Award Winning Field Trips

Science Education

Martha Lafite Thompson painting

Painting of Martha by local artist and naturalist Cathy Johnson.

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.

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

Download MLTNS Program Brochures

Learn More About Our Programming:

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, CrocsTM 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.

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

Liberty Public Schools logo
Nature Sanctuary partner logo
Liberty Parks & Recreation logo

Please help Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary with a personal donation.