Drive-in Movie Theater Options Near Campus


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Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre in Orefield, Pa.

Julia Stanisci Staff Writer

No movie theaters? No extra buttery popcorn or chocolate chip cookie dough bites? Not even icees? Film fanatics, this is a hard time for you guys. It’s also hard for those starting relationships with nowhere to go on a first date and pretty much everyone else in the world, but do not fear, there is hope. 

That hope lies in an old-time classic that is back on the rise due to the pandemic: drive-in movie theaters. Grab your coziest blankets and pillows, and stock up on boxed candy and popcorn from the Connelly Center Convenience Store. It’s time for a road trip. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any classic drive-in movie theaters that are super close to Villanova’s campus, but the journey is half the fun anyway. All you need is a car and some company, and you’re good to go. 

The first and most iconic of the list is actually America’s oldest drive-in. Shankweiler’s Theatre in Orefield, Pa. is going on its 86th consecutive season. The drive is about 45-50 minutes long, but we hear it’s worth it. It is open weekends only (Friday-Sunday), and tickets must be bought at the box office upon arrival, so we suggest you get there early. Currently they are showing “The Broken Hearts Gallery” at 7:40 p.m. and “Alone” at 9:40 p.m., but be sure to check its website for updates. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.

Next, an hour’s drive away, in Vineland, N.J., is Delsea Drive-In Theatre. The theatre was built in 1949, closed in 1987 and reopened in 2004. They are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and cars should arrive 45 minutes prior to dusk (when the films start). Tickets for Delsea Drive-In must be purchased online in advance. Currently, it is playing “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Alone” and “Broken Hearts Gallery,” but check its website for updated showings.

A much closer option, only 20 minutes away, is The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks. Though not a traditional historical drive-in theater, the Expo Center has partnered with the entertainment company Kilburn Live to bring cinema pop-ups to the Philadelphia area during this crazy time. Upcoming shows include “The Goonies,” “Beetlejuice,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” Tickets should be bought ahead of time on the website, and you can view the schedule there as well.  

Finally, if you’re up for some fun in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Film Society and Wavelength Productions have created the PFS Drive-In at the Navy Yard, just 30 minutes away. Some films they are currently showing include “Tenet” and “A Call to Spy.” Tickets must be bought online ahead of time on the website, where the complete schedule is also listed. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $7 for children, and the drive-in opens an hour before showtime. 

Drive-in movies are a COVID-safe and fun option to get out and do something enjoyable. All theaters are following CDC guidelines. If you leave your vehicle area to go to the restroom or snack bar, you will need to wear a mask of course, and social distancing is required. So, feel free to go out and catch an old-fashioned drive-in flick.