S14 W28167 Madison St • Waukesha 53188 (directions)
Nature Center Grounds:
Learning Center Building:
Building Closed / Grounds Open
**No dogs** (more info) • Leashed service dogs permitted
Free entry and parking. No Parks annual membership / Parks daily permit required.
View Special Events and programs may charge fee for entry / participation.
• Events Calendar
Interactive Trail Map - Click arrows above for Map Legend
These rules are in addition to all Park Rules.
Retzer Nature Center was John and Florence Retzer’s retirement home. John purchased the original 90 acres from the Federal Land Bank in 1938. The Retzer’s immediately began restoring the degraded land with over 26,000 trees, shrubs, and flowers, many obtained from the Wisconsin Conservation Department. These plantings can be enjoyed today. In 1973, Florence Horn Retzer bequeathed her property to Waukesha County for park purposes. Her vision was "to conserve the scenery, natural life and wildlife, leaving the land unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Guided by Mrs. Retzer’s wishes, the Waukesha County Park System began developing a nature center in 1974. Significant land acquisitions in 1980 and 1984 expanded the site to 335 acres. The Nature Center focuses on environmental education, natural land management, community restoration, and wildlife habitat improvement. Today restored prairies, a colorful butterfly and rain garden, and an oak opening demonstration area greets visitors and compliment the Retzer’s original homestead.
The Retzer Environmental Learning Center and the Horwitz-DeRemer Planetarium addition opened in May of 2005.
School or Scout Programs
To schedule a program, visit www.waukeshacounty.gov/environmentaled or call (262) 970-6680 with questions. Limited funding may be available through a Friends of Retzer Nature Center Educational Program Grant. Please visit their website for more information.
Volunteer as a Retzer Nature Center Teaching Naturalist
An apprenticeship program to become a Volunteer Teacher Naturalist who can assist Education Naturalist staff with environmental education programs for school groups, scouts, and the general public. Recommended for ages 18+.
Find helpful information on Native Plant Identification and Invasive Species control.
Retzer Nature Center
Address: S14 W28167 Madison St., Waukesha, WI 53188
General Information: (262) 896-8007
Environmental Learning Center Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.); 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Saturday); Closed (Sunday)
Retzer Nature Center Ground Hours: Sunrise - 10:00 p.m. (Year-Round)
There is no daily entrance fee at Retzer Nature Center