(816) 781-8598 • Fax: (816) 781-7210

Science Education Award-Winning Field Trips

Great Outdoors Programs | Animal Cliques | Popular Programs | Wild In The Classroom

Introduce your class to the wonders of the natural world
around them in Martha's own back yard!!!

Martha's Dream
Since 1976, Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary has been a valuable part of the Kansas City area. It is the result of one woman's dream to provide safe habitat for wildlife in a growing community and quality environmental education for all ages. This dream has become the mission of staff and volunteers who contribute their time and talents.

Over 15,000 students visit annually for registered programs. Another 15,000 individuals, in families and unscheduled groups, visit on their own. Our goal is to help each visitor learn about the environment, as well as experience the peace, solace, and the beauty of
nature while protecting and preserving Missouri wildlife.
Artist rendoring of Martha Lafite Thompson
Painting of Martha by
local artist and naturalist
Cathy Johnson.

Painting of Martha by local artist and naturalist Cathy Johnson.

Program Fees and Length

To ensure that each child has a meaningful hands-on experience and to assist in fulfilling state curriculum guidelines, your classroom may be divided into groups based on the needs of the program. Groups will typically be divided by your class size, however, we may need to make adjustments. Please discuss this during registration.

Program Extras

Pre-visit Information: Sanctuary Rules: While our programs encourage hands-on learning, we ask that students not pick flowers or leaves, or collect other natural materials, unless otherwise directed by the naturalist. Following these guidelines, "carry-in/carry-out" and the "Leave No Trace" ethic, will protect the resources at the Sanctuary and make them available for others to enjoy in the future. Please review these rules with your class before your visit.
Weather Accommodations: Many of our programs involve outdoor time. If severe weather threatens, the MLTNS staff will be prepared with alternative indoor activities for your program. Only in cases of extreme weather will MLTNS cancel a scheduled program. We will close if Liberty schools close due to weather.
Dressing for the weather is very important. Because the majority of our programs are outdoors, students and adults should dress for the conditions. Shirts and closed toe shoes or boots ARE REQUIRED at the sanctuary. No sandals, Crocs
TM or aqua socks are allowed.
Name tags that an be easily read by the naturalists are encouraged for students and teachers.
Gift Shop: Please include extra time to visit our gift shop as part of your field trip experience. We have nature-related items starting at 50-cents. We ask that adult chaperones please stay with the children to monitor activity.
Picnic Shelter must be reserved prior to your visit in order to insure it is reserved for your group (no fee). Four tables seat 40 adults/80 children along with 80 additional bench seats around the sides of the shelter. Please bring trash bags to carry out all trash. We do NOT supply trash cans. This reservation is free of charge with each reserved program.
Exhibit Area is open for your class to explore either prior to or following your program.
Arriving Early (10-15 minutes minimum before the program) is crucial for a successful program for line-up and restroom breaks prior to the start of your program. Please feel welcome to arrive earlier for free time or stay later for lunch, hiking and gift shop.
Student Behavior and Discipline: Discipline is the responsibility of the teachers and adult leaders. Teachers may be asked to remove and monitor a child inside the center if his/her behavior distracts from the program. MLTNS staff will respond if teachers do not.
Cell Phones: All cell phones should be silenced during the program. Adults needing to make or take a call should step away from the group or out of the classroom.
Program Flexibility: If you see a program you would like to attend but is not offered at your grade level, please call the Sanctuary and speak with a Naturalist. We are capable of adapting most programs to fit other grade levels. 816-781-8598.

Sensory Safari
Pre-K - Kindergarten
Program Length: 60 minutes
Fee: $5 per child
Offered year-round.
During this popular program your students will have the opportunity to explore the natural world using their senses.

They will discover the sounds, smells, sights and textures found outdoors through hands-on exploration. We'll also meet a live animal up close and personal to learn how it uses its senses to help it survive.

Cold-blooded Critters
Pre-K - Kindergarten
Program Length: 60 minutes
Fee: $5 per child
Offered year-round.
Have your students discover the differences and similarities between reptiles and amphibians, and observe the characteristics of each group through hands-on interactions. Students will also enjoy a nature hike and explore the movement and behavior of these animals in their habitats.

Habitat Homes
1st-3rd Grades
Program Length: 90 minutes
Fee: $6 per child
Time of Year: Year-round
Students will be introduced to the importance of habitats and learn what all plants and animals need to survive.We'll head to the trails and involve each student in the teaching process through the use of biofacts and natural items found within the prairie, forest, and wetland habitats. A live animal will also be introduced.

Note: This program is designed so that 1 adult is needed for every 5 students. Those adults will not be charged a fee.

Ecosystem Investigations

4th-6th Grades
Program Length: 90 minutes
Fee: $6 per child
Time of Year: Year-round
Here is an opportunity for students to take an in-depth look at samples of different ecosystems found in Missouri. Students will explore and study forest, grassland and wetland habitats found at the Sanctuary. They will record plants and animals found in each ecosystem. The program will end with an understanding of the components of each ecosysem and their functions.

Insect Intrigue
Pre-K - Kindergarten
Program Length: 60 minutes
Fee: $5 per child
Offered May - October
What young child isn't fascinated by those creeping, crawling little bugs? From dragonflies and grasshoppers to butterflies and ants, insects truly do intrigue young children. During this special program, your youngsters will be introduced to the world of insects, from what makes an insect an insect to searching for them with nets in hand. We'll release all our buggy friends at the end of the program.

Feathered Friends
1st - 3rd Grades
Program Length: 90 minutes
Fees: $7* per child
Time of Year: Year-round
Students will soar to new heights as they learn about the world of birds. We'll start with an indoor introduction to birds and then head outdoors in search of robins, cardinals, hawks and more. This program will conclude with the children making their very own bird feeder to take home.

* The cost per student includes an additional $1 fee for bird seed.

Wild About Wetlands
4th-6th Grades
Program Length: 2 hours
Fees: $6 per child
Time of Year: April 15 - September 30
This program will literally immerse your students in the world of wetlands. They will learn through firsthand observation and investigation what organisms are found in our creek and pond environments. From water beetles and dragonfly larvae to tadpoles and fish, students will begin to understand both the importance of healthy wetlands and the organisms found in each system. Students will use nets, magnifiers for macro invertebrates, and equipment to test water quality including pH, turbidity, etc.

Please note this program involves getting in the water. Closed toe and heel shoes or boots are required footwear for children and adults. No sandals, Crocs
TM or aqua socks are allowed.


Birds of a Feather
4th-6th Grades
Fee: $7 per child for 2 hour program
Time of Year: Year-round
Birds have long-facinated us, from their flight capabilities to their beauty and lyrical songs. During this program your students will come to know the characteristics and adaptations of birds, as well as learn how to identify common birds of this area through artifacts, mounts and a slide program. We'll then head outdoors for a walk with binoculars in hand in search of our featured friends. This program will conclude with the children making their very own bird feeder to take home.

Colossal Fossil
1st-3rd Grades
Program Length: 90 minutes/2 hours*
Fee: $6 / $8* per child
Time of Year: March 1 - Nov. 30
4th-6th Grades
Program Length: 90 minutes/2 hours*
Fee: $6 / $8* per child
Time of Year: March 15 - Oct. 30

Dig this! Here's an opportunity for your students to learn about fossils, from identification to how they were made. We'll head down to Rush Creek in search of the real thing among the shale and limestone deposits and the students will work together to find the best fossil to take back to class for further study.

Please note this program involves getting in the water. Tennis shoes or boots are required footwear for children and adults. No sandals, Crocs
TM or aqua socks allowed. Bring extra socks and shoes.

*Optional Activity: Your students can make a "fossil" using plaster and seashells. The extended program requires two hours and a total fee of $8 per student.

Pond Neighbors or Creek Neighbors
Pre-K - Kindergarten
Program Length: 60 minutes
Fee: $5 per child
Offered April 15 - September 30.
Water is important to all of us, and no more so than to the critters that live in it. During this interactive program, your children will be introduced to the world of water using nets to look for water insects, frogs, and other inhabitants of the pond or creek.

Note: During the creek program, children and adults will wade in the water. During the pond program, children could be on muddy banks. Please be sure to have children and accompanying adults wear shoes that completely enclose the foot and that can get muddy and wet. Closed toe and heel shoes or boots are required footwear for children and adults. No sandals, CrocsTM or aqua socks are allowed.

Off-site programs are offered year round based on availability. Off-site program fee: $165 per hour, $90 each additional hour. Class sizes are limited to the following:

Age of Students
Maximum Number of Students
K-1st grade
2nd grade-6th grade

Wild Missouri
What animals live in Missouri? Where do they live? How do they find food? Find out the answers to these questions and others, as this program explores animal adaptations, and habitat needs. Using a variety of natural artifacts and live animals, this program becomes an experience that everyone will remember.

Meet the Animals (Age 3-6)
Critters in the Classroom (Age 6 & up)

In this program we bring the wild life indoors! Discover differences and similarities between the astounding groups of animals living on this planet today. You and your students will meet a variety of friendly animals as our naturalist describes what makes them unique. Hands-on interaction to compare and contrast the physical characteristics of each will make a fun and exciting educational experience for all.

Feathered Frenzy
In this program students will explore the diversity and adaptations of the avian world by hands-on examinations of different types of feathers, bones, and feet. Additionally, we'll look at the species of birds that are common in our area.

For a dollar more per child, each student may make a tennis-ball container bird feeder to take home. Supplies are limited. Ask a naturalist for more details.

For older students, a discussion of bird life cycles may be included. Ask a naturalist for more details.


Home Schools
In addition to the programs, home school public programs are offered once a month at the Sanctuary.

Middle Schools and High Schools
Field trips for middle schools and high schools are tailored to the needs of the specific class. Modifications of the programs in this guide can be arranged for older ages, and we welcome requests for other topics. Teachers should call the Nature Center and speak to a Naturalist to discuss their options.

To Schedule a Program:

Call 816-781-8598 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Please have the following information ready when you call:
• Program choice
• School name, address, email, and phone number
• Grade level and number of children
• Preferred date and time with alternates (in case first choice is not available)
• Any children with special needs

Note: It is recommended that you call well in advance of your program date to insure a place on the schedule, particularly for fall and spring programs.

Prior to your visit, you will receive a confirmation letter, your billing, a health release and pre-visit information. Please share this with all teachers attending the field trip and provide relevant instrucions and maps to the bus driver.

Payment of your fee should be received three weeks prior to your visit. If this is a problem due to school policies or procedures, please notify us. Payment may be made via credit card (Visa or MasterCard accepted) over the phone or online through our Square website. Online payment info will be emailed to you, if requested. Mailed check or form of walk-in payment is welcome and accepted.

Rescheduling of programs can be done pending availability. No fee will be charged in the case of a school emergency or dangerous weather. If you must reschedule for any other reason, there will be a $25 administrative fee applied to your bill. We do not issue refunds.

Come visit
before your program. Explore the Nature Center, hike the trails and get ready for your fantastic field trip. Let us know ahead of time, and a naturalist may be available to answer questions. Most of the programs we offer can be modified for your group.

Transportation Assistance
A field trip transportation grant may be available from the Missouri Department of Conservation, to assist public, private, and home-school educators interested in taking students to field trips. Please visit www.mdc.mo.gov for more information.

Need Help With Program Costs?
Ask for our 10% discount on programs scheduled between September 1 and December 15th.

When monies are available, MLTNS program sponsorship may be applied for up to 50% of program costs. Ask for an application when reserving a program.

Partners in Education:
Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary Liberty Public Schools
and Liberty Parks and Recreation


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