Periodically I'd like to post all the fun things I plan on doing this summer. I'm calling it my "Get Your Summer On Series". One of the first things that come to mind when I think of summer are drive ins! I bet a lot of you have never even been to a drive in. It's such a hidden summer gem. And I think it's so much more than just watching a movie or make out spot for teens.
A lot of families make an evening of it. They get there several hours before the movie starts (at dusk) and bring barbecues, lawn chairs and blankets. We don't spend all evening at our local drive-in but I do try to make it extra special. We usually get there about 45 minutes early. Sometimes earlier if it's a popular Saturday showing because our drive-in has been known to sell out long before a popular movie begins. We learned that out the hard way:-( We spend time getting cozy, hanging out.
Here's my minivan set up. I must humbly admit....it's pretty awesome! For those of you with trucks or have minivans where the middle row can also sink into the floor, you can also use an air mattress to cushion the bottom.
-First, I fold the rear bench seat into the floor. If your rear seats don't sink into the floor then I recommend either leaving them at home or set it in front of your van's back hatch as use as another place to sit.
-I use an IKEA kids extendtable mattress to cushion the bottom which fits just right. It's the VYSSA SLUMMER mattress. It's perfect because the largest piece is just big enough to cover the whole floor of the minivan. Then I fill in the space between the two middle captains's chairs with the two extension pieces of the mattress.
-Then I fill in the gaps with thick pillows and cover that ALL with a large blanket.
-I cover that all with a heavy blanket.
-I add body pillows and microplush blankets to lay on and bundle under.
-Then I add the blankets.
-And VOILA! It's like having your own private bedroom at the movies. We all snuggle down and eat fries, funnel cake, soda and popcorn. I don't know why, I could do this every weekend in the summer!
Bring snacks! We go to the dollar store before we hit the drive in and stock up on popcorn and candy.
We also bring soda in insulated straw cups. I LOVE insulated straw cups. I've seen Target charge a fortune for them but you can get them for only $1 at the dollar store. They still feel like movie bought soda but the lids don't pop off and spill everywhere and the drinks stay cooler longer.
But we also patronize the concession stand! A lot of these older drive in theaters make their money off the concession stands. There aren't that many drive-ins left so it's important to help keep the ones that are still around, stay around! Plus, many of the older drive ins offer things that you can't get at typical movie theaters like fries, funnel cake and pork barbecue sandwiches. It's pretty yummy AND also unlike typical movie theaters- reasonable priced! We usually spend $22 for admission and then another $10 on food (not including the dollar store stuff).
I definitely recommend using a minivan. Second I would pick a truck, second only because it doesn't protect from the rain or cold night air. Third I would choose a hatchback. We also have a Scion hatchback which would suffice. If you only have a car then pick a space in the front row and set up a radio (you need a radio to hear the movie), blanket and lawn chairs. A lot of places have grass in front of the front row. That way you don't have to worry as much about your kids running into traffic which is always a concern for me. Or maybe even cushion your trunk with pillows and blankets and sit in that.
If you plan on sitting in the middle of your minivan and looking out the back DON'T get a space up in the front. You'll never be able to see the movie. The roof of your car will probably block 75% of the screen. The 5th row back is ideal (in my opinion). Now, if you are using a truckbed or are sitting outside of your vehicle then get as close as you want.
In case you don't know, all the drive-ins I've been to play two movies. You only pay one flat fee to get in. You can watch both or leave after the first one or just come for the second. It's usually a very family friendly first feature and the second is usually rated PG or PG-13 but still family suitable (like Iron Man 3 or Oz the Great and Powerful) I don't know if I've ever even seen a rated R movie listed at my drive-in. I like to plan on staying for the second movie although I don't think we've actually ever had the pleasure which always disappoints me. Usually at least one of the kids isn't asleep by the end of the first so we have to leave.
And don't forget your bungee cord! All the drive-ins I've ever been to require you to keep your back hatch level with your hood. But don't worry. If you forget they usually offer you some twine free of charge.