Retzer Nature Center Waukesha

6 Reasons to love Waukesha

Waukesha is a place loved by all in Lake Country and Waukesha County. Some call Waukesha the heart of Waukesha County, and I couldn’t agree more. Waukesha has also been called, “Guitar Town” and “Spring City” – read on to find out the reasons to love Waukesha! 

The City of Waukesha Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department (WPRF), in
partnership with ProHealth Care, announces the Trail Challenge beginning now through Oct. 13, 2024.

The Trail Challenge highlights ten of the City’s trails. Residents are encouraged to hike the ten trails over the coming months, identify the animal on a trail sign halfway through the walk, and earn prizes.
“This is a unique opportunity to discover ten breathtaking trails, connect with nature and obtain health benefit rewards,” said Mary Berg, Recreation Service Manager.

“ProHealth Care is dedicated to improving our community’s health and well-being,” said Sarah Butz,
ProHealth Director of Community Benefit. “Exercise, recreation, and time spent outdoors with family
and friends, are key components for a healthy lifestyle.” 

Participants completing the Trail Challenge are eligible for prizes. Completed passports may be returned to Waukesha City Hall on Sun., Oct. 13 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm to win prizes (while supplies last).

Two free Trail Challenge kick off events will take place on Sat., June 15. Adults and Teens are
encouraged to learn more about the Park System through an educational presentation. Presentations
will be held at 9:00 am and 10:30 pm at EB Shurts, 810 W. College Ave. and participants must preregister Families are encouraged to drive through and pick up an
explorer kit on Sat., June 15 beginning at 8:30am at EB Shurts (first come, first serve).
In addition, each Tuesday starting June 18, a new Trail Challenge will be featured on the City of
Waukesha Facebook page. Each week, one participant of the Facebook challenge will win a prize.

This summer, Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry (WPRF) is teaming up with the Friends of WPRF to launch a new program “Where You Belong.” This is an opportunity for individuals to meet up at free programs and events to improve their social connection and health by connecting with
new people, participating together, and making new friends. Participants will be part of an exclusive
welcoming reception.

“Together we can demonstrate why Waukesha is Where You belong,” said Mary Berg, Recreation
Service Manager. “All participants are encouraged to make more intential connections through
facilitated introducations and build community”.

“The City of Waukesha Parks and Recreation is where many memories and friendships begin and are
cultivated. It plays a vital role in enhancing lives, ensuring health, building strong families and a more
connective community,” said Mayor Shawn Reilly.

WPRF fosters a sense of belonging in the community by providing welcoming and inclusive programs,
essential services for all ages and abilities, and safe, accessible spaces to build meaningful connections.

Summer meet up events include:
o Tues., June 11: Tribute Tuesday Concert, Cutler Park, 6:30 pm meet by the guitar sign to the
right of the stage, bring your lawn chair.
o Thurs., June 13: 101 Ways to Water Walk, Buchner Pool, 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm (Raindate: June
20) Meet by the bike rack at 5:00pm near the front of the building.
o Thurs., June 27: Civic Band Concert, Cutler Park, 7:30 pm meet by the guitar sign to the right of
the stage, bring your lawn chair.
o Wed., July 3: Free Beginner Pickleball Clinic at 6:00 pm at Lowell Park must pre-register
o Mon., July 15: Monday Night Movie in the Park, Polar Express Pre-Movie activity at 6:00 pm
meet by the guitar sign to the right of the stage, bring your lawn chair.
o Mon. July 15: Fit in the Park – free outdoor Zumba, ages 16+, 6:00 to 7:00 pm (No Registration
Required) Rotary Building outside patio (riverside)
o Thurs., July 25: Thistle Thursday – Meet to maintain the Butterfly Garden, all ages, 10:00 am to
Noon, meet on back patio at EB Shurts
o Thurs., August 22: Neighborhood Beer Garden, Rivers Crossing Park, 5:00pm meet by the
shelter, bring a lawn chair.

We at Lake Country Family Fun have put together a list of the 6 reasons we love Waukesha with awesome help from our friends from the Waukesha Pewaukee Visitors Bureau.

Visit Waukesha Pewaukee
LCFF Logo Lake Country Family Fun New Whitebrush

1. Rich History

  • Waukesha is home to the great Les Paul who invented the solid body electric guitar, first 8-track tape recorder, and more. This is the reason why Waukesha is also coined “Guitar Town”. 

  • Waukesha is the first home to resident Indian tribes like Sauk, Menomonie, Winnebago and Potawatomi.

  • Waukesha was originally known as “Spring City” for its fresh spring waters thought to have healing properties.  Due to this notion, many flocked here and it was considered a resort town for a long while. 

  • Waukesha hosts Wisconsin’s oldest Fair, the Waukesha County Fair, each July at the Waukesha County Expo Center and Fairgrounds! Fun Fact, this year was the 176th fair.

  • The Cutlers founded Waukesha and hence there is a park named, “Cutler” park. Being a Cutler myself I traced the history back and found that I am not the same Cutlers that founded Waukesha (bummer!)

2. Awesome Architecture

  • Waukesha’s walkable and charming downtown offers more than just great shops and dining, but some beautiful, historical architecture. We just love the Rotunda building and attending events there – it’s simply unique! FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE is an awesome, outdoor walkable event loved by many.

  • The stone buildings lining main street, historic courthouse and churches nod to a bygone era and also make for some great photo ops especially by the waterfalls.

  • Guitar murals and sculptures can be found sprinkled throughout the city as well!

  • The Ingleside Hotel underwent a building upgrade (inside and out) in recent years and is an amazing staple in this area, boasting the only water park in the county.

3. The Fox River 

  • Downtown Waukesha has the Fox River running through it. The riverside is beautifully landscaped and offers runners, bikers, rollerbladers and those who enjoy a long stroll a lovely paved path alongside the river (3-mile path). You can even enjoy the water and rent a paddle boat or kayak – along with bike rentals too! 

  • You will find Frame park at the North End, where you can enjoy the formal gardens in the spring, summer and early fall. Frame Park is also home to a large playground, that just underwent renovation (completed September 18, 2019) to become a fully accessible playground! 

4. Culture, Embraced 

  • From our growing dining scene with great restaurants like Pat’s Rib Place, Tofte’s Table, Steaming Cup, People’s Park, Didi’s Supper Club and Spring City Winehouse to local artists showcased in numerous galleries and fun events promoting the city’s passion like Waukesha Art Crawl, Friday Night Live and Farmers Market… there is an appreciation for art, music, and food! 

  • The Parades are a part of the Waukesha Culture.  With everything that happened at the Waukesha Christmas parade in 2021, the community has only gotten stronger. The City of Waukesha announced that Monday, July 3, 2023, shall be known as Dancing Grannies and 610 Stompers Day in Waukesha, as they will be in the 4th of July parade the following day. 

  • Coffee Shops in Waukesha are abundant and are all unique. We love Mountain Top Coffee and Mama D’s. Find all the Coffee Shops here in the Waukesha tab.

  • The Waukesha County Airport is a great venue and recently was updated!  The FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS is an awesome event for the family! Talk about exploring a variety of cultures through the various Food Trucks that attend the event. (My kids love this event!)

5.  Trails galore!  

  • Waukesha is home to Minooka Park, Retzer Nature Center, Fox River Park, Glacial Drumlin Trail, and Lowell Park. So if you are looking for an outdoor adventure, it is easily accessible.

  • You can read about Jann’s review of the Waukesha, Waukesha County Parks for Fox River Park here, Minooka Park here and the Retzer Nature Center here

6. Urban meets Nature 

  • Waukesha is a city that offers a nice balance with an urban downtown AND access to lots of countryside including parks and lakes. Despite it being very much a developed city, there is nature around every corner. 

  • The Library is amazing.  Read Jann’s review of the Waukesha County Library here.

  • Monkey Joe’s (urban) is a family-favorite in Waukesha as is the slide at Fox River Park (Nature)!

  • The campuses of Carroll University, UW Milwaukee at Waukesha and the Waukesha County Technical College are both mixed with urban and nature and make beautiful additions to Waukesha.

  • Waukesha is also closely situated to Pewaukee Lake and many other lakes in general if the water is what you see.

Waukesha County Parks Tour: Retzer Nature Center

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