Back in the 1950s, when hot rods and poodle skirts were all the rage, there were drive-in movie theaters everywhere. Seriously thousands of them. Every Saturday night in every small town in America, teenagers would drive in to watch Hollywood’s latest extravaganza (or create a little extravaganza of their own).
These days, there are only a few hundred drive-ins left across the country, and in a few places, they’re moviegoers’ only option because of pandemic restrictions keeping the doors locked on traditional cineplexes.
Fortunately, Kansas City is home to two drive-ins, and these days teenagers aren’t the only ones driving in!
Of course, a spring or summer night, under the stars in the comfort of your own car or the bed of your own truck makes for a great date night, but you’re just as likely to find whole families sitting in lawn chairs, or building pillow forts in the back of their Ford Explorer enjoying an affordable evening of family entertainment.
“The kids love to come to the drive-in,” says Gretchen Davis of Blue Springs. “It’s cheaper than taking them all to the mall for a movie, it’s not as crowded, and we get to actually breathe some fresh air. We can’t wait for spring.
Where To Go For Drive-In Movies in Kansas City
Boulevard Drive-In Theatre
1051 Merriam Ln
Kansas City, Kansas 66103
Kansas City moviegoers have been driving in the Boulevard Drive-in for over 70 years since the 1950s and the heyday of the drive-in culture. The Boulevard can accommodate 600 vehicles for a showing
B&B Twin Drive-In Theatre
291 East Kentucky Road
Independence, Missouri 64050
The Twin is the newcomer in the Kansas City Drive-In scene. They’ve only been showing movies there for half a century. The Twin opened in 1965 and these days, you can get the entire family in for just $22.
What to Take to The Drive-In
Popcorn just tastes better at the movies even when they’re outside, and both of Kansas City’s drive-ins have fully-stocked snack bars. One of the great things about taking the whole family to the drive-in, though, is you can pay by the carload to get the kids, grandmom, and Aunt Bessy in cheap then feed them snacks that you brought from home. Go ahead. Bring a cooler full of sodas plus all the chips and candy you can fit.
Here are a few other essentials you might want to include when you’re packing for the show:
- Lawn Chairs
- Portable Radio
- Bug Spray
One last thing to think about: sitting through a double feature fright fest with the AC blowing and the radio blaring might wreak havoc on your battery if you’re not prepared. Think about bringing your vehicle to Crossley QuickLane Tire & Auto Center for a quick once over before you head out.
Nothing ruins a Saturday night faster than a passel of hot, tired, cranky kids and a car that won’t start!
What Should I Drive to The Kansas City Drive-Ins?
Well since you asked, we think the Ford Explorer may be the world’s most perfect drive-in vehicle (DIV).
Here’s the secret sauce.
With comfortable seating for 7, you can get the entire family into the theatre for a few bucks a head. That’s money in the bank and you’ve already saved like $50 bucks over a mall movie before you hit the concession stand.
When you get to the movies, point your Explorer AWAY from the screen. Walk around, open the rear, hatch, and hit that magic POWERFOLD button. The third-row seats will automagically fold themselves flat, and, Bob’s you’re Uncle, you’ve got room in back for the world’s greatest pallet and pillow fort. Set the kids up in there and pull out a couple of lawn chairs for the grown-ups.
Better yet, if you managed to get a babysitter, you and your honey can watch the movies, and lean back for a little Saturday night stargazing through the Explorer’s panoramic twin-panel moonroof.
Now that’s entertainment!