Retzer Nature Center
WAUKESHA COUNTY PARKS - RETZER NATURE CENTER
Nature Center Hours:
Grounds: Sunrise to 10:00 pm
Visitor Center: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (closed some holidays)
Come and discover The Unseen World! This exhibit features a touch and discover area, native fish, teaching animals, and a walk-through prairie underground Room Rentals:
Imagine holding a meeting at a location that people will talk about for years. With a kitchen, audio and data systems, Retzer is the ideal setting for corporate meetings, showers, small weddings, and much more. And we haven’t even mentioned the view! For room rental information, please call 262-548-7801.
Retzer 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.
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.