the City Council approved the Desert Discovery Center Feasibility Study Phase II report dated September 1, 2010 by Swaback Partners pllc.  

The full report is large - individual Sections can be downloaded below: 

Phase I

Planning was completed by ConsultEcon, Inc. and Exhibit Design Associates, who were hired to develop concepts for the DDC through a public involvement process.

       View the Phase I Report (pdf/16mb/205pp)

For questions regarding Phase 1, 2, or 3 of the Desert Discovery Center, please contact Kroy Ekblaw at 480-312-7064 or kekblaw@scottsdaleaz.gov or Bob Tunis at 480-312-7057 or rtunis@scottsdaleaz.gov .