The Drive-In movie theater was first introduced to the United States in 1933 by Richard Hollingshead when he realized that despite the Great Depression, people were still willing to spend money to go to local theaters and see movies with their families. He felt that America was infatuated with the automobile (and so are we at Hoffman Auto Group), and so he set up the first drive-in movie theater in his New Jersey home’s backyard. The popularity of the drive-in skyrocketed in the years following, even being featured in films like Grease and The Outsiders, solidifying it’s place in pop-culture history.
Although drive-in theaters have largely disappeared, there are still three great locations in Connecticut that families and friends can enjoy. They all feature a variety of films for any taste, ranging from old favorites to new releases and kid-friendly to rated R.
Mansfield Drive-In Theatre and Marketplace is a family-friendly drive-in theatre. Mansfield offers three screens that play double-features every night, ranging from rated PG to R. This summer bring your kids to see great features like Finding Dory and Alice Through the Looking Glass, or leave the children at home and see Independence Day Resurgence or The Conjuring 2. Movies start at 9 pm, followed by a 15 minute intermission and a second film starting around 11-11:30 pm (depending on movie run time). Tickets are good for both films offered per screen – feel free to stay for one or both. A snack bar is available with all your favorite movie treats, as well as grilled options like burgers, hot dogs, or fries. Every Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm, Mansfield hosts eastern Connecticut’s largest flea market. Don’t forget to visit them on Facebook for a chance to win a free carload pass.
Address: 228 Stafford Rd., Mansfield Center
Ticket Prices (Credit Cards Accepted): Adults 12+: $10
Children 4-11: $7
Seniors 65+: $7
Military with ID: $7
Wednesdays: $20 per car
Hours: Gates Open at 7:15pm April & May: Open Fridays Saturdays and Sundays; June: Open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays; Mid June, July and August: Open Every Night); September- Mid October: Open Fridays & Saturdays;
Flea Market open every Sunday 8am-3pm (Mid March – Thanksgiving)
The Pleasant Valley Drive-in Movie Theater is a theater for all ages located in Barkhamsted, CT. Pleasant Valley has been in operation since 1947. The theater sits on a three acre lot near the west branch of the Farmington River with a capacity for up to 250 vehicles. Movies start approximately 30 minutes after dark. This summer you will have many options such as Finding Dory and Central Intelligence. Leashed dogs are allowed at the drive-in, however food deliveries and grilles are not. There is a concessions stand available for snacks, including treats like hot dogs or onion rings. Be sure to ‘like’ Pleasant Valley on Facebook for a chance to win free tickets.
Address: 47 River Rd, Barkhamsted
Ticket Prices (Cash Only):
Ages 13+: $10
Ages 6 – 12: $5
Ages under 5: free
Thursdays: $20 per car
Hours: Movies start approx. 8:45
The Southington Drive-In is owned and operated by the town of Southington. Being community-minded, the drive-in has donated $112,000 of their proceeds to 17 local non-profit Southington civic organizations. Southington Drive-In will feature some of your classic favorites this summer, like Jaws, Ghostbusters, Grease, and Frozen. Make sure to check them out on Facebook for more updates!
Address: 995 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike, Southington
Ticket Prices (Cash Only): Southington Residents: $10 per carload
Non-Residents: $15 per carload
Walk-ins (please bring lawn chairs): $2 per person
Hours: Gates open at 6 pm, movies start at sunset
When was the last time you went to the drive-in to see a movie? What did you see? Share your stories in the comments below.
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