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Charles Z. Horwitz

Located in the Retzer Nature Center




All General Admissions - $5
Cash or credit card at the door

Reservations for large groups appreciated:
Waukesha County Department of
Park and Land Use,
Parks System Division
(262) 548-7801

Waukesha County's Retzer Nature Center

All public programs begin with a brief tour of the current evening sky.  
This includes, visible planets, finding directions, locating the moon,
and identifying some favorite seasonal constellations.

The DigiStar system is up and running!

Public  Planetarium Shows


All shows $5.00 per person
Unless otherwise noted.

Star divider

The planetarium has a new look


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

Here are new shows:




Children’s Show
(Recommended for Grades 1 - 3)

Our Place in Space


Saturdays:     January        6, 13, 20, 27
Time:        11:00 am

This award-winning children’s planetarium show introduces jungle animals
and a space crossword puzzle to explore the wonders of the universe.
This program will inspire your young astronomer to appreciate the beauty of the night sky.
A family classic!

General Public

The Stargazer


Saturdays:     January        6, 13, 20, 27
Time:        1:00 pm

Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura of the television series, STAR TREK)
narrates this fascinating program about stars.
“Stargazer” traces the life experiences of astronomy professor Dr. James Kaler.
From childhood to adult, his love for the sky shows us all that there is a “human” connection to the stars.

Jan Boree Presentation
General Public


January   28

Show runs every 1/2 hour from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Fee: Free as part of Waukesha Jan Boree

Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?

This amazing planetarium program explores the
possibility that an asteroid may have killed the dinosaurs.
Realistic and scientifically-accurate computer generated animation brings
dinosaurs back to life in a big way!
Join us for this fantastic journey back in time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
This program is great for all ages.


February and March


Children’s Show
(Recommended for Grades K - 2)

The Little Star that Could


Time:        11:00 am

Saturdays:     February    3, 17, 24
Saturdays:     March        3, 10, 17, 24

By giving the stars “personalities,” this classic planetarium program
introduces children to the sun, moon and planets
seen in the day and night sky.
Don’t miss this chance to see stars come
alive to make learning astronomy a space adventure!

General Public

Space Aliens – Looking for Life in the Universe


Time:        1:00 pm

Saturdays:     February    3, 17, 24
Saturdays:     March        3, 10, 17, 24   

Meet two fascinating people who are curious about finding life in the universe.
One is “Skeptical,” and says; maybe life exists elsewhere in the universe
but I really need more evidence of it, and “Hopeful,”
of course life is abundant on other planets in the universe.
Follow their conversations and make up your own mind in this beautiful,
yet somewhat mysterious space adventure.

Wild Winter Night Presentation
General Public


February    10

Show runs every 1/2 hour from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Fee: Included in the $2.00 entrance fee of $2.00 for Wild Winter Night.

Two Small Pieces of Glass

Join us in the back yard as this classic astronomy show
investigates the night sky using binoculars and telescopes.
Find out how telescopes work and experience the amazing discoveries
scientists have made with some of the world’s largest telescopes.  Excellent!



Earth Day Presentation

Perseus and Andromeda

Children’s Laser Show
Saturday:     April    28

Times:    Show runs every 1/2 hour from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm        
Fee: Free Admission

The skies shine with beautiful laser light to tell the story of how
Perseus saves Andromeda from Cetus, the mighty Sea Monster. 
Your children will love it!


Rusty Rocket’s Last Blast
Children’s Show

(Recommended for Grades 2 - 5)

Saturdays:     April        7,  14,  21

Saturdays:     May        12, 19, 26

Time:        11:00 am

This program introduces basic requirements for the flight of a rocket,
scale and distances to the sun, moon and planets,
and compares planetary environments.
This is an excellent new program.


Seven Wonders

General Public

Saturdays:     April        7,   14, 21
Saturdays:     May        12, 19, 26

Time:        1:00 pm

This program highlights the seven natural wonders of the ancient world then,
presents beautiful images of seven of the greatest astronomical wonders. 
Visually spectacular in full-dome, high definition video!

Solar system

Solar System STEAM

Children’s Show
(Recommended for Grades 3 - 6)

June         2,  9,  16,  23

Time:        11:00 am

The children in this show use science, technology, engineering,
art and math (STEAM) to build a solar system bike path in their town.
As they work together, they learn about the properties of the sun,
moon and planets as well as their sizes and distances.

Cosmic Colors

Cosmic Colors
General Public

June        2,  9,  16,  23

Time:        1:00 pm

Discover why the sky is blue, Mars is red and why things appear the colors they do.
Then step into the invisible universe to investigate the electromagnetic
energy all around us from the infrared light of a roaring
fire to the X-rays emitted by a black hole.


July / August

There are no public programs scheduled for the months of
July and August
but programs for groups of 10 or more can be
arranged by special request. (262)896-8423 or (262) 896-8007