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  • What's happening at Retzer Nature Center.

    The Nature Center is alive with color. Come for a visit and see the landscape's artistic display.

  • Retzer Nature Center
  • Retzer Nature Center

    S14 W28167 Madison St
    Waukesha, WI 53188

    (262) 896-8007

    Nature Center Grounds

    Sunrise to 10 pm (Year-Round) 
    Visitor Center:
    8 am - 4:30 pm (Daily)

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    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.
    Rules & Regulations
    - 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.
  • Online Registration is now available for
    Retzer Nature Center Public Programs


    Waukesha County Environmental Education
    Activity Guide
    August 2016 - February 2017

    Retzer Rangers(2)
    Where: Retzer Nature Center
    From: 12/12/2016 4:30:00 PM To: 12/12/2016 5:30:00 PM


    Ages: 5-7 year olds  Fee: $4.00  Register By: Friday, December 9

    "Preparing For Winter"  Learn about how all living creatures at Retzer prepare for a long winter...do they stay here or do they travel far away? We will also create a treat for our winter winged friends. 


    Wee Wonders(19)
    Where: Retzer Nature Center
    From: 12/13/2016 9:30:00 AM To: 12/13/2016 10:30:00 AM


    Ages: 2-4 year olds Fee: $4.00 Register By: Friday, December 9

    "Wild Safari"  No stuffed animals will be harmed during this adventure; off to the wilds of Retzer, as we hunt for the untamed creatures hidden along the trails. 


    Winter Wildlife Tracking(1)
    Where: Retzer Nature Center
    From: 1/7/2017 9:00:00 AM To: 1/7/2017 11:00:00 AM


    Families & Scouts Fee: $5.00   Register by: Friday, January 6  Animal tracks are important clues but nibbled branches, stray animal fur, or scat makes these clues all significant to the story they tell. Participants will learn how to identify the tracks for different animal species, and read the animal's activities. We will even learn how to move the way different animals do in order to make certain kinds of tracks. When you learn to read the signs, it's like being let in on little secrets of animals life. 


    Winter Wildlife on Snowshoes(12)
    Where: Retzer Nature Center
    From: 1/7/2017 1:00:00 PM To: 1/7/2017 3:00:00 PM


    Adults/ Families & Scouts  Fee: $5.00  Register by Friday prior to program date    Winter is a great time to get out and explore the environment, and snowshoes are a fun way to do it. Join a Retzer Naturalist as you trek the trails in the silent world of winter on snowshoes. The program will emphasize wildlife tracks and signs and recreational snowshoeing as you connect to your winter surroundings.


    Retzer Rangers(1)
    Where: Retzer Nature Center
    From: 1/9/2017 4:30:00 PM To: 1/9/2017 5:30:00 PM


    Ages: 5-7 year olds  Fee: $4.00  Register By: Friday, January 6

    "Let It Snow"  Discover the amazing beauty of snow flakes and ice crystals. We will read about how a photographer found how unique they are!


  •  NEW Online Services

        Purchase Annual Stickers, register for      
        programs or purchase golf gift cards!

    2017 Annual Sticker Pricing
    $32.00     1-Vehicle    
    $50.00     2-Vehicle Package  (MUST purchase with first sticker)

    Senior (60 years and older)
    $16.00     1-Vehicle
    $27.00     2-Vehicle Package  (MUST purchase with first sticker)