It’s our second installment of our Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest series, where we are discovering hidden gems near to where I live in the summer. I love living in Western Washington in the summer, with beautiful weather and outdoor activities to enjoy. So when we are here, we always enjoy being tourists in our own backyard. So, this blog post series idea was born. I hope you enjoy it. Our second installment of Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest –Rodeo Drive-In in Kitsap County.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
When I was in high school in the 1970s, going to the drive-in on a date or with girlfriends was very common. In the county I grew up in there were three choices of drive-in theaters and we frequented them all. But mostly we went to either the Kitsap Lake Drive-In or to the Rodeo Drive-In. My future husband and I (he was 16 and I was 15) saw several movies there as young teens, including The Way We Were in 1975. I also remembering seeing The Omen with a girlfriend in 1976 and having nightmares after.
There were many more fun times at the drive-in as a child of the 1960s and 1970s. But it had been decades since I had gone to a drive-in movie.
History of The Rodeo Drive-In
The original Rodeo Motor Movies was opened in 1949, with the capacity of 600 cars. It was the first in the county with two others coming along shortly after, Kitsap Lake and Big Bear.
The Rodeo was sold in 1977 and Kitsap Lake was closed. In 1978, second and third screens were added to The Rodeo as well as a new concessions building and ticket entrance. In 1986, the Rodeo Drive-In was sold to Jack and Cindy Ondracek. The Big Bear Drive-In closed in 1994, and the Rodeo became the only outdoor theater in the Kitsap County area.
Today’s Rodeo Drive-In
Back in the day, the Rodeo Drive-In was way out in the boonies (as we used to say), but today with all the growth in the region, my home is only a ten minute drive away. Over the last few summers we have talked about checking it out, but it never happened until now.
The Rodeo Drive-In is open year ’round except on July 4th. It offers first run movies at all three screens for a budget price of $12 adults, $7 for seniors (55 and older!) and kids under 12; children under 5 are free. The theater does a great job giving a nostalgic vibe and we really enjoyed seeing The Little Mermaid.
The Rodeo Drive-In website says;
“Today, with 3 screens and a total car capacity of about 1,000, the Rodeo is the largest outdoor theater complex north of California, and by far the largest and oldest family-owned drive-in in the Northwest. Other drive-ins in our state include the Blue Fox Drive-In (Oak Harbor/Whidbey island), the Wheel-In Motor Movie (Port Townsend), the Skyline Drive-In (Shelton) and the Auto-Vue Drive-In (Colville)… all family-owned with unique personalities.
Nationally, about 400 drive-ins remain in the US, accounting for about 900 outdoor screens.
Drive-in theaters are special places, with a nostalgic atmosphere that few events offer. Every one is unique, reflecting the personalities of the owners and staffs, and the communities they serve.”
Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rodeo Drive-In
We had a wonderful Sunday evening at the Rodeo. It was a fun way to see a current film, while reminiscing about our youth. I highly recommend Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rodeo Drive-In. Check it out soon.
Check out last week’s Hidden Gems of the Pacific Northwest – Rhododendron Species Garden here.
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