Tips for Taking Your Family to the Drive-In Movies

Drive-in movies are a totally American invention! There are fewer than 250 drive-ins in the U.S. today, down from more than 4,000 during the Golden Age of outdoor movie watching during the 1950s and 60s. Wondering what caused the decline? One factor was the introduction of Daylight Saving Time in 1966.

Kansas Citians are lucky in that we have two drive-in movies. The Boulevard Drive-In is located at 1051 Merriam Lane in Kansas City, KS, and claims to the world’s first 4K drive-in cinema. B&B’s Twin Drive-In is located in Independence, at the intersection of MO-291 and Kentucky Road.

Despite what movies and TV have told us — remember John Travolta in Grease who was stranded at the drive-in and branded a fool? — drive-in theaters make great family fun night destinations.

If you’ve never visited the drive-in movies, here are 10 tips to make your experience even more fun for you and your kids.

10 Tips For Guaranteed Drive-In Movie Fun

Plan for a late night.

The movie won’t start until it gets dark, probably around 9:15 p.m. If it’s a double feature, the second show might not start until 11:30 p.m.

Bring pajamas for your kids.

Whether your kiddos wear them or change into them, you’ll want to have PJs with you.

Find a portable radio.

Most drive-in movies broadcast the sound for movies on an FM radio station. Some theaters may also have old-fashioned pole speakers but these are often not working. Boulevard Drive-in says that speaker poles are hit by cars every weekend!

Pack for comfort.

Bring lawn chairs, blankets and whatever else you need to be comfortable watching a movie. Don’t forget bug spray!

Check your vehicle’s manual.

Mark sure you know to turn your lights off whenthe movie starts. You’ll also want to know what sets off your car alarm. (One time we didn’t know!)

Stop at the ATM.

Many drive-ins only accept cash for tickets or concessions. B&B’s Twin Drive-In is an exception. Tickets are available for pre-sale online.

Arrive early.

The ticket line is often long. Don’t be the family that is trying to find a spot to park as the movie begins. Some drive-ins have playgrounds for kids to enjoy. Be sure bring something for your kids to do until the movie begins.

Choose your parking spot carefully.

It’s a big screen. You’ll be able to see it from every space in the lot. Spots close to the exit allow for a quick way to leave when the movie is over. If you’re in a tall SUV or truck, be considerate of other movie-goers and park where you won’t block the view.

Visit the snack bar.

Most drive-ins (including the Twin and Boulevard Drive-ins in Kansas City) have concession stands. Each theater has their own rules about grilling, outside food and alcohol so check before you leave home.

Enjoy the show!

Beth is mom to a high school sophomore and a first year college student. After fourteen years as a professional writer and editor, she earned graduate degrees in counseling and play therapy. Now she exercises her creativity as a school counselor. Beth loves reading, especially mysteries.

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