General Information: (262) 896-8007
To schedule a school or scout program visit: www.waukeshacounty.gov/environmentaled or call (262) 970-6680 with questions.
Nature Center Grounds: Sunrise - 10 pm
Visitor Center: 8 am - 4:30 pm
No Dogs Allowed
(Leashed service dogs permitted.)
The Friends of Retzer support Retzer Nature Center in preserving and maintaining over 450 acres of prairie, forest, wildlife habitat, nature trails and environmental learning facilities in Waukesha County.
The state-of-the-art, 90-seat, Digistar-6 planetarium is owned and operated by the School District of Waukesha. With the new, high-definition laser projection system, guests can fly through the rings of Saturn, land spacecraft on Mars and travel at light speed to stars and distant galaxies... all without leaving their seats!
Find helpful information on Native Plant Identification and Invasive Species control.
Throughout the year, Retzer Nature Center offers a number of Special Events. Find out more about what is coming up next!
Whether it's the Nature Trail Loop, the Fen Boardwalk Trail, the Prairie Vista Trail or a winter snowshoe trail, Retzer Nature Center offers a variety of different trails for your next adventure
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 greet visitors and compliment the Retzer’s original homestead. The Retzer Environmental Learning Center and Charles Z. Horwitz Planetarium addition opened in May of 2005.
- Please stay on established trails.
- Wildlife is easily stressed, do not disturb dens or nests.
- Please respect the grounds by leaving plant and other natural materials for others to enjoy. Removal of plant material with naturalists permission only.
- Sorry, bicycles are not allowed on Nature Center lands or trails.
- Please park bicycles in bike racks.
- Dogs, pets, or horses are not allowed.
- Fires and alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
- No hunting, shooting, or littering.
- Please be considerate of other visitors