SUNDOWN at Southington Drive-in Theatre

The Drive-in boom here in the Nutmeg State peaked a decade later than in most of America's Drive-in states.
By the mid 1960's there were still more than 40 outdoor cinemas in Connecticut. On the other hand, since the heyday of Connecticut's Drive-ins, this state has suffered one of the highest attrition rates for any of the Drive-in states: a full 95% of its Drive-ins have gone dark, or have been demolished. But, as onetime Connecticut resident and showman, P.T. Barnum, was fond of saying- The Show must go on. And it does, at the three remaining Drive-ins, which we can still cherish, support, and seek to preserve.


MANSFIELD (Tolland County) CT 06250

Mansfield Drive-in Theatre: 860-423-4441

located at 228 Stafford Road

(Junction of Routes 31 & 32)
The largest of Connecticut's remaining Drive-ins has three screens and a capacity for parking nearly a thousand cars (the original screen is the largest of the three: 110' wide). The Mansfield is lit-up with double features on each screen (also making a point of showing classic intermission trailers and devoting at least 1 of their screens to family films only). Their season runs April thru October; on weekends only during spring & fall. All 3 screens are lit seven nites during peak Summer months. Movie audio is provided with a localized FM radio broadcast. Admission: $10.00 for all ages 12 and above; $5 for children 4-11; no charge for kids aged 3 and under (note that pets are not permitted at this Drive-in). Wednesday nite is Carload Nite (during peak season), at which time $20 per car covers any number of passengers.

GPS: Lat 41.7400029 • Long -72.2598273

[!] The Mansfield Drive-in is also the home of one of Connecticut's largest Flea Markets; on Sundays (April-November) 8am-3pm; during which time their snack bar also serves breakfast & lunch.

Pleasant Valley (Litchfield County) CT 06063

Pleasant Valley Drive-in Theatre: 860-379-6102

located on River Road, C.R. 181
in Pleasant Valley (Barkhamsted)

off of State Route 44 between
Winsted and New Hartford, CT

OldTimers may remember this cute little Drive-in tucked away off the path in western CT, as: The Rogers Corners Drive-in. The smallest of Connecticut's remaining Drive-ins, it is also the oldest CT Drive-in that remains in operation. Very pleasantly rural, with a grassy field framed-in by a stand of tall pines, the aptly named Pleasant Valley Drive-in can accomodate up to 250 cars in a time campsule setting, somewhat reminiscent of summer camp and very reminiscent of the circa 1940's Picture Show in smalltown America. This is an understated, unpolished gem of a Drive-in experience, which preserves the presence of the Past, allowing still a glimpse of that once-common rural small-town American Drive-in. Movie audio is now provided with a localized FM radio broadcast (87.9 FM) for its solo screen, which is usually lit April thru October with a double-feature; on weekends in spring & fall, and then four nites a week (Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun) during the peak Summer months. Admission: $8 per person for ages 12 and up; $5 for children of ages 6-12; kids aged 5&under admitted free. A Carload Nite is also offered (on Fridays during Spring and Fall; on Thursdays during peak Summer season); when the admission is only $16 per car, regardless of the number of passengers. Well-behaved dogs are accepted at this Drive-in Theatre.

GPS: Lat 41.9130707 • Long -72.9872437

[!] Expect that the Pleasant Valley Drive-in will be opening later than usual for Season 2014 (mid-to-late May, rather than late April), as the owners make the Industry mandated upgrade to digital projection.

Southington (Hartford County) CT 06479

Southington Drive-in Theatre: 860-628-2205

located 935 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike (Rte.322),
in Plantsville (Southington), CT

Originally lit back in 1954 as a solo screen Drive-in Movie Theatre, a 2nd outdoor screen was to be eventually added, and the Southington would remain lit for almost half a century .. until eventually going dark in 2002. The story doesn't end there (or worse), as the property was evetually acquired by the Town of Southington, the former Drive-in Theatre venue becoming an annexed to Parks & Recreation facilities. In 2010 a local committee of volunteers succeeded in reactivating a seasonal outdoor Picture Show on the premises. There's been some vocal griping about the fact that it only operates now on a very ltd basis .. but from our our own p/o/v, it's better to light a Drive-in than to curse the darkness! For Season 2014 Southington will be showing 1 movie a week after dusk (revival screenings of well-known movies, not current releases), on Saturday evenings in June, July, and August; with a couple of screenings slated for September & October. Admission: Southington residents pay $10 per carload (regardless of the number of passengers); non-residents pay $15 per carload; and walk-ins pay $2 per person (if hoofing it, you'll want to remember to bring along a lawn chair). The gate and Ticket Booths are open from 6 PM.

GPS: Lat 41.56336 • Long -72.8758677

[!] The Larger Picture: on each occasion that the Southington Drive-in operates, proceeds benefit a different community based organization, and these various civic orgs also take turns staffing this non profit Drive-in with volunteers.

If you are aware of any CT Drive-ins
that we seem to have missed, or
you would like to contribute new
information to this effort,
please to
send a letter to us.