Bro, Go Retro At These 7 Drive-In Theaters

Posted Mar 31st 2011 04:25 PMUpdated Apr 14th 2011 11:54 AM


Drive In Theaters

b.frahm, flickr

Long gone are the days of watching movies at a drive-in or listening to films via portable radio. Or are they? In a world of Netflix and multiplexes, the drive-in movie theater is a major piece of cinema history that thankfully didn't go the way of CinemaScope. Located on country fields or parking lots on the outskirts of cities, a slew of mostly family-owned theaters still exist.

Maybe it's the allure of the 1950s, when life wasn't filled with smart phones and social media, but folks are flocking back to drive-in theaters. What's the allure? Documentary filmmaker April Wright, working to complete "Going Attractions: The Rise and Fall of the American Drive-in Movie Theater," seeks to answer that question. She traveled to every state (except Alaska) to visit almost 500 open, abandoned, and former sites of drive-ins to make the film. "Drive-ins were originally a family experience, and today it's returned to that idea," Wright told AOL Travel. "Not to mention it's inexpensive."

From a Midwestern theater that's open year-round to a drive-in movie theater sitting on the outskirts of a major US city, these drive-ins are worth a visit and represent only a small portion of the many drive in theaters still in operation.

Kevin Smith Southwest


Bengies Drive-In, Baltimore
Open seasonally, this drive-in is just a short trip from downtown Baltimore. Open since 1956, Bengies has the biggest screen in the country, with up to three films shown a night on their one screen. Like most drive-ins, Bengies tries to show family films during the first screening of the night.

Ford Drive-In, Dearborn, Michigan
Also known as the Ford Wyoming, the five-screen theater has been open since the 1950s and continues to show first run flicks. Unlike most drive-in movie theaters, which operate on a seasonal basis, this drive-in is open year-round and it's located in the heart of the Midwest, known for extreme winters. During the winter, the theater only operates on weekends.

Shankweilers, Orefield, Pennsylvania
Open since 1934, Shankweilers is the oldest drive-in in America. Roughly an hour's drive from Philadelphia, the drive-in has one screen that shows double feature. Check out nearby Becky's Drive-In , which has 2 screens and also offers pony rides.

Kevin Smith Southwest

Corral Drive In

Corral Drive-In, Guymon, Oklahoma
This 200-car drive-in, closed in the 1980s, sat vacant until it was restored and reopened in 2009. Kids will love the arcade, playground and assortment of inflatable bouncers (including an 18 foot dump truck slide). For overnighters, the theater recently opened an adjacent RV park.

Warwick Drive-In, Warwick, NY
Located only ninety minutes from New York City, Warwick is known more for its apple orchards and charming main street. But the town also offers a three-screen, double-feature drive-in that was opened in 1950. The theater is open seasonally from March through October.

Wellfleet Drive-In, Wellfleet, Massachusetts
The only drive-in on Cape Cod, the theater is consistently filled with visitors all summer. Built in 1957, the theater runs double features of first run films on their one screen. The drive-in has an ice cream parlor, a mini-golf course and playground (it also doubles as a flea market on select days).

Delsea, Vineland, New Jersey
Even though the state was home to the first drive-in, the Delsea, built in the 1940s, is New Jersey's sole reminder of times gone by. In 2003, it was restored and now has two screens that show current films seasonally. The Delsea also offers something others don't: a snackbar with an extensive menu of Atkins-friendly choices.

Waiting for the double feature? Check out more theaters: "Readers' Choice: 7 Retro Drive-In Theaters."

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I really miss the atlanta drive ins beat watching tv. Was a great alternative to going to a bar on saturday night.

May 10 2011 at 10:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samm Bucceri

There is also a 2 screen drive-in theater in Delevan NY

April 27 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lennie and Mark

There is a very nice out door drive in theater in Cottage Grove Minneota.t

April 17 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pink Cadillac in Centerville TN. Been here forever, I guess. Monday nights, $5.00/ carload.

April 17 2011 at 7:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is also a very quaint one located near Graton, WV....its like a walk back in time....was totally crazy watching star trek, lol

April 17 2011 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Star Theater, a two-screen drive-in on the eastern outskirts of Toledo, Ohio, near Pearson and Maumee Bay State Parks. Great family-run place, well-policed, with an excellent film selection and decent food.

April 17 2011 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is a huge drive in theater in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. with 6-7 screens on Sunrise Boulevard

April 17 2011 at 7:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Come check out Harvest Moon drive in, Gibson City, IL if you're in the area...

April 17 2011 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is also a drive-in in Hyde Park, NY (home of FDR)

April 17 2011 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is also one in Carthage MO

April 17 2011 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply