Summer EV Day Trips: Vol 2
Sun’s Out, Plug-In! Summer is officially here, and you can have warm weather adventures while still staying safe and social distancing! Here are some EV friendly day trips focused around history, enjoying the outdoors, and supporting local businesses.
Landing Park: Leavenworth, KS
Known as the “First City of Kansas”, Leavenworth is steeped in history. You can plug in at Leavenworth Landing Park, a beautiful one-quarter mile linear parkway along the Missouri River. Bring your binoculars, as bald eagles are occasionally spotted here. Across the street, you’ll find the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, where you can ride on a restored 1913 carousel.
If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Saturday, take Three Mile Creek Trail and it will lead you to an open-air farmer’s market at Haymarket Square. Nearby you will discover a 28-block historic shopping district, packed with local shops and eateries. If you need another charging station, look near City Hall. To learn about the area’s African American history, visit the Richard Allen Cultural Center and its Underground Railroad site, then drive North to see the Buffalo Soldier Monument.
- Riverfront Community Center: 319 S Esplanade St, Leavenworth, KS. Map
- Leavenworth City Hall: 100 N 5th St, Leavenworth, KS. Map
Swope Park: Kansas City, MO
Donated to the people of Kansas City in 1896, 1,805-acre Swope Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. There are three different charging locations within the park, each with six spots. The Kansas City Zoo is a journey around the world in itself, home to diverse habitats and animals (tip: reserve your entry time in advance to help with social distancing). To experience more nature in the city, hike the 13.5-mile Swope Park Trail, known for its limestone bluff faces, or bike the 4.6-mile Mountain Bike Trail through its forest-like setting.
Nearby is Go Ape Treetop Adventures, were you can find zip-lines up to 475 feet long, a forest canopy obstacle course, and outdoor axe throwing. Once you have worked up an appetite, support a local restaurant by getting takeout within a few miles. Try LC’s Bar-B-Q for ribs and brisket, Niecie’s Restaurant for classic soul food, or Happy Apple Café for creative vegan fare.
- Kansas City Zoo: 6700 Zoo Dr, Kansas City, MO. Map
- Starlight Theater: 4600 Starlight Rd, Kansas City, MO. Map
- Brush Creek Community Center: 3801 E Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd, Kansas City, MO. Map
Evergy Pocket Park: Topeka, KS
Conveniently located 30-seconds off the 8th Avenue I-70 exit, the freshly installed fast charger at Evergy Pocket Park is a perfect welcome to Topeka for EV drivers. The spot’s “solar canopy”, which provides power to public outlets and Wi-Fi, makes it a recognizable landmark. Walk Northeast and feed your sweet tooth at Cashmere Gourmet Popcorn or Hazel Hill Chocolates, who roast and grind their own cacao beans. One block further is the brand new Evergy Plaza, a community gathering space with concert stage (tip: catch a local artist performing every Wednesday in July and August from 11am–1pm), picnic tables and a large fountain that doubles as a spray park.
When you are ready for a history lesson, head one mile south to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site where you can experience the story of how legal segregation ended in public schools. From there, the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University is a short jaunt West, where they are currently exhibiting I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. While in nearby College Hill district, grab some food to-go from The Burger Stand. North of downtown, explore the NOTO Arts District for unique local shopping and eating options. Try Bradley’s Corner Cafe for pie, The Wheel Barrel for gourmet grilled cheese, or Norsemen Brewing Company for a local pint.
- Evergy Pocket Park: 818 S Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS. Map
- Arby’s: 5930 SW Huntoon St, Topeka, KS. (Tesla Supercharger) Map
- Walmart: 1501 SW Wanamaker Rd, Topeka, KS. (Electrify America) Map
Blue Earth Plaza / Park: Manhattan, KS
Getting there: If you need to top-off, don’t forget to stop at the KTA Service Centers along I-70, east of Lawrence Map and east of Topeka Map (both of which have DC fast chargers). In Topeka, there are three sets of chargers right off I-70. See list above.
Experience the beauty of expansive grasslands on this journey West. As you approach Manhattan on K-177, consider pulling off for a breathtaking view of the Konza Prairie Preserve at Overlook Park. Just on the left after you cross over the Kansas River, Blue Earth Plaza serves as an excellent landing point for drivers to recharge with its four EV parking spots. Located just outside the Flint Hills Discovery Center, this public park offers a music-synchronized water feature and covered patio area. The family-friendly culture and science museum immerses visitors in over 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, where you can learn about the tallgrass prairie and the Flint Hills region.
For a caffeine fix, head South to Radina’s Bakehouse, a coffeeshop focused on locally sourced ingredients. Then, explore downtown Manhattan by taking a half-mile walk North along the 3rd Street Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, where you can discover ten public art installations dotting your path. You’ll find plenty of boutique shops along the way, such as Rooted for fair-trade gifts, Pine & Plaid for men’s apparel, or The Winged Lionfor home goods. For dinner, consider AJ’s for New York-style pizza, Bourbon & Baker for southern-inspired small plates, or cap off your night at Tallgrass Tap House with a local beer.
- Flint Hills Discovery Center: 315 S 3rd St, Manhattan, KS. Map
- Kansas State University: 916 Denison Ave, Manhattan, KS. Map