- Auburndale (Polk County) Florida
Dale Drive-in Theatre:
located on Berkley Road (just north of Hwy.92)
Among the many Drive-ins abandoned by the Floyd
Theatres chain, is this dark shadow of her former
self; the old marquee and screen are still standing,
but not for long .. if WALMART has its way with her.
- Bartow (Polk County) Florida
Bartow Outdoor Drive-in: DARK
located at 1705 Highway 17 South
- Belle Glade (Palm Beach County) Florida
Lakes Drive-in Theatre: DARK
1391 North Main Street
photo: Dixon Hayes (1999)
- Dade City (Pasco County) Florida
Joy Lan Drive-in: 352-567-5085
located at 16414 Highway 301
This cozy little single-screen Drive-in with parking for
a couple hundred cars was resurrected by the former
president of the old Floyd theatre chain which was once
linked to many Drive-ins in its time (1940s-70's). And,
if price is a factor in attracting & introducing a wider
audience to the outdoor cinema experience, they do!
Joy Lan features THE lowest admission prices for
any American Drive-in: on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday,
and Sunday $2.00 for adults; kids 9 and under are free;
and on Thursday nites they charge by the carload: $2.00
(closed on Monday and Tuesday). The Joy Lan is open
throughout the year, and also operates a flea market
'swap shop' on Saturday and Sunday at the Drive-in,
which is less than an hour's drive north of Tampa.
- De Land (Volusia County) Florida
Boulevard Drive-in Theatre:
located at 1532 South Woodland Boulevard
- Delray Beach (Palm Beach County) Florida
Delray Drive-in Theatre:
located on North Federal Highway
photo: Norman Plant
- Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) Florida
Thunderbird Drive-in: 954-583-7733
located at 3121 West Sunrise Boulevard
The old Thunderbird, which is alternately known as
the Swap Shop Drive-in, is the largest of America's
Drive-in theatres (and is perhaps better described
as a Drive-in theatre complex). Open throughout
the year, the Thunderbird, which first opened-up
in 1963, now has 13 screens of varying sizes with a
correspondingly wide range of movies and format;
some screening single features, and some doubles,
depending on the length(s) of the particular movie;
(and screen 9 is the original and their largest screen).
Local vicinity FM broadcasts on various channels are
used to deliver the movies' sountracks (no speakers).
Admission to your choice of screens is: adults $3.50
and kids under 11 years of age are admitted in free.
It's very common for Drive-ins to host a Flea Market
swapmeet on the Dr'in lot. The Thunderbird Drive-in's
Swap Shop is an uncommon flea market, and possibly
the world's largest (although we've heard rumors that
California might have an outdoor flea market which is
even bigger than this one). In any event, Ft.Lauderdale
would still have the honor of hosting the world's largest
flea circus .. that's right, kids, on top of everything else is
the BIGtop .. the Thunderbird has its very own complete
full time circus 6 days a week (a no-show on Tuesdays);
admission to the flea market is free; admission to the
circus is $2 per seat. It's all located 1 mile west of I-95.
The Thunderbird's opening nite was very eerily
overshadowed (and thereafter, would be indelibly etched
in local memory) by the thunderbolt which hit that day --
President Kennedy's assasination, November 22nd, 1963.
- Fort Myers (Lee County) Florida
Northside Drive-in: 941-995-2254
located at 2521 North Tamiami Trail
Twin-screen Drive-in showing double features nitely.
Movie audio provided with FM (102.1) radio broadcast.
Admission: $3.50 adults; kids age 9 and under are free.
Flea Market on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
- Holiday (Pinellas County) Florida
see: Tarpon Springs
- Jacksonville (Duval County) Florida
Playtime Triple Family Drive-In: 904-771-2300
located at 6300 Blanding Boulevard
When it's sundown, it's PlayTime .. and that means:
double features on each of three screens, on 7 nites
of the week, year-round. Admission: Fri/Sat $3.50 per
person for all ages 10&up; under age 9 free w/parent;
Sunday - Thursday it's: $7/carload for all passengers.
FleaMkt swapmeet held here Wed,Fri,Sat,Sun: 6am-2pm.
photo: Georg Balandran
- Lakeland (Polk County) Florida
Silver Moon Drive-in: 863-682-0849
located at 4100 Route 92 W (New Tampa Hwy)
In continuous operation since 1948, the Silver Moon
is open throughout the year, with 2 screens, showing
double features, and frequently a repeat screening
of the main feature after midnite on weekends. If
planning to attend on a Friday or a Saturday nite,
you really do need to get there early .. in order to
avoid being turned-away; fills-up quickly on wknds.
Hometown fav at the snackbar is their large pizza
special ($5.50). Admission: adults $3 per person;
kids under 9 free; Thursday nites: $3 per carload.
Flea Market on Saturday & Sunday: 6AM-12:30PM.
photo: Marty Lineen (1993)
- Lake Worth (Palm Beach County) Florida
Lake Worth Drive-in: 561-965-4518
located at 3438 Lake Worth Road
The last outdoor cinema in Palm Beach County --
(you may remember it as the Trail Drive-in), opened
in 1967, a solo screen playing to more than 400 cars.
Currently screening one feature nitely, with FM audio.
Admission: $5 for adults (and kids over the age of 12).
A FleaMarket swapshop is held here 3 days a week:
on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, from 6AM.
- Naples (Collier County) Florida
Naples Drive-in: 941-774-6661
located on East Davis Boulevard (x15 off I-75)
The Naples is Florida's first true 'resurrection' ..
to be noted in the re naissance du cinema ouvert
evidenced across America for the past few years.
The Naples twin first opened in 1974 with a run of
almost a dozen roller coaster years, during which
time the original owner went through series of
different entertainment formats and promotional
ploys (and films, from B movies to X flix) before
finally pulling the plug on it. Fortunately, it was
acquired and revived by a new owner in 1994,
who cares about the Drive-in, has a better
feel for the venue, and a natural instinct for
interacting with and catering to his patrons.
The new Naples is lit-up seven nites a week
throughout the year, and is usually screening
double features on your choice of two screens.
Admission: $3.50 per person. There is also a
flea market and a farmer's market (774-2900)
held on Saturdays & Sundays from 7AM-3PM.
- Ocala (Marion County) Florida
Ocala Drive-in: 352-629-1325 RE-OPENED!
located at 4850 South Pine Avenue (Route 441)
The Ocala had operated continuously since opening in
1948, and had been managed by the same family since
1969 .. until 2002, as the nearest operating Drive-in for
the greater Orlando area, and also, the last fully classic
Florida Drive-in, which still provided movie audio as they
had for more than fifty years, with the traditional window
speakers. The old solo screen had been lit year round, but
in recent years on weekends only; going dark with a last
picture show on Sunday, the 20th of October, Season 2002
(with a double-feature screening of Lilo and Stitch, followed
by Bad Company). The story has a happy ending however..
as of February, 2003, The old solo screen with a capacity for
up to 300 cars has been re-lit, with noticeable improvements:
It will be open every nite of the week in Season 2003 with a
double feature; with movie audio now broadcast via FM radio.
Admission: $4 for adults; ages 9 and under are admitted free.
There is also a flea mkt here Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun (7am-3pm).
from Orlando: follow Route 441 all the way out, or
I-75 to the Hwy.200 exit; right onto 17th Street, and
right again onto Route 441, and continue for 3½ miles.
- Orlando (Orange County) Florida
formerly located on Clarcona Ocoee Road
in the Lockhart district of greater Orlando
This former "solo" (single-screen) used to park 300 cars ..
but has been dark since the 1998 fire that took the screen.
For those who miss the old Ri-Mar, the nearest operating
Ozoners in central Florida would be: the Ocala, to the
northwest, up in Marion County, and also Lakeland's
Silver Moon (southwest), in Hillsborough County.
photo: Georg Balandran
- Pinellas Park (Pinellas County) Florida
formerly located at 8001 Highway 19 North
The boom years for the American Drive-in that followed
the end of the Second World War, peaking in the late 50's
heyday, gave rise not only to thousands of outdoor cinemas,
but also many variations on the theme. In spite of its generic
and straightforward name, St. Petersburg's Drive-in Cinema,
was undoubtedly one of the most unusual ever built. Among
other things, its 60' wide screen tower had a very elaborate
© Drive-in Concepts
glass-enclosed showcase stage built into it (impervious
to weather and insects for the performers), and the stage
itself, was designed to revolve for the performers to enter
and exit, and to enable seamless set & costume changes.
Built in 1951, originally as the Garden Auto Drive-in, it was
then transformed into the inventive Drive-in Cinema as the
brainchild of a forward-thinking minister in Michigan who'd
conceived of it as a novel venue for Christian-oriented films
and shows and as the focalpoint of a non-denominational
ministry. After having operated under the guidance of its
imaginative founder for five decades consecutively, the
great screen remained lit up until the first month of the
new millenium. Flash forward: if ever you find yourself
passing a Wallmart in Pinellas Park, and suddenly a
distinct sensation of Deja Vu ripples through you ..
maybe you were there before, when it was a Drive-in.
- Ruskin (Hillsborough County) Florida
Ruskin Drive-in Theatre: 813-645-1455
located at 5011 Highway 41 North
It's common to see grandparents returning to this
very traditional Drive-in with their grandchildren ..
and regulars who come early to make sure they get
their usual spot in front of the 60' wide screen which
has remained lit since 1952. The Ruskin was one of
the very first Drive-ins to install a local vicinity radio
broadcast system to deliver the movie soundtrack -
AM (1530) back in 1971, and has since added an FM
channel (89.3), but makes a point of also maintaing
the traditional window speakers as a basic policy:
"it just wouldnt be a Drive-in without the speakers."
The Ruskin is open throughout the year, screening
double features, and is located between Brandon
and Tampa up north, and Bradenton to the south
(3 miles off of I-75). Admission: Thursday-Sunday
$4 for adults; kids aged 9 & under admitted free;
Monday-Wednesday special: $5 by the carload.
- Sanford (Seminole County) Florida
formerly located on Highway 17
photo: Georg Balandran
- St. Petersburg (Pinellas County) Florida
28th Street Drive-in Theatre:
located at 4990 28th Street North
We regret to report that this colorful and popular Drive-in
which opened-up in 1950 and which had also been so nicely
maintained in its later years, has now seen its last season;
50yrs seems to have been the limit .. for both of St. Pete's
remaining Drive-ins .. continued thinning of the Ozoner layer
(FTR: the lights went out over St.Pete on Friday, June 30th 2K).
The Drive-in was not the owner of the land it resided on, and
at the expiration of its most-recent lease arrangement, the
landowners let it go to a high-bidder (we heard $1,520,000);
the Pinellas County School Board, which actually hasn't any
immediate plans for the property, but determined that it'd
be better to have the nearly 15 acres and not need it, than
to need it at somepoint down the road and not have it ..
we'll file that one under: "your Tax Dollars at work!"
photo: Georg Balandran
- Tampa (Hillsborough County) Florida
Fun Lan Drive-in: 813-234-2311
located at 2302 E. Hillsborough Avenue @ 22nd St.
A lot of people have the idea that Florida is where you go
to retire .. an idea that had never occured to Chuck - now in
his 70's, who was working here on January 10th, 1950 (Day1),
and is still putting his time in. And there have been a lot of
changes over the years .. but the Fun-Lan, having been a
fixture of the Tampa nitescene for the last half of the last
Century, has also made it over The Great Divide .. which
most of the classic American Drive-ins would never cross,
into the new Millenium. And in this first season of the new
Millenium, the Fun-Lan is alive and kickin; and take that
to mean: you should also make a point of arriving here
early if you plan to attend on weekends. The Fun-Lan is
open 7 nites throughout the year, screening your choice
of 3 sets of double features on each of its three screens.
It has both traditional speakers and a local FM broadcast
for the movies' soundtrack. In its heyday, the Fun-Lan had
a really awesome playground for the wee folk (maybe you
recall that mini-train .. with hundreds of feet of train track!).
Where the kiddie attractions once were, they now stage a
popular Flea Market Wednesday - Sunday (813-237-0886).
Admission to the old picture show is: $3.50 for adults, and
kids under 10 are admitted free; the Thursday nite special:
Carload Nite ($3.50 per car). They're just a mile east of 275.
- Tarpon Springs (Pinellas County) Florida
Midway Drive-in Theatre:
located at 1315 Route 19 North
- West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County) Florida
Beach Drive-in Theatre: 561-844-0330
located at 1140 Old Dixie Highway (Riviera Beach)
Fade to Black (as far as the Picture Show goes);
flea market swapmeet held on the lot here, wknds.
- Winter Garden (Orange County) Florida
Star-Lite Drive-in Theatre:
formerly located at 1171 East Plant Street
- Winter Haven (Polk County) Florida
Haven Dale Drive-in Theatre:
located on Havendale Boulevard NW
The 200-car lot is still there, but the old screen has been
torn-down, and now only the old concession area remains.