Waukesha County

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Retzer Nature Center:

Updated: Mon., May 9, 2022

Project Updates: The Discover Trail Project Area at Retzer Nature Center may be temporarily CLOSED for construction (see Trail Map).

We are working on finalizing Phase #2 of the project inspring 2022. Please follow all posted signs. Learn more about the project.

Retzer Nature Center

What's happening at Retzer Nature Center:

Come check out all that Retzer Nature Center has to offer! We have a variety of trails to see and discover new things all year round! 


Retzer Nature Center

S14 W28167 Madison St
Waukesha, WI 53188

General Information: (262) 896-8007

No Dogs Allowed 
(Leashed service dogs permitted.)
Read more about our No Dogs Policy


Nature Center Grounds: 
Daily: Sunrise - 10 pm 

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

Learning Center Building and Planetarium Holiday Closures:

  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 30 
  • Independence Day, Monday, July 4

Special Events
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.

Project Updates: The Discover Trail Project Area at Retzer Nature Center may be temporarily CLOSED for construction (see Trail Map). We will be working on improvements to this area through mid-fall 2021. Please follow all posted signs. Learn more about the project.

Help revitalize Retzer's old Adventure Trail with expanded accessibility for all ages and abilities. The new Discovery Trail will include a variety of "Exploration Stations" for outdoor education, sensory-based play experiences, and STEM activities for families and school groups. 

Leave your mark on the boardwalk at Retzer Nature Center with a custom engraved plank. The Leave Your Mark Project provides an opportunity for patrons of Retzer to contribute to the ongoing enhancement of the Nature Center.


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.  

Friends of Retzer
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!

Plant Information
Find helpful information on Native Plant Identification and Invasive Species control.




The Tap Yard Beer Garden Brookfield (May 4 - Oct. 30)

Fox Brook Park
More details


Phenology Hike - Menomonee Park

Menomonee Park
More details


Clean Boats, Clean Waters Inspector Training

Public Agency Center – 333 E Washington St (Room # 3224), West Bend, WI 53095
More details


Bird Survey

Muskego Park
More details


Environmental Education Outdoor Classroom: Wonderful Wetlands

Retzer Nature Center
More details

  • 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.

Retzer Nature Center
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