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Going to the Drive-In


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Going to the movies with a baby can be a herculean task to say the least. One can only hope that he/she will stay asleep or be amused enough not to cry during the showing. Our four month old has not yet developed enough self control to stay occupied in a movie theater setting. Or at least not enough to stay away from annoying our fellow movie goers at an indoor theater. This creates a problem. Abigail and I used to go to the movies all the time before we had Wes. Now? Not so much.

Our answer to this problem has been the local drive-in. It has be an amazing opportunity to see movies and enjoy the summer experience of watching a movie under the stars without being bothersome to our fellow movie goers. This drive-in movie going experience as turned into an almost bi-weekly ritual for us and we have enjoyed every minute. Well, every outing anyways.

Our Typical Outing Goes Like This



We arrive early and get a preferred parking spot. Sometimes this means arriving a much as 2 hours before the movie. The advantage here is that once we park and set up our camping chairs we can walk Mr. Dude around without losing our spot. He really likes being held while moving around and generally hates being held while sitting down.

Take pictures & check -in. We’re big FourSquare junkies. Heck, we’re heavy social media users in general so the time we are hanging out before the movie allows us to catch up on our check ins, inboxes and news feeds. This time is also spent taking pictures and documenting the experience of being at the drive-in. There are only a few left in operation in the US after all.


We chat with each other and our drive-in neighbors. Conversations pick up with each other and with our drive-in neighbors. Generally the conversation between each other is about life now and our to do lists or dreams of the future.


Movie watching, with a few interruptions. This is where the movie going experience gets even better. As long as Wes is happy we stay in the car/our seats and all is great. If he gets fussy we can easily feed him or change him while still being in or near our car. When he does get too fussy to sit/stand still, because sleeping is to be avoided at all costs, I can walk him around the outdoor theater and still see/hear the movie without bothering other patrons.


Food! The food at the drive-in is generally mediocre. They even have a rule about NOT mixing icee flavors. Lame right? We can bring in our own food and they don’t mind. That makes up for the stupid rule. There are grills you can use, but we generally bring a pizza or various sweet & salty snacks.


Packing up and going home. This is often the most difficult part of the night. It tends to be this way because by the end of the second movie it is usually late and the baby is usually asleep in our arms. The movie’s end credits role and we have to move him to the car seat for safe travel home. This almost always wakes him up. Crying follows. Sometimes its intense and you feel like a failure as a parent for keeping your kid up so late. Other times he’s only mildly complaining and falls asleep before we get far down the road home.


Its Not Perfect, But Its A Great Option

Attending the drive-in is not the perfect way to see a movie, but it a great option for us while Wes is young. We can bring in our own food and there is a flat fee per car rate once a week. Those two items alone make it worth going to the movies at the drive-in far into the future. The more kids we have the more we’ll save! Or something like that.


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  1. This is brilliant! I wish I had a drive in near me and I wish I had thought of this idea when my kids were small. I know people feel pretty strongly about babies in theaters. I have mixed feelings. It’s not fair for a family to have to rob an older sibling from a fun movie like Planes just because there’s a tiny in the family and it stinks to have one parent stay home while the other gets to go. So I’m always pretty open to the parents bringing the baby. I do think, however, that it is also fair to expect them to step out with the baby if he or she is crying. It’s fair to other movie goers but more importantly it’s fair to the baby!! The drive in, though, solves all those problems! And you don’t even have to bring the big purse to sneak in snacks and face the ethical dilimena of explaining to your kid why you’re hiding food in your purse!

    Great post!


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