Drive On In

When my husband and I were dating we used to go to the movies all the time, probably weekly.  This was before we had kids and before movies cost a small fortune to see in the theater.  After a while, we started saving our money to buy a house and went to the movie theater less often.   Then we had kids and didn’t go to the movies very often except to see the latest Disney film.  When the kids got older we started a tradition of going to the drive-in theater at least once during the summer.

The drive-in offers lots of bonuses.   The first is that you get two movies for the price of one.  Generally the movies are fairly cheap for children making it an even better bargain.  Secondly, you can watch it in the comfort of your own seating, whether it is your car or some folding chairs.  We like to back into the parking spot and turn the back bench seat around in our Caravan so that the kids can get comfy inside the car.  It’s like sitting on a big couch.  When the kids were younger, we would bring their pajamas to change into in the intermission between the two movies.  When we went this month, I noticed a lot of younger kids already dressed in their pjs for the first movie.  I’ve seen people bring lounge chairs in the back of a pickup and that looks like a really comfortable setup.

One of the best things about the drive-in is that you can bring your own snacks to supplement those you buy from the snack bar.  I could go broke if I let my kids buy what they want at the concession stand. We might splurge on a bucket of popcorn for us all to share.  Even better you can bring your own alcoholic beverages.  For a family with kids, this is a big money saver.  Some drive-ins may charge you a fee to bring in your own food since this is the main way they make money.

One of the downsides to the drive-in is the fact that the first movie doesn’t start until it is dark, which can be quite late in July .  Even trickier is staying awake long enough to watch a second movie.  Be sure to get a good combination of movies so you make it through both.  The other issue is having to drive home after the 2nd movie when everyone is tired.  This summer we decided to go to the Transit Drive-In in Lockport, NY because it’s only 10 minutes from my parent’s house so we have a short drive when the movies are over.    A couple of years ago we watched a couple of movies and when it was over our car wouldn’t start.  We had managed to drain the battery.  An employee came over with a little portable battery jumper that quickly got our car started and on our way out of there.

In Rochester there are two drive-ins in the area.  The first is the Vintage Drive-In in Avon, NY.  This one is close to 390 making it easier and quicker for most people in Rochester to get to.  The other one is the Charcoal Corral and Silver Lake Twin Drive-In in Perry, NY.  The Charcoal Corral serves  a great chicken barbecue and ice cream and they have events going on most nights. On Tuesdays they have bands playing which really helps pass the time while you’re waiting for the sun to go down.   This is a fun place to get to early and hang out at. They even have a miniature golf course.  The only problem is that it is located about 45 minutes away from my house on the west side of Rochester.

I highly recommend checking out some movies at the drive-in this summer.  The kids (including the big ones) will really enjoy it!


5 thoughts on “Drive On In

  1. We also try to get to at least 1 drive-in movie every summer.
    Best drive-in experience in our parenting history: seeing Jurassic Park at Silver Lake. Our kids were relatively young then, and we figured the scary parts wouldn’t be quite so scary if you are in your own car (and can distract them at appropriate times) PLUS you can turn down the sound if needed (try doing that at a theater!) We have seen many other movies at drive-ins since both with and without the kids. I like the Silver Lake drive in best though with it being so far away it is not someplace I would go to more than once per summer….

  2. Lisa

    Good point about being able to turn down the sound during parts. It’s also nice if you have young children who might have attention issues. If you have a child who can’t sit still you have more options that won’t disturb others so much.


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