Waukesha County

Discovery Trail Project at Retzer Nature Center

Contributions from the Waukesha Rotary Club Foundation, the Friends of Retzer Nature Center, and funding from Community Development Block grants have made project phases one and two possible.

The project has revitalized Retzer's old Adventure Trail with expanded accessibility for all ages and abilities. The new Discovery Trail includes a variety of "Exploration Stations" for outdoor education, sensory-based play experiences, and STEM activities for families and school groups. See the Discovery Trail Map


Date Updates  
October 2020 - January 2021 Phase 1:  
  • Reconstruction of the old trail loop to ensure ADA accessibility
  • Construction of a new connector path to meet the new accessible boardwalk trail
  • Harvested trees for reuse in the design
  • Laid climbing boulders
  • Provided restoration with native trees, shrubs, and plants
May 2021 Phase 1: Completed  
July 12, 2021 Phase 3: Fundraising Began  Donate Today!
June 2021 - Winter 2021

Phase 2: 

  • Construction of entrance archway and signage
  • Installation of Exploration Stations: Insect Exploration, Wood Climbing Exploration, and a Natural Stone Outcrop Seating Wall
  • Installation of educational signage
 May 23, 2022 Phase 2: Completed  
June 22, 2022
4:30 pm
Discovery Trail Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting

Join us to celebrate the completion of Phase 2 of the Discovery Trail Project during National Pollinator Week.

Discover all the fun features along the trail and learn about local pollinators, too!

  • 4:30 pm: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
  • 5-6 pm: Pollinator Garden Planting, sponsored by Johnson’s Nursery & Information Stations with Southeast Wisconsin Master Gardeners
  • 6:30-7:30 pm: "Bee-utiful Planting for Pollinators" Program with Jennifer Lazewski, Executive Director Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

Donate for Phase 3 Today!

Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use is asking for your support to continue to enhance and expand the Discovery Trail into Phase 3 because everyone deserves the opportunity to connect with nature and explore our world.

Phase 3 Wish List Items Include: 

  • Interactive Nature Sensory Station
  • Wing Span Station 
  • Spider Web Station
  • Educational Signage
  • Native plants, trees and shrubs restoration

All levels of support are accepted and appreciated.
Every bit helps build barrier-free access to nature!

Email us to learn more!

A framed 24” x 36” sign will be displayed on the trail to recognize all contributions of $250 and over.


Monarch Butterfly

  • Extra Large logo (11” x 7”)
  • Participation in feature trail event
  • Certificate of Thanks
  • Three social media tagged posts
 $2,500 Green Darner Dragonfly
  • Large logo (7” x 5”)
  • Participation in feature trail event
  • Certificate of Thanks
 $1,000 Dog-day Cicada
  • Medium logo (5.25” x 3.5”)
  • Participation in feature trail event
  • Certificate of Thanks
 $500 Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
  • Small logo (4.25” x 2”)
  • Certificate of Thanks
 $250 Common Eastern Firefly
  • Name listed (3.35” x 2”)
  • Certificate of Thanks

An 11” x 8.5” printed Certificate of Thanks will be sent to supporters to recognize contributions under $250.
 $100 Wooly Bear Caterpillar
- Certificate of Thanks
$75  Reddish-brown Stag Beetle
 - Certificate of Thanks
$50  Milkweed Bug 
- Certificate of Thanks
$25  Meadow Spittlebug
- Certificate of Thanks
$10  Common Earthworm
- Certificate of Thanks
$5  Oleander Aphid
- Certificate of Thanks

Interested in sponsoring a whole 'Exploration Station' on the Discovery Trail?
Email us to learn more!

Donations in any amount are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law when given directly to Waukesha County. Charitable contributions to governmental units are tax-deductible under section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code if made for a public purpose.

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