REC Center



SAT & SUN   |  10 AM-4 PM

The last boat departs at 3 PM

The Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) was founded in 2008 as a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the City of Racine. Serving local residents, families, students, and youth groups, the REC seeks to promote appreciation, positive interaction, and responsible stewardship of the Root River and surrounding land (watershed) by providing residents and visitors with educational and recreational opportunities. In addition to offering kayak and canoe rentals during the summer season, the REC also hosts environmental education workshops for families, private events, and school field trips.

Rentals will be on a first-come, first-serve basis

Please note the following changes for this season:

  1. The bathrooms and REC building will be closed to the public. Rentals will take place outside down the hill by the boat launch.
  2. Only IDs may be used as collateral.




Individual Pass: $50
Family Pass: $90 with 4 members

Education center:  $25 per hour
Center + equipment:  $75 per hour

  Adults Students
Single Kayaks $10 per hour $8 per hour
Tandem Kayaks $15 per hour $12 per hour
Canoes $15 per hour $12 per hour



The REC is opened seasonally beginning the first week after Memorial day and ending the last week of September. We schedule private bookings on weekdays and evenings.  Events and equipment rental are weather permitting.


Held in the evenings during the summer, this environmental program is designed for community members ages 9 and up. Sessions cover the basics of kayaking, canoeing, and environmental education topics including rain gardens, and water chemistry. 

Middle school age scientists delve into concepts such as wildlife research, dissection, geology, and microscope discovery in this hands-on week-long camp. This program is run in collaboration with Parkside faculty and staff. 


In the beginning of each school year, the REC, in partnership with WATERshed, hosts and educates over 1,500 4th-grade Racine Unified School District students about the Root River watershed.

The REC is a site for annual Make-a-Difference Day activities in late October. Participants assist with trash removal from the Root River and surrounding land, yard maintenance, and winterizing the REC facility. 


If you are interested in planning a special event, please email or call to discuss specific needs, budgets, and reserve dates. 

  • Kayak and canoe tours
  • Invasive species education and removal
  • Volunteer activities
  • Watershed education
  • River animals programs
  • Raingarden workshops
  • Birthday parties
  • School field trips
  • Scouts badge workshops
  • Family outings
  • Summer camps
  • Youth programs
  • Corporate volunteer projects


Environmental Education Workshops For Community Members

Topics will include the basics of canoeing and kayaking, water quality, birds and fish of the Root River!

Ages:  9 yrs and up
When:  Tuesdays beginning July 2, 2024 | 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Cost:  One-time $10 registration fee
Registration:  Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  To register, please email
Attendance:  Participants are not required to attend every workshop.

Youth under 18 must have a guardian present to participate.


July 2, 2024  |  The Basics of Canoeing and Kayaking

Learn the basics of canoeing and kayaking, including how to wear a personal floatation device (PFD), how to enter and exit a boat, how to paddle and steer and how to handle various scenarios in the water!  Canoe/kayak paddle included.
July 9, 2024  |  Water Quality
Learn about water pollution, identify pollution sources surrounding the REC, use chemistry kits to measure water pollution and discuss methods to prevent it!  Canoe/kayak paddle to collect water samples is included.
July 16, 2024  |  Root River Turtles
Learn about turtles living on the Root River!  A canoe/kayak trip to search for local turtles is included.
July 23, 2024  |  Invasive Species
Learn about invasive species at the REC and what you can do to help stop the spread!  Canoe/kayak paddle included.

Environmental Education Manager

Laura Schulz | 262-595-2912 |


The mission of the REC is to provide community members with opportunities to explore the Great Lakes and connected ecosystems through recreation, education, demonstration, and research. 

City of Racine Logo

REC Environmental Center
1301 W 6th St  
Racine, Wisconsin

Racine Community Foundation
University of Wisconsin System Member
The Higher Learning Commission
Carnegie Foundation Elective Community Engagement Classification
UW Vets - Veterans Education & Transition to Success
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