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Going to the movies is high on the list of favorite things to do for people of all ages, and it truly is the only thing I miss right now as we’re socially-distancing and businesses are remaining closed for the safety of their patrons. But even as we are missing the dark theaters and reclining seats, folks in some parts of the state have another option – drive-in theaters are ready for their closeup!
The very first drive-in in the country opened in Camden, New Jersey 85 years ago this year. The popularity of the drive-in surged in the late 1940s and peaked with approximately 5,000 theaters entertaining people of all ages across the country in the 1950s. Sadly, there are fewer than 400 left in the U.S. today.
My first experience was at the Asher Drive-in in Little Rock, trying to watch The Ten Commandments through a rainstorm from the back of our family station wagon. Unfortunately, the Asher is gone now, along with at least 48 others in the state. But three drive-ins in Arkansas are still drawing crowds every summer. And since the way we view drive-in movies is already distanced, and most theaters allow people to bring in their own food, nothing could be easier. New movie releases are on hiatus because of the pandemic, but a classic film viewed at the drive-in theater is still a great way to spend an evening as a family – or even if you just need a few hours alone. (I see you, moms!)
In Fayetteville, the 112 Drive-In Theater shows a double-feature Thursday through Sunday nights beginning at 8:30 p.m. The box office opens 90 minutes prior to show time to help cut down on long lines and reduce crowding. Their concession stand offers standard snack foods along with a more substantial list of dinner items like hamburgers and hotdogs. Check their website for parking rules and other info.
Note: Alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden and will get you ejected.
Location: 3552 N Highway 112, Fayetteville, AR
Forms of Payment: Now accepting debit and credit cards!
Ticket Prices: Age 13+ $10.00 / 6 – 12 $5.00 / Kids 5 and under are free
The gates first opened in 1966 at the Kenda Drive-In, and they’re still showing double-features Friday through Monday nights. The box office opens at 7:15 p.m., with an 8:30 show time. There is no street address for the theater, but there is a map on their website. The website provides no information on concessions, so call ahead to ask what’s available and what you can bring. (Or if you have firsthand info – feel free to share it in the comments section below!)
Location: Highway 65 North (north of town), Marshall, AR
Forms of Payment: Cash or check only
Ticket Prices: Age 12+ $6.00 / 6 – 11 $2.00 / Kids 5 and under are free
The Stone Drive-In was built in 1965 and nearly faced closure in 2013 when movies went digital and they were required to replace their existing projector. The theatre is still going strong and runs a single-feature four nights a week (Thursday-Sunday) throughout the spring, summer and early fall. Check their website for the schedule, as they feature a mixture of family-friendly, classics, and more adult selections. Movies still play even if it’s raining. Their box office opens one hour before dark.
Location: 808 Theatre Lane (southwest of town), Mountain View, AR
Forms of Payment: Order online or cash only onsite
Ticket Prices: Age 12+ $5.00 / 4-11 $3.00 / Under 4 Free
If you are planning a trip to a drive-in this summer, here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind:
What are your favorite drive-in memories? Share them below, then go out and make some new ones – see you at the movies.
Cover photo courtesy of Arkansas Parks and Tourism.
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