Stranded at the Drive-in

Going to the Drive-in movie theater is a great experience for the entire family. Unfortunately, it seems that it is a dying trend, as most Drive-in Theaters have closed their lots for the more traditional excursion.

In the height of popularity, there were between 4,000 to 5,000 Drive-in Theaters throughout the U.S. In 1997, it had dropped severely with only 815 screens remaining. Today, it has continued to drop with only 478 open world-wide, 370 which are in the United States and 66 in Canada.

Luckily for my family and I, there is a Drive-in theater close to were we live. The Van Buren Drive-in is located in Riverside, Ca. With 3 screens, there is plenty of options for you to choose from. The best part is, the Drive-in theater is not only family friendly, but it is budget friendly as well. The Van Buren Drive-in charges only $7 per adult and $1 for children between the ages of 5-9. Those under 4 are free.

If you would like to find a Drive-in Theater near you, check out this site to see if there is one close to you.

Got Kids? Drive-in theater is perfect for the family!

Small children can still enjoy a movie without stressing parents out in the theater... just bring them to the Drive-in theater near you!
Small children can still enjoy a movie without stressing parents out in the theater... just bring them to the Drive-in theater near you! | Source

The Perks of a Drive-in

1. It is family friendly - There is nothing worse than going to a Movie Theater to enjoy a movie and then suddenly at the climatic part a baby starts wailing. Ok, so it has occasionally been my baby. What can I say? No babysitter and we really wanted to go to the movies. My husband is addicted to the movie theater and I go along for the ride. My kids are following in our footsteps and like to go as well.

In the movie theater, bringing your baby or young child can be stressful for not only the parent, but those around you as well. (Yes, it can be construed as rude - especially by those who don’t have children or those out for a romantic date. And yes, I have been rude and I really don’t care. It is my option to go to these places as well. And if you can’t stand the kids, get out of the Disney movie!)

Yet, going to a drive-in movie theater is something positive for parents. You no longer have to worry about other people giving you dirty looks because your kid decided to talk or maybe went through a crying tantrum. You are the only one that has to deal with them because you are sitting in your car. I know for me, it takes the stress off because I know I am not ruining anybody else’s experience.

No longer does movies have to cost you an arm and leg!

Save your hard earned cash. Going to the Drive-in theater is a much cheaper option for your new release experience!
Save your hard earned cash. Going to the Drive-in theater is a much cheaper option for your new release experience! | Source

2. It is budget friendly - With movies today reaching over $10 a person, depending on theater, depending on time, and depending on any other special deals…. Going to the movies is no longer an affordable family adventure. Add the 3D experience and it will cost you even more. Now the price may vary a little bit depending on your area and whether there is special promotions going on. I know for my whole family to go to a movie we will spend around $50 a visit, and that is trying to keep the price down. At the drive-in theater, we spend only $16! To top it off, we get to watch two movies with that price!

3. It is movie friendly - Not all Drive-ins will be the same, I know the Van Buren Drive-in offers movies are up to date. So this isn’t your typical budget theater. You are guaranteed to see a new release shortly after it comes out… depending on the drive-in Selection. Currently, the Van Buren Drive-in is playing Transformers, which hasn’t been in theaters for long! Now it may not play all movies, it will obviously depend on the movie’s popularity. Keep your eyes open, because if there is a movie you would like to see, save your money and check out your local Drive-in.

What to remember about the Drive-in

1. It’s not your typical movie theater - Going to the Drive-in is an experience. Therefore, treat it like an experience. The movies will start when the sun goes down. (They will give you a start time, so don’t worry about trying to figure out when the sun will set!) But, even though it will start later on, get there in plenty of time. The best parking spots are going to be upfront, and if you are the last car to get there, finding a parking spot may be difficult, especially depending on your vehicle. A little car will not fair well behind a big SUV with the back door open wide. So, even though the screen is huge, for the best experience you want to get a spot where everybody can see well!

2. Pack supplies - In an ordinary theater you will not go there to be comfortable. At the Drive-in, feel free to bring a few blankets and pillows or even your favorite stuffed animal. And if you really want, go to the theater in your pajamas! You can also bring your lawn chairs. No one ever said you have to stay in the car. So feel free to set up camp outside your car, take a seat, cover up and enjoy the movie.

Note: You may also want to pack a cooler with snacks and drinks. However, some Drive-ins may not allow these in the lot because they want you to purchase from the concession stand. Check before you go. If there is no limitations, feel free to pick your snack.

Jumper Cables should be a part of your car kit in the trunk. Don't leave them behind when going to the Drive-in.
Jumper Cables should be a part of your car kit in the trunk. Don't leave them behind when going to the Drive-in. | Source

3. Bring Jumper Cables - I can not stress this enough. When going to the Drive-in theater, you will be using your radio to listen to the movie. This is great technology allowing the movie to be broadcast through an empty radio frequency assigned for the night. It will sound like surround sound inside your car and you will get a much clearer sound then what you may remember from the old school drive-ins.

Be warned, while this is great technology, running your radio while not actually running your car can cause the battery to die. On our last visit, this is what happened to us. We killed the battery and we had no jumper cables! After searching and asking several other people (cause apparently we aren’t the only one to not have jumper cables!) we finally got our car started. We weren’t alone that night. There were several cars needing a jump by the time the movies had finished!

Lesson learned! Make sure you have your own jumper cables! If not… make sure you occasionally run your car to keep your battery well charged!

Stranded at the Drive-in

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Comments 28 comments

LVidoni5 profile image

LVidoni5 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Great ideas and advice! I love going to the drive in, but they have been dying all over the place. There's still one left up here in Oregon about twenty minutes from my house. And yes it's also budget friendly...my favorite part.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Thanks for reminding me about the drive-in. We have one about 20 minutes away but have not made it there this summer yet. Have to put that into the date night plan. We usually do go quite often but for one reason or another this year have not made it yet. I think ours here is now 10 dollars each and 5 for kids. Awesome Hub!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@LVidoni5 - Glad to here that you have a drive-in relatively close by. It is a fun event and it definitely makes going to the movies more affordable. There aren't too many left so I am happy that I am one of the fortunate ones able to still go!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Just Ask Susan - It is weird the price variance - although still such a great fun time. Just curious... how expensive are the movies if you go to the regular theater? Hope you get a chance to get to the Drive-in soon. We had such fun the last time... with the exception of our car battery dying! :)


Michelle Matolyak 5 years ago

Never EVER would've thought to bring jumper cables! Also, when I was a kid, my brother and I used to crane our necks to look out the back window at the R rated movie playing across the lot hoping to catch a glimpse of a boob or someone getting offed...because, you know, that's what kids do! haha


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Ha ha - too funny. Eli was craning his neck so that he could get a few glimpses of transformers playing on the other screen. Now he wants to go back and watch that. Maybe next time! And jumper cables are vitally important! Better to have someone ask you if you have them then being the one searching for the lone soul with jumper cables! LOL


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I haven't been to the drive in for a longtime. We have one quite close where one can sit out on blankets and have picnics. I will go thanks to your Hub. It has set the mood.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I love the drive in! We spent a lot of our teen years there:). The closest one to me now is a couple hours away. We make it a point tomgo when we camp - it's in tahe area. I miss going! Awww great hub!!


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Oh Barbergirl this brought back so many memories..I love Drive in's..I was just talking to my husband about going to a drive in..there is one about 30 minutes from us..We use to go as kids all the time..mom would bring popcorn and candy..we would be in our PJ's sitting in lawn chairs or in the back of the truck..such great memories..Thank you for a great hub. I remember trying to hook the microphone to the window..there was also a park to play in before the movie started..fun fun fun

Sunnie


BenjaminB 5 years ago

Drive-Ins rock you can bring your own party with you and watch the movie in style :)


marellen 5 years ago

Great advice and tips to remember. I don't remember the last time I went to a drive-in but its great for the kids and the parents too.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Hyphenbird - Glad that I could set the mood. Hope you enjoy the movie! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Real - that is why you have to remember it is an experience... ha ha... take the drive and go anyway. Everybody will enjoy it! Glad you at least get to go when your camping though!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Sunnie - It is amazing how many people have drive-ins so close when there is so few in exhistance. I didn't really get to enjoy these as a memory because my parents never really took us to the movies that often and there wasn't really drive-ins around us. It wasn't until I moved to California the first time that I really got to enjoy the true experience. Hope you get to check out a movie soon and take a trip back in time!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Benjamin - I agree... note how I can't tell you to bring your own snacks... lol.... but I don't discourage it. We took McDonald's with us when we went. Nothing like a movie and chicken nuggets! ;)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Marellen - I think from now on, this will be the only way I take the kids to the movies. It is definitely more affordable for the entire family. Not to mention - it is a great experience all way around! :)


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Depending on where you go the regular movie costs are 10 - 11 a ticket. The drive-in used to be less and then they decided to charge the same as the regular theaters. Never made much sense to me.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

The last time I went to a drive in movie was to see The Exorcist and lightning hit the screen! True story.

I do miss the outdoor movie experiences. The Alfred Hitchcock marathons, the date night make outs, etc. What fun!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Oh and don't forget to take the off! Mosquito city at night. I notice the one here always plays the adult movie first - then the kid movie - why? The kids are sleeping by that time!

I still love going and wish there was one closer. I just don't think they make as much profit with large pieces of commercial property. Plus it is seasonal. Too bad! I met friends for breakfast this morning - we talked about drive in movies the whole time:)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Susan - that is such a downer. The drive-in is soppossed to make thinks much more budget friendly. It doesn't make much sense to me either!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Austinstar - that is a crazy story. I can see why you haven't returned since. Just keep with the other fun memories... lol ;)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Real - we are pretty lucky here... Drive-ins aren't really seasonal here... we can go all year round - unless it is raining. But that doesn't happen much! :)

What a fun topic for breakfast... I need a friend breakfast to discuss Drive-in movies and memories... lol


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....well I certainly wouldn't mind being stranded at your hubs - because they're all amazing in their own way and you write like a sheer force of nature that it's always a thrill to come here and see what your next subject is .......lake erie time 10:59am


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

Thank you very much epi - kill the battery any time here! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Stacy,

I just added a link from this hub to mine called Wisconsin Movie Memories at Old Milwaukee Drive-in Theaters. I fondly remember going to the outdoor movies with my family! Sadly, there are none still open in the Houston area. I checked via the link in your hub. Up votes and sharing.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

I love drive-in's.

Enjoy the open and cool summer air with good food...yummy!

Thanks for stressing on the jumper cables. Seriously, did not have such a problem but got to be prepared :)

voted up and sharing it across


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Peggy W - I love going to the Drive-ins... They are such a blast. I haven't been back since we killed the car last time. But since we have a fairly uneventful weekend, maybe we will have to go tomorrow night and see what is playing! :) I think these drive-ins need to make a comeback. I can't think of a better family night out! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Ruchira - Funny because we never even thought of jumper cables. Mainly because we have never needed them before. I don't know what we did this time but man, bad luck to kill the car. I love going to the outdoor theater and I really wish there were more around for people to enjoy this treat! :)

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