Waukesha County

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Retzer Nature Center

S14 W28167 Madison Street, Waukesha, WI 53188
General Information: (262) 896-8007


Interactive Trail Map -
Click arrows above for Map Legend 

Hours

Nature Center Grounds: 
Open Daily: Sunrise - 10 pm (Year-Round)

Learning Center Building: 
Monday - Friday: 8 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 3 pm
Sunday: Closed

There is no daily entrance permit required at Retzer Nature Center.
Special Events may require admission fees.

No Dogs Allowed (Leashed service dogs permitted.) Our No Dogs Policy

More Information

  • Rules

    Nature Center Regulations

    • Nature Center Hours - Sunrise to 10 p.m.
    • No dogs allowed. (Service dogs permitted. See our No Dogs Policy)
    • Park in designated lot.
    • Only foot traffic allowed on trails.
    • Stay on designated trails, protect naturalized areas.
    • No hunting, shooting or trapping.
    • No smoking/vaping on the grounds.
    • Alcohol prohibited. (Beer and wine allowed with building rental permit.)
    • Professional photography requires a Special Use Agreement or Permit. (Please contact us for details: (262) 896-8007)
    • Youth organizations (under 18 years of age) must have adult supervision at all times.
    • No collection or removal of plant material or wildlife.
    • Leave no trace. Respect nature’s beauty.

    These rules are in addition to all Park Rules

  • History

    History

    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.

  • Policies
  • Learn More

    Additional Information

    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+. 

    Plant Information
    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