Archive for January, 2018

  • Chapter 151- Retzer Nature Center

    Happy New Year! It’s been a busy time here in the Storm house, so I’m catching up from one of our best hikes from before the holidays…Retzer Nature Center!  I knew it was a great place to go with kids, but for some reason didn’t make the 25 min drive from MKE to Waukesha.  I’m so glad my kids had off and we could finally go!

    We parked and headed in to the Nature Center to check in, and were delighted to find out that admission is free!  What a great resource.  I noticed the planetarium, well hold on.  My oldest who is a big fan of space, was drawn to the solar system models and exhibits, and we ended up peeking in the planetarium.  When we opened the door, a I heard a voice say “Hello?  Come on in!”.  AND THAT’S WHEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED.  The gentleman working in the planetarium gave us our own mini viewing of a Sesame Street’s One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure!  This isn’t a typical occurrence I’m sure, so check out this link for times and admission prices.

    Shortly after the viewing ended, we put our mittens back on and headed outside.  The kids and I decided to head west, and we quickly started the hunt for walking sticks and other treasures.  Our family is learning to read trail maps, so when the kids found the Nature Trail marked in red, they were pretty proud.

    Little T found a Wooly Bear and we all adored its cuteness and gently put it in the grass off of the trail.

    After hooking up with the Outer Hiking Trail and walking through the pine trees, we stopped for a snack in the sun.

    We stayed on the Outer Hiking Trail for the remainder of the hike, and found a beautiful hill to run around on!  I think I heard some “The hills are alive…with the sound of music” coming from my kids’ mouths.

    We followed the trail back to the pine plantation, and read all about the age of the forest, and learned why these trees are all in a row.

    I had a few dollars in my pocket, so I asked the kids if they were feeling big enough to go inside and make a donation.  Of course they said yes!  So I waited on a bench outside and gazed at the beauty around me.  When they didn’t come out for more than 5 minutes, I figured I should check on them.

    And inside, I found my four year old adding her name to the list that contained her siblings’ first names.  Apparently they wanted to somehow document the donation, which is adorable.

    The exhibits in the lobby are perfect for anyone, with lots of hands-on models, furs, skulls and more.

    We even got to see turtles and frogs mating!  For anyone who’s wondering, my response was super simple: the male animal is joining his sperm with the female’s egg.

    We’re definitely excited to head back to Retzer.  I was so grateful to find a free place for my kids and I to explore outside and refuel in nature!

    A big thanks to Waukesha County and the Friends of Retzer for this resource!  Check out their links to find ways to support their efforts.