One of Montana’s Last Drive-In Theaters is Open for the Season
Drive-in movie theaters were once found in nearly every city around the US. Not limited to metropolitan areas, drive-ins were found in small towns too. The Smithsonian noted the the number of drive-ins peaked in 1958, when more than 4,000 of the jumbo screens dotted the nation.
Montana once had at least 39 drive-in theaters, according to DriveInMovie.com. There are only three in operation today, located in Butte, Corvallis and Billings. Watching movies in your car enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in 2020 as people looked for ways to watch a film while maintaining social distance. A number of singers and bands experimented with "live" drive-in theater concerts too, with various success.
The Amusement Park Drive-In near Laurel is now open for the 2021 season, kicking off with showings limited to Friday and Saturday nights. There are two screens, so they are always playing two shows. Usually, they try to have a children/family movie on one screen and maybe an R-rated thriller or mystery showing on screen two. Their website is not always updated, but their Facebook page is usually up-to-date (check it before you make the drive). Full concessions are available and tickets are just $7/adult and $5/ child. Kids under 5 are free.
The drive-in is always so much fun. The kids love dragging a giant pile of blankets and pillows into the car, and I may - or may not - enjoy a cold beer or two during the movie. As Hollywood starts ramping up new movie releases again, catch at least one movie at the drive-in this summer. You'll love it.
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