Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Drive-In

There are certain family activities that I always have nostalgia for, those activities that I couldn't wait to do with my own kids once I had some. Going to the drive-in is a big one. When we were growing up, there were still quite a few drive-in movie theaters in Denver (the one in Thornton, the Cinderella Twin, and let's not forget the Super Ghetto Drive-by Drive-in on Colfax...good times.) I still remember my first drive-in movie, my mom and her best friend took me and my twin sister -- at AGE FIVE -- to see a horror double feature: The Thing and Cat People. Waaaay too scary for kids our age, and other than being petrified for 4 hours straight the other big memory of that night is us spilling a giant orange soda all over the WHITE seats of our godfather's brand-new car. It was awesome. As the drive-in concept started to fade away and the theaters around town began closing, our family still managed to make it to the drive-in at least a couple of times every summer. Once I was in high school and college, TH and I continued the tradition and had regular drive-in dates. The drive-in is where we saw National Lampoon's European Vacation, and Beverly Hills Cop. It's also where as a teenager I watched the first Jurassic Park, and Apollo 13, and Twister (which features a great scene of a drive-in being torn apart by a tornado).

So imagine our surprise this weekend when TH and I found out after 5 years of living here that Vegas has a drive-in! Who woulda thought? It's usually so hot at night during the summer that the drive-in seems like a spectacularly bad idea - in July midnight temperatures are usually around 95 degrees, I kid you not. But we've been having weird weather lately, with downright balmy, breezy nights, so yesterday after J said he wanted to "have a pickanick outside" we spontaneously packed up and drove across town to find that drive-in. Not only has J never been to a drive-in, but he's never been to a movie at all, so he was super excited on the way there. "We're going to watch a movie in the car! We have our pillows and blankets in the car! We're going to eat in the car!" He had no idea what was going on but he knew it was going to be different. After running through KFC (classic drive-in food for our family) we found the place, and it was actually pretty nice, with 5 screens and ample parking. Our chosen features were Up followed by Night at the Museum 2, although we had no plans of trying to watch the second feature.

It was so. much. more. fun. than I thought it was going to be. Kind of like a slumber party, kind of like going camping. We were all wearing pajama bottoms, laying in the back of our SUV with the hatch up, eating fried chicken and drinking lemonade, and lounging on pillows and blankets from home. J was so well-behaved -- a whole night without whining, or crying, or complaining once. No potty accidents, either. J suprised me in a couple of ways, eating ALOT of chicken and "corm" on the cob (and tasting coleslaw), and staying up for the ENTIRE movie. (Quick movie review: Up is a great family film, J loved the balloons and dogs, and there is a nice message for the adults, too, that actually brought tears to my eyes. It's worth seeing.) He actually managed to stay awake until right before we got home at around 11pm...and still woke up at 6am this morning, the little bugger.

Anyway we're definitely going to do the drive-in again before it gets too hot. It was a great way to spend some time together and for TH and I to get to a movie without paying a sitter. For once, instead of having too-high expectations in an activity and being disappointed, the drive-in turned out to be just as great as I imagined it would be, one of those times when TH and I looked at each other and said, "This is what we hoped having kids would be like."


Joanna said...

Wow, I didn't know there were any drive-ins left. I've never been to one. They were still around when I was a kid, but my parents refused to take us. They always blamed mosquitoes. I know they were probably right, but I would have liked to have experienced it once.

I think it's great you and TH have been able to share such a fun tradition with J.

JenFen said...

I too grew up going to the drive-in as a family and have very fond memories of it. We actually have a drive-in here in our town and have taken the kids a couple of times and had a really nice time. We already saw Up and I completely agree with your review but I am still hoping they show it at the drive in with Night at the Museum so we can take the kids to a nice family friendly combo. And wow - the weather has been SO mild. Sounds like Vegas and 29 are both enjoying one of the mildest Junes I have ever experienced.

LauraC said...

The only drive-in in Raleigh burned down after we moved here or else I would be all over this! Sounds like a great night!

Maria said...

We went to the drive in this weekend for the first time too, and i loved it. The kids thought it was the best thing ever, and the bugs were non existent. We will definitely go again!

jack said...

very cool looking blog, your family looks really nice, keep updating your blog im a reader!