Drive-in theatres might seem like dinosaurs, relics of the past. But there are actually about 300 of them left scattered across the country. The outdoor movie theatres are having a bit of a renaissance these days as people are rediscovering them thanks to social distance precautions. Whether going to drive-ins conjure fond childhood memories or you’re going for the first time, we've put together a few tips to make this classic summertime experience more enjoyable.
But before you pile into the car, keep in mind that every drive-in has its own rules and COVID guidelines. Some allow pets and others do not. Some require advance tickets to reduce personal contact and others do not. So be sure to review the specific rules for the drive-in you intend to visit before you go.
1. Turn off all lights, inside and outside your car
Nothing ruins a movie experience like being blinded by bright lights. Dim your headlights before entering the car lot (especially if you’re arriving late or leaving early), and turn them off completely once you’ve found a parking spot. Also, turn off the interior dome light, and limit the use of devices with lighted screens like phones and tablets. Yep, we can see the glow just like people try to use them on the sly in regular theatres. And avoid putting your foot on the brake pedal so those bright red tail lights don’t blind people behind you.
Bring small flashlights, especially for the kids. These can be used to help make your way to the restroom during the movie when all other lights will be out.
2, Shut off the engine
This one is pretty obvious, but the sound of a running engine is loud and distracting, and so is your car’s exhaust. Be sure to plan ahead and dress according to the weather. Since you won’t be able to crank up the A/C, wear light, comfortable clothing and bring everything you need for a night outside, even sunscreen if you’ll be arriving a few hours early in the dead of summer. And don’t forget bug spray and a sweater or jacket since temperatures will cool off as the sun goes down.
3. Keep an eye out for kids
Whether they’re yours or somebody else’s, kids will probably be running around everywhere. Drive slowly and carefully through the lot while you look for a space. If you’ve brought your kids along, try to keep them from wandering around. It can be dangerous to run through the cars and aisles of the lot.
4. Hit up the concession stand
It’s no secret that theatres make their money on concession sales, not ticket prices. The same is true for drive-ins so don’t skimp on treats at the concession stand; everything tastes better at a drive-in anyway for some reason! That said, the snack bar and the bathrooms will be crazy busy before the movie, during intermissions, and after it’s all over. And be aware, some drive-ins even strictly prohibit outside food and drink from being brought onto the premises and state patrons will be ejected (without refunds) if caught with outside food and drink.
5. Being in a car doesn't make you invisible
Remember, it is easy to see inside of cars. Some people forget this fact and seem to think no one can see what they are doing inside their car during the movie. This especially applies to the more "romantically inclined".
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