When traveling, I always look for something fun and unique to do, something either I haven’t done in a really long time or something I haven’t tried before. On a recent visit to Harrodsburg, Ky., I got to enjoy something I haven’t done since I was a young child. The bonus was my kids, ages 5 and 9, got to go with me. The unique experience? Watching a movie at Twin Hills Drive-in Theatre.
If you’ve never been to a drive-in movie, you truly are missing out on one of the best experiences in life. When I was around 5 or 6 years old, I remember watching a movie at The Beverly Drive-In in Hattiesburg, Miss., with my family. Because I was so young, I don’t recall the movie, but I never forgot how much fun we had. I have always wanted to return to a drive-in again, but never had the opportunity until now.
So it was with great delight that my kids and I along with my friend Stephanie and her two kids, ages 9 and 6, set out for Twin Hills Drive-In Theatre to see “Tomorrowland.” A first-run movie at a drive-in? You bet. There actually were two first-run movies because your admission ($5 per adult, $2.50 per child age 3 and older) actually includes a second feature. In this case, it was “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Where else can you see two brand-new releases with the entire family for just $20?
In fact, at Twin Hills Drive-In Theatre, the entire focus is on family entertainment. In addition to an affordable option for families to see new movies, the theatre also offers affordable concessions right on site, as well as an area where kids can run and play Frisbee or throw a football before the movie starts. Forget your Frisbee? No worries. Owner Mike Young keeps a few on hand for visitors to borrow.
Because we were visiting from out of state, we were not exactly prepared for the drive-in experience. We were able to rearrange our traveling gear so we could all pile into the back of Stephanie’s van, and listen to the movie over the car’s FM radio station. However, if you know you’ll be heading to the drive-in, I would recommend bringing folding chairs so you can spread out with more room. Bring along pillows and blankets to get comfortable. We saw an entire group who set up papasan chairs next to their vehicles, while one member of the group brought along a loveseat in the back of his pickup truck. Now that’s serious!
What I enjoyed most about the drive-in experience was that my children got outside and played for a while before we all settled down to watch the movie. And while there’s something to be said for a comfy theater chair in an air-conditioned theater, it really doesn’t compare to watching a movie on the big screen as you snuggle with your kids under the stars.
Sadly, there are less than 500 drive-in theaters still operating in the United States. Those still in operation are succumbing to the high cost of digital movies (Mike is trying to raise $60,000 for the purchase of a digital projector) and reduced concessions sales (Many moviegoers are bringing in their own food, which cuts into concession sales. As a result, drive-in owners like Mike now charge a $5 surcharge to bring in outside food.)
If you find yourself near a drive-in theater, make sure you carve out some time to catch a movie with your family. It may be the only opportunity you have to experience this piece of Americana before it’s gone forever.
Do you have a favorite drive-in or drive-in memory? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Disclosure: Karon and her family and friends visited Twin Hills Drive-in Theatre as guests of the drive-in. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author.