As the days grow longer and warmer temperatures beckon us back to the beaches where shark’s teeth hunting, beach yoga, and drum circles are just the tip of the elusive iceberg in Sarasota County beaches, Summer is in the air. As crickets add their songs to long summer nights which can now be spent taking long runs, preparing a savory barbeque for family and friends, or just enjoying some playtime in the backyard with your kids, every minute of precious sunlight is appreciated by folks ready for the dog days of summer.
And as the evenings come and families are preparing for the usual Redbox movie or Netflix grab, there really is no need to head inside for the rest of your evening. For a quick ride north that will take less than an hour, you can be pulling into Ruskin Family Drive-In where a new definition of summertime fun is in store for your family.
According to the United Drive-In Theater Owners Association, there are only 366 drive-ins left in the United States. What was once a shining icon of summer evening fun has gone the way of the dinosaur. Declining ticket sales and a hefty cost to upgrade current drive-ins to be able to compete with mega movie complexes with 3D action and comfortable seating has precluded many drive-in theaters from staying in the game. Luckily for us, Ruskin Family Drive-In has been providing over 50 years of continuous outdoor movie experiences to generations of local moviegoers. If you haven’t been to a drive-in movie in a while, or possibly ever, this is the summer to do it.
Ruskin Family Drive-In is one of those rarities that you treasure once you learn of it. And after just one visit, and one exceptional outdoor movie experience, Ruskin Family Drive-In suddenly turns into your summer right-of-passage journey you take as soon as the last school bell rings. As you head to the Ruskin Family Drive-In, surrounded by farm fields and the sleepy town of Ruskin, you may as well be donned in your shiniest saddle shoes because it feels very nostalgic and innocent. You will find orderly rows of cars, whose visitors know the drill: Turn your lights out so you don’t blind the people already there and if you have a truck, park it in the back. It’s okay to back in so you can utilize the rear of your mini van and the like for pillows and blankets, but just be courteous. No alcohol allowed, and they frown on cursing. If you can keep those simple rules straight, you are in for an evening that is truly a treat.
Boasting a 2,000 square foot screen, a well-stocked concession stand serving favorites like sizzling burgers and pulled pork sandwiches and a variety of new and old-fashioned candies, clean restrooms and a designated kids playing area, this is the best value for a fun evening away from home. New movies that rival what you’ll find in your local movie theaters with state-of-the-art visuals and sound in the comfort of your own vehicle will have you leaving germ-ridden theaters by the droves. In fact, “Civil War” and “The Jungle Book” are on tap for this week’s viewing schedule. So, if you’re looking for a unique date, fun family outing, or just a cool getaway with friends, the Ruskin Family Drive-In provides a trip to yesteryear, full of nostalgia and character, yet provides all the hoopla you want from a new release movie. And while the evening weather is comfortable, bring your chairs and you can watch the movies while enjoying the night air. There’s something special about sharing a bucket of popcorn with your loved ones while the fresh Florida breeze passes by. This is the summer to check out a drive-in movie and be sure to share this new tradition with your family and friends.
The price for entry to Ruskin Family Drive-In is minimal by today’s standards, with an admission fee of only $6 per person for two movies. Children ages five to eight are only $1 per child. Children four years old and younger are free. If you’d like to learn more about the Ruskin Family Drive-In, please visit their website at www.ruskinfamilydrivein.com .
Photos: Drive In by Monkeywing on Flickr, commercial use allowed
Dark Star Drive in by Torley on Flickr, commercial use allowed, Facebook