[pullquote_left]by Stephanie P.[/pullquote_left]
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Every summer a trip to the drive-in makes our bucket list.

Sadly, we had yet to check it off…until this past month!

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With Danny Boy’s Drive In opening a little closer to home in Ionia, we made a spur of the moment decision to ignore the fact that we wouldn’t make it home until at least 1:30 am (yikes) and go! And I’m so glad we did!

01_screen

Gates opened at 7:30 for the 9:00 show: the general rule is to get in 1 ½-2 hours prior to showtime. After seeing photos on Facebook of crazy long lines, I made sure we arrived early. We pulled in around 8:00 pm to no line at all–however, we visited on a Thursday night.

Rumor has it, weekends are much busier.

02_popcorn booth

Our kids, ages 9, 7 and 4, made a beeline behind the screen for some pre-show fun. On this night they had bubbles, large balls and balloons to keep them busy. On other nights you can find face painting, hula hoops and more!

03_balloons

I was very impressed by the number of staff members there and how kind they all were! They represented themselves well and it made for a very safe and family-friendly experience.

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At 9:00, Danny Boy, the venue’s smiling mascot, made his way to the concession area for “Dancing with Danny.” In honor of the feature movie, “Despicable Me 2,” the kids and I got down to the Minions singing YMCA and then did the Cha Cha Slide.

04_dancing

While we were there, we picked up some snacks at the concession and used their cool, and very clean restrooms. The concession prices were very reasonable ($3 for a regular popcorn, $5 for a bucket), and for $2 you could get a large drink with free refills all night. Hot dogs, nachos and Frito Pie are also available, in case you skipped out on dinner.

05 concession

You can also purchase a snack permit for $5, which allows you to bring in food from home.

Please keep in mind, grills are not permitted.

The movie kicked off slightly after 9:00. In order to hear the movie, you tune in via radio. Apparently with double features this can drain your car battery. (They do offer free jumps after the show!) Our experienced drive in neighbors had brought along a battery operated radio and broadcast the movie from it (also a good idea if you plan to lay in the back of a truck).

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Danny Boy’s began playing double features a few weeks ago, and plans to continue that way, so you’ll always get 2 shows in 1. After the first movie ends, there is a 15 minute break, at which time you can exit if desired.

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We decided to stick it out for movie two, “Planes.” Our 4 and 7 year olds did crash part way into the second movie, however our 9 year old made it all the way through. Sticking it out did also mean that we left the grounds just prior to 1:30 AM. But, as the sun goes down sooner this fall, this time should become earlier and earlier.

07_DannyBoy

Shows will continue as long as weather allows (they’re hoping to run them into October), and once school begins they will begin showing more PG-13 flicks.

We did have a late night and some cranky kids in need of a nap the next day, but cuddling with my kids and hearing the words, “Mom, I am so glad we came tonight – this is SO much fun,” made it all so worth it!

DETAILS:

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  • Danny Boy’s is located in Ionia at 3615 State Road (South M-66).
  • Admission is $7/adult, $5/child under 16 and kids under 3 are FREE!
  • $5 snack permits are available if you want to bring in outside food and drink.
  • Gates open 1 ½-2 hours before showtime…movies begin at dark.
  • Movies are typically announced a week ahead of time – check their Facebook page for up-to-date information.
  • Danny Boy’s is currently running double features every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This will continue as weather permits (hopefully through October).
  • Although courtesy jumps are offered, bring a radio if you don’t want to worry about draining your vehicle’s battery and/or if you plan to sit outside your car.
  • It gets cold; don’t forget blankets, coats, etc.
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Have you been to the new drive in? What did you think?