Charles Z. Horwitz


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Skywatches Friends of C Z H P Planetarium Pics Events Pics General Links


Located at:

Retzer Nature Center
S14 W28167 Madison St.
Waukesha, WI  53188


  • 40 Foot diameter dome
  • 90 Theater style Seats
  • Digistar 6: Stars, video,
  • and sound
  • Spectacular special effects
  • Interactive science displays.
Programs Offered:

  • Year round public programs 
  • Children’s shows
  • Public sky watches
  • Scout merit badges
  • Family events
  • Catered events welcomed
  • Corporate events


What is a Planetarium?

A Planetarium theater is a special room with a dome shaped ceiling and a projector in the center which can recreate the day or night sky by projecting images of the stars, planets, the sun, the moon, and more.  The Digistar 6 software can be set to show the sky for any date, time,  or latitude.  Without leaving your seats, you will be transported beyond the city smoke and lights where the wonders of the heavens can best be seen.

The planetarium serves as a resource to the students, teachers, and the community, providing the most current trends in astronomy
Friends Memberships are available - For additional program information see our Friends page for the advantages!

School programs presented at the planetarium comply with the State of Wisconsin and National Science Educational Goals and Standards criteria.

The entrance to the planetarium, lobby area, and the theater are completely wheelchair accessible.
Expand your experience by enjoy the Retzer Nature Center facilities and grounds!

What is new at the planetarium?

jupiter spot

Waukesha’s Charles Horwitz Planetarium
Premieres New Video System
Digistar 6

For 39 years, the School District of Waukesha’s Charles Horwitz Planetarium has been using slides for its basic form of media projection, Now the planetarium will celebrate the beginning of its 40th year with the premiere of a completely new digital sound and video technology.  Digistar 6, will be combined with a new 7.1 surround sound system to transform the planetarium dome into an incredible immersive experience for visitors. Without leaving their seats, audiences can now trek through a rain forest, climb the heights of Mt. Everest or explore the depths of the world’s oceans.
Our focus will still be space; after all we are a planetarium.  With the new system we will be able to travel to galaxies, nebula, star clusters, and much more.  The stars will be brighter and have richer star colors.  You will be able to see the full subtle textures and colors of the Milky Way or travel to the Sun, Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects.  The aurora colors will be vivid and all around you.  Digistar 6 allows us so much more flexibility in presentations on the fly.
As Darth Vader once said: “Impressive, most impressive

When will this system be able to be experienced?
Our Digistar 6 system will debut this fall during the Retzer Nature Center’s Apple Harvest Festival.
What is Digistar 6?
It is high powered computer software that is used by NASA for training, along with a high-powered “host” computer and four, high-resolution “graphic processing” computers.  The 4,000 pixel presentation is made possible by sending the rendered graphic images through two new laser-phosphor video projectors to obtain high resolution images on our 40 foot dome.
Beginning in September, a new library of school and public programs will be available.  For a complete list of programs, please see Waukesha County’s Environmental Guide, or visit the Charles Horwitz Planetarium website:  
Finally and most importantly…
This entire $330,000 project was made possible by the generous donations of the “Friends of Retzer Nature Center,” the School District of Waukesha and the supportive public and private fund-raising activities promoted by the “Friends of the Charles Horwitz Planetarium.” 
Thank You