Milwaukee County Parks

Wehr Nature Center

Wehr Nature Center

Wehr Nature Center

Explore over five miles of nature trails through woodland, wetland, prairie and oak savanna on 220 acres of protected land in Whitnall Park.

Just outside the Visitor Center, you’ll discover labeled gardens featuring prairie, woodland and other plant varieties; a natural play space with a log cabin playhouse especially for kids; and an accessible deck over Mallard Lake. Wehr Nature Center also hosts nature-themed educational programming and special events year round.

The Visitor Center is open for front desk services, such as paying parking fees and restroom use. Masks are required indoors. Masks are encouraged outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The Nature Store is open on an irregular schedule; please call for current daily hours.


  • Visit
  • Events
  • Learn
  • Membership
  • Rentals


Entry to the nature center is free. Parking is $4 per vehicle.

Masks are required indoors and encouraged outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.


Visitor Center: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., seven days a week 
Note: Restrooms in the Visitor Center are available only during the hours of the building. At other times, portable toilets will be available outside. 

Parking Lot: 
November – January, the lot is open by 8 a.m. and closed at 5 p.m.
February – October, the lot is available dawn to dusk.

Trails: Open dawn to dusk, daily, year round

Explore Wehr Nature Center

Meet the Residents

Come inside the Visitor Center and speak to a naturalist to learn more about the wildlife that lives in the surrounding natural areas. See a few of our nature center resident reptiles in the Wildlife Room. 

Outdoor Play

Our natural playground features climbing rocks, Carol's Cabin, logs and a native plant garden.

Hike the Trails

The hiking trail loops are organized by the type of natural community they pass through and are marked with color-coded wooden posts. Unmarked connector trails help to link these loops to each other and to other parts of Whitnall Park. Note: the trails at Wehr are for walkers only. No runners, cycling or dogs.

Download the Trail Map

Mallard Lake

Wehr Nature Center is on the banks of Mallard Lake, which also features an accessible boardwalk to the waters edge. Fishing is NOT allowed.

Annual Events at Wehr

Halloween Haunts – October

Follow a jack-o'-lantern trail into the Enchanted Forest for a kooky and slightly spooky look at nature's misunderstood creatures. You'll meet costumed characters — such as owls, frogs and skunks — that serve as your educational guides to nature.

Read More! 

Maple Sugar Days – March 

Celebrate the spring thaw and our Wisconsin heritage at Maple Sugar Days. The program includes a short walk to the sugarbush, a visit to an old-time sugarin’ camp, a boil-down demonstration and hands-on activities for children. Maple tapping workshops are also held in March. 

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Bat Night – TBD

Be a part of Bat Central in Whitnall Park. Join us for an exciting hour of bat exploration and discover facts about these misunderstood creatures of the night. Using the latest technology, you’ll hear the ultrasonic echolocation of bats. The detector combines a system for recording the bat calls and a global positioning system. You can also discover interesting facts and information on how you can protect bats through participation in Citizen Science Monitoring.

Read More!

Bug Day – September

Explore the wonderful world of invertebrates at Wehr Nature Center’s Bug Day celebration! Show, Tell and Touch displays include live invertebrates found throughout Wisconsin and across the globe.

Read More!


Pop Up Nature – Multiple Dates

Want to explore nature with your children but don’t know how to get started? Stop in for a “pop-up” program with a nature expert to get your adventure on! There will be a naturalist-led activity at each session from 1-1:30, followed by self-guided activities you can enjoy with your family at your own pace. We provide the tools and know how, you supply the curiosity. Each program has a different theme, so make plans to join us all year!

Read More!


Nature Programing

Nature programing for children, groups and adults is held throughout the year. These programs encourage discovery and curiosity and help everyone build a personal connection to nature.

Summer camps for children ages 6 to 12 let children discover the natural world, make new friends and gain confidence as they learn new skills and take on outdoor adventures. Camps are led by professional naturalists who nurture each child’s natural sense of wonder.

Browse Upcoming Programs

Friends of Wehr

Friends of Wehr is a 501(c)3 dedicated to supporting the educational and interpretive efforts of Wehr Nature Center. The Volunteer Board of Directors works together with the nature center staff and volunteers to provide a place for all seasons and place for everyone.

As a Friends of Wehr member you’ll receive 

  • Free Parking
  • Unlimited admission to the Nature Center
  • 10% Nature Store Discount
  • Quarterly Newsletter – Wehr Words
  • Reduced Fees on Select Events/Programs
  • Free Admission for Cider Sunday
  • Advanced Registration for Halloween Haunts

Become a Member

Venue Rental

Indoor and outdoor spaces are available to rent at Wehr Nature Center for everything from business meetings to weddings.

  • All rentals include access to indoor restrooms, including the Family Accessible Restroom.
  • Enjoy smoke-free environments, inside and out.
  • NO alcohol may be brought to or be consumed at any rental at Wehr Nature Center.
  • A parking fee per vehicle is in effect during rentals.

Wehr Nature Center Gardener Room decorated for a birthday party

The Marilyn J. Gardner Room

The Gardner Room in Wehr Nature Center overlooks Mallard Lake and surrounding natural areas. To expand your event, you may also rent the outdoor amphitheater. No alcoholic beverages may be brought into the Center.

Available: Year round, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.

Rental Room Size: 50'x40'

Capacity: 100 banquet style or 110 theater style

Tables & Chairs: Available at no additional charge

Microphone/Podium/Screen: Available for a fee

For Details or to Book: Call (414) 425-8550

Outdoor Amphitheater & Fire Pit

The Wehr Nature Center amphitheater includes a small stage with fixed bench seating in a beautiful wooded setting. To expand your event, you may also rent the fire pit or the  indoor Gardner Room. 

Available: Spring – Fall, 8 a.m.–8 p.m.

Capacity: 195 with 3 people per bench — 63 benches with 3–4 people per bench, plus 3 wheelchair accessible spaces with temporary companion seats

Microphone/Podium: Available for a fee

For Details or to Book: Call (414) 425-8550


Wehr's Mallard Lake Pier

Wehr's Mallard Lake Pier

Ideal for intimate gatherings. Enjoy the scenic setting, surrounded by Mallard Lake:

Available: Spring – Fall, 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Capacity: 20

Minimum Rental Time: 1 hour

Canopy: Available for additional fee

For Details or to Book: Call (414) 425-8550

Wehr Viewing Deck

Viewing Deck

Ideal for intimate gatherings. Enjoy the scenic settings with Mallard Lake as the backdrop:

Available: Spring – Fall, 7 days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Capacity: 20

Minimum Rental Time: 1 hour

Tables & Chairs: Available at no additional charge

For Details or to Book: Call (414) 425-8550


Take a Virtual Tour

How to Find Us

9701 W. College Ave., Franklin, WI 53132, (414) 425-8550


  Parking Available

  Wheelchair Accessible

  Gift Shop


  Download Trail Map




9480 W. Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 257-PARK (7275)

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2020 rentals guide

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