The Drive-In Movie Experience

Today as I surfed around, I discovered that it was the anniversary of the first drive-in theater opening. The first theater opened in Camden, New Jersey. There are several places covering that angle, and Google even had their daily doodle reflect the date.

What struck me as fortuitous timing was the fact that I’ve been anxiously anticipating emails of schedules from a drive-in recently. I’m getting that itch to go again soon. What’s more surprising is that not so long ago I’d never gone at all.

Drive-ins may be a dying breed but they’re by no means extinct. If you’d like to experience one you can go here to find the one closest to you. This is the site I use to find the one I trek to. The interest was kindled by realizing that when vacationing in Central PA, I was not that far removed from some. Therefore, I found the one closest to me, which is a hike.

However, it’s a great time and something a movie buff must try. My recommendation would be to go see something you’ve seen already the first time around. This isn’t that hard to do as the schedules are usually a bit staggered on major releases and they will bring back older films.

For example, my most recent trip was around Halloween to see Paranormal Activity 3 followed by The Exorcist. My initial trip was to see the more family friendly slate of the weekend Dolphin Tale and Real Steel. Those were encore viewings to get my feet wet and used to the experience, which is surprisingly good.

The theatre I go to has two dedicated radio frequencies by which the sound is played in your car. Therefore, if you have good sound system the aural experience is rather good. The visual is not the greatest, which is why it’d behoove you to arrive a little early for a good spot. However, considering some projection snafus I’ve seen and heard about, it’s not the worst experience either.

The admission per person is about equivalent to one ticket at a multiplex. Example, The Delsea Drive-In is $9 per adult, $4 per child; for the double feature. The concession selection is extensive, and like a conventional theater this is where they make their money, but you can buy an outside food permit, if you wish.

So there are the basics regarding the drive-in experience, I suggest you look for one close to you and make a trip of it.


  1. David · June 6, 2012

    I grew up across the street from a drive in. Used to lay on the front yard and look at the images and imagine what the story was about. Eventually we would sneak in, laying on our backs right up in front under the screen. Hadn’t thought aout those times in a while.

    • bernardovillela · June 6, 2012


      I’m not sure that any still do that, but yes I read about the carload charges. However, that’s why I cited the comparison. They have to stay competitive but are still much cheaper than a multiplex and a much different, unique experience.


      It’s funny you mentioned that, I was looking for a still from a movie that references that very fact. It’s clearly not something I experienced but many have and seemed like the most idyllic.

  2. connie · June 6, 2012

    I loved drive in movies as a teen! We would caravan and stuff our cars full of friends; the theater we went to charged by car not by person! (This was back in the day before seat belt laws limited how many friends you would legally stuff into a station wagon. Blankets on the roofs, beach chairs between cars. It was the best! James bond films, any action film or horror film experience was the greatest this way…

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  4. alleyandthemovies · June 6, 2012

    There’s a drive in about 2 hours away from where I live. Worth visiting every time :)

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