National Drive-In Movie Day is just around the corner, which celebrates the anniversary of the first drive-in movie theater opening in the United States.
Monday, June 6 marks 89 years since the first drive-in screening. Held in New Jersey, moviegoers enjoyed “Wives Beware” for just 25 cents per car.
Though movies are more accessible today, many still enjoy the experience of sitting in a car, windows down, or lounging in a lawn chair in the grass, watching a movie in the outdoors. In preparation for warmer temperatures and longer summer nights, the News-Leader compiled a list of nine drive-in theaters throughout Missouri worth exploring this summer.
Traditionally, drive-in movie theaters show double features, two movies for the price of one. Unless noted otherwise, this is the case for the following theaters and showings.
Where: 1601 E. Church St. in Aurora
Admission: $ 8 per adult, children 6 and under are free
Sunset Drive-In Theater in Aurora is about 45 minutes southwest of Springfield and shows movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The box office opens at 7 pm and showtime is approximately 8:50 pm
The theater first opened in 1951 and has changed ownership several times over the years. In 1979, the original wooden screen burnt down and was replaced with a steel screen, which remains today. Today, the theater accommodates 298 cars and offers a variety of concession menu options.
Showing: “Family Camp” and “Top Gun: Maverick” June 4-5 and “Jurassic World: Dominion” starting June 10
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/3ajl1n0
Where: 15605 N. State Hwy 21 in Cadet
Admission: $ 11 per adult, $ 4 per child, $ 20 per carload
Just over three hours northeast of Springfield is Starlite Drive-In Movie Theater. The drive-in features two outdoor screens and shows movies every night of the week. Showtimes may vary per screening.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Days of Thunder” on screen one and “Bob’s Burgers Movie” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” on screen two June 3-9 at 8:45 pm
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/3tdVJgN
Where: 17231 Old 66 Boulevard in Carthage
Admission: $ 8 per adult, $ 4 per child ages 6-12, children 5 and under are free
Located in Carthage, 66 Drive-In is about an hour west of Springfield. Showtimes vary. Gates open one hour before showtime and the first movie starts at dusk.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Lost City” June 4-5 at 9 pm
Tickets are available for purchase in person. Only cash is accepted at the ticket gate. Cash and card are accepted at the concession stand.
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Where: 272 Drive-In Lane in Chaffee
Admission: $ 20 per carload for double features and classic movies, $ 30 per carload for new releases
Rock ‘N’ Roll Drive-In, located about four hours and 45 minutes east of Springfield, opened during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the theater’s website, the co-owners wished to create a safe, family friendly outdoor environment for folks during difficult times. Gates at Rock ‘N’ Roll Drive-In open at 7 pm and the first movie starts at 8:30 pm
In addition to traditional movie concession snacks, the drive-in also partners with local food trucks to provide a variety of tasty options.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Dirty Dancing” June 4, “Jurassic World: Dominion” coming soon
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/38HAYD9
Where: 16657 Co. Rd. B in Houston
Admission: $ 6.50 per adult, $ 5.50 per child ages 3-12, children 2 and under are free, for double features $ 8 per adult and $ 7 per child
An hour and 40 minute drive west of Springfield, Phoenix Theater and Drive-In offers both an indoor theater, which seats about 180 people, and an outdoor drive-in, which accommodates 140 vehicles. The drive-in ticket booth and concession stand opens 30 minutes before showtime. Both indoor and outdoor showtimes start at 6:30 pm, according to the theater’s website.
Showing: “Bad Guys” June 4-5 and June 9 on the outdoor screen, “Jurassic World: Dominion” coming June 10 to the drive-in
Tickets are available for purchase in person. For the drive-in, tickets are available 30 minutes before showtime.
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Where: 291 E. Kentucky Road in Independence
Admission: $ 20.40 per carload
At B&B Theaters Twin Drive-In near Kansas City, showtimes start at 9:30 pm
Showing: “Bad Guys” and “Dr. Strange: Multiverse” on one screen and “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Lost City” on the other screen June 4-8
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/3GJ1Fns
Where: 57 SE 25th Lane in Lamar
Admission: $ 8 per adult, $ 4 per child ages 3-11
Barco Drive-In Theater is located in Lamar, about an hour and 20 minutes northwest of Springfield. The theater is open Friday-Saturday evenings year-round and Sunday-Monday evenings during the summer months. Movies start at 9 pm
Barco Drive-In Theater has been in operation since 1950 and today, can accommodate up to 310 cars.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Lost City” June 4-5, “Top Gun: Maverick” June 6, “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Ambulance” June 10
Tickets are available for purchase in person.
Where: 3000 N. Morley St. in Moberly
Admission: $ 20.28 per carload
B&B Moberly Five and Drive offers both indoor and outdoor theaters, situated about three hours northeast of Springfield.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Lost City” June 4-8 at 9:05 pm on the outdoor screen
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/3NPbant
Where: Missouri Route 34 in Van Buren
Admission: Thursday tickets $ 5.25, Friday-Saturday adult tickets $ 9.25, Friday-Saturday children ages ages 6-10 $ 2.25
First opened in 1952, 21 Drive-In Theater is a two hour and 30 minutes drive east of Springfield. The theater features a sloped parking area, which accommodates 600 cars, with a playground and concession stand. In addition to one-night tickets, 21 Drive In Theater offers season passes.
Showing: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “The Lost City” June 4, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” June 9, “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “The Bad Guys” June 10-11
Order tickets in advance at bit.ly/3z9QzGx
In celebration of National Drive-In Movie Day, two drive-in movie theaters in Missouri, 21 Drive-In Theater and B&B Theaters Twin Drive-In are screening “Back to the Drive-In,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the history of drive-ins. The documentary will exclusively premiere at less than 20 drive-ins across the country Monday.
Are we missing any Missouri drive-in movie theaters? If there are any that deserve to be listed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greta Cross is the trending topics reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @gretacrossphoto. Story idea? Email her at email@example.com