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Capri Drive-In Theater

December 2, 2020

  • 119 W. Chicago Road
  • Coldwater, MI 49036
  • (517) 278-5628
  • Website
  • Menu

Finding a way to celebrate birthday’s has been one of the challenges during this pandemic.  It started off with J’s in March not long after the first Stay-At-Home order was issued.  We thought/were hopeful, that would be the only celebration we’d have to do under pandemic rules.  

Boy were we wrong.  Birthday’s, anniversary’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc….we’ve had to adapt all of our celebrations.  

We always knew B turning 5 would be the hardest to pull off.  He had been talking about what he wanted to do for his birthday party since his last birthday party at Skyzone.  He had all sorts of big plans….and none of them were doable under the current situation.  

We did everything we could think of to make the day special.  J took him to get his favorite breakfast from Dunkin Donuts, our families sent presents that we opened, L and I played Mario Kart with him…we wanted the day to be special even though it was just us.  

We had one trick up our sleeves.  For reasons we can’t explain, our kids love the movie The Croods.  They have been watching that movie on long car trips for several years.  It’s a fine movie…I laughed the first 100 times or so I watched it…but it’s always been funny to us that The Croods is the movie that became the car movie.  

We were pretty bummed when we saw Dreamworks was releasing a sequel in theaters right now.  There was no way we were going to go to an indoor theater.  The hope was Dreamworks would release the movie on VOD at a higher price like they did for Trolls: World Tour.

I just said we wouldn’t go to an indoor theater….lucky for us, there was an outdoor theater that decided to open up for the holiday weekend and had The Croods: A New Age as part of their double feature.  

The Capri Drive-In Theater is one of only a few drive-ins left in the state of Michigan.  The two screen theater is on US-12/Chicago Road west of Coldwater proper in Batavia Township.  As you drive by on US-12, it’s hard to miss the lighted marquee and the giant screens towering over the road.  

The gate for the first show opened at 6:00 with the movies starting at 7:00. I had no idea what kind of crowds they get and had no idea what kind of crowd they would get on a holiday weekend. I kind of pushed everyone to get read pretty early. We stopped at Walmart to pick up a couple of pillows….we brought lots of blankets but forgot pillows. Even with that stop….and a stop for cash, we were in line at about 5:30. The line forms in the driveway to the business but it also backs up on the shoulder of US-12. We were just barely in the driveway which made me feel a little safer but once we got inside and saw how much space is there, we realized we would have been ok pulling in a little closer to show time.

The gates opened up promptly at 6:00 and the line started moving pretty quickly. The admission fee is per person. Adults are $10. Kids 5-11 are $5 so it cost us $30 to get in. They only accept cash, hence the reason for stopping at the ATM on the way in.

Neither J or I had ever been to a drive-in before so we had no idea where the best place to park, would be. Capri has two screens showing different movies so we made sure we got to the right one then backed in to a space about halfway back and just off-center. Our plan was to open up the hatch of J’s SUV, crank the heat, and lay down the blankets and pillows to keep warm. It wasn’t a super cold night, but it was chilly. Our plan of attack worked and no one complained about being cold all night.

There was only one preview played before the movie. The rest of the time, it was classic cartoons. They were playing Foghorn Leghorn cartoons when we pulled in. After a few of those, they switched to Go Go Gophers. I was familiar with the Looney Toons cartoons but the Go Go Gophers I was not. The cartoon was part of the Underdog TV show in the 60’s…and by today’s standards, this would never get made. The cartoon is classic old west cowboys and Indians with one exception, it’s the Native American characters that always win. There were probably 5 or 6 cartoon shorts that played in the hour we waited for our movie to start.

First thing we did after parking, hit the restrooms. The restrooms are in the same building that house the snack bar and the projection rooms. It’s really one of the only building on the property. Snacks were high on the list of things we needed to do before the movie started so as soon as we got everyone taken care of in the restrooms, we went to grab snacks.

The snack shop is mostly self serve. There are two lines that take you past the snacks and lead to a cash register in the middle. Due to COVID, the snack shop wasn’t as self-serve as it used to be but they still have quite a bit to choose from with both movie snack favorites and some sandwiches so you can actually have a meal before loading up on salts and sweets.

The first stop is popcorn. It’s already boxed up and ready to go. There were also hot roasted peanuts and whole Hungry Howie’s Pizza. We grabbed three large boxes of popcorn the moved on to the candy options. B grabbed some Starburst but everyone passed on the big, traditional movie theater candy.

We spent a little over $30 on our first trip to the snack bar. Again, they only take cash.

The popcorn isn’t quite “movie theater” popcorn. It’s more like the popcorn you’d get at a baseball game….not quite as buttery but still insanely better than you can make at home. Same with the pop’s They’re bottles of Pepsi over large fountain drinks but that probably works better sitting in the back of the car.

Neither stopped us from devouring pretty much everything before the movie started. It’s been so long since we’ve been to a movie and so long since we’ve had popcorn like this, we all kind of went hard right after getting back to the car.

B needed to use the potty before the movie so I took him back to the snack shop building. Since we were going, J asked me to grab a pizza. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any whole pizzas left….though they did offer to order one and have it delivered. I ended up just grabbing two slices of pepperoni pizza and a salted pretzel with cheese instead. This cost another $10 so we spent about $40 overall on snacks between the two visits.

The pizza is just Hungry Howie’s. I saw their car come in a couple of times while we were sitting there. It’s a quick, cheap, delicious option. J took one of the slices I bought then offered me the other. Neither kid wanted it so it was a good thing we didn’t get a whole pizza.

J took the pretzel all to herself but I think both kids managed to get a little piece. It was just a pretty typical pretzel with a lot of salt and delicious nacho cheese.

And now it was time for the movie to start. The sound comes through the car radio or there’s an option to rent hand held radios at the theater. Each screen has it’s own frequency. We moved the stereo’s balance to the rear speakers and J’s car even has radio controls near the back hatch so we could adjust up and down during the movie.

The kids loved The Croods: A New Age and J and I really liked it as well. It was cute. There was a second feature on the screen we were at….Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas….but we had an hour drive home so we opted to skip out once The Coods was over.

Like I mentioned earlier, we had never done a drive-in before and man, it is an experience. The kids had so much fun. At one point, B told me he was having “the most fun birthday ever” and asked me if I was “having the most fun day ever?” We tried so hard to make the day special and I’m pretty sure we accomplished that. We have never really considered going to the drive-in due to Michigan’s late sunset…but that will change. The kids were asking to go back the next night. Everyone had so much fun

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 2, 2020 5:37 pm

    What a great day. You certainly made some memories for your Little Person – good stuff !

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