I don’t remember a single movie I ever saw at the drive-in movie theater when I was a kid, but I’ll always remember going. There was so much to love about it. Like running around in the grass underneath the big screen, playing with other kids as we waited for it to turn dark.
We had a small window of opportunity to play on the few pieces of the standard, hazardous playground equipment of that time. I remember the aluminum slide still being warm from the day’s sun and eating candy in my pajamas.
We found a Drive-In about 30 minutes from our house and took the kids, who had no idea what was happening. We explained the glory of the Drive-In experience and waited for Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Dad found a way to embarrass the kids by dancing to the oldies as we waited for the movie to start. I was happy to see that so much of the Drive-In magic still exists. 🙂
Here are 8 Ways the Drive-In is Still Awesome:
1. The Slow Drive into the Lot Feels the Same
What’s the speed limit in the lot again? 5 mph? It’s fitting. We got there early and scoped out a good spot. There’s something about that slow drive into the lot and the sound the tires make over the rocks as you pull in.
There are still little mud puddles here and there on the rough terrain. And of course, now that I’m a mom I drive super slow and watch for kids like a hawk.
2. Kids Still Run Around in the Grass
It was an awesome night, perfect weather as the sun went down and there were a lot of kids running around in the grassy area just under the screen. The sun was starting to set and it was just glorious.
One of my son’s favorite things about the Drive-In when I asked him afterwards: all the fresh air.
3. Kids Still Run Around in Pajamas
You might think it odd to put the kids in their pajamas for a movie, but you will thank your lucky stars that you did when you’re carrying kids into the house at midnight.
Plus, it’s cute to see the excitement and buzz of the night as kids run around and everyone gets settled in.
4. The Concession Stand Food is the Same
Still the same hot dogs, burgers and fries along with all kinds of movie snacks like cotton candy and boxed candies. I even noticed a few salads on the menu making way for a few healthier options if that’s your thing.
My little one loved the free-range walking to the concession stand with daddy while still being able to hear the movie. It was hard to resist ordering more food, it still smelled as good as I remember!
5. It’s Still Simple and Cheap
It was less than $20 admission for our family of 4 and the food wasn’t insane in price. They still ask that you not bring in outside food and visit the concession stand, which is fine by me to support the Drive In and keep it going.
I loved the Hiway 50 Drive In that we found in Lewisburg, TN. The sound is now played through your car stereo instead of the hanging speakers, but the old poles are still there for good measure.
6. Family Snuggles Are Still the Best
It gets cold after sundown, so we brought jackets and blankets and backed the minivan, facing the screen. We opened the hatch for cover. We also had lawn chairs but we mostly ended up in the car there at the end.
There was a family snuggled up in the bed of a truck behind us and some faced the screen and stayed inside their SUV. Whatever floats your boat is fine with me.
7. You Still Can’t Count on Hearing Every Word of the Movie
Kids will wrestle in the car during the movie so you’ll have to break that up, and you’ll hear “He’s on my arm!” and “Hey, he took my blanket!” often enough that you won’t be able to hear every single word of the movie you’re watching.
But I guess that’s pretty much anywhere you might take a kid to a movie. Still worth it. Like I said, I don’t remember a single movie I ever saw when I was a kid. But I have a lot of fond memories there.
8. Kids Still Fall Asleep on the Way Home
I was surprised that both kids stayed awake for the entire movie, but as soon as we left the parking lot after the movie was over, my 9 year old asked his usual 2 or 3 questions and zonked out.
We fumbled the keys to open the back door on the porch at midnight and carried the kids inside. We wrangled their shoes off and put them in bed. Just like I remember when I was a kid.
Some things never change, and that’s a good thing. (I also still can’t make it through a double feature.)
Do you have a Drive In near you? What’s your favorite thing about it?