For the first time in a decade, the metro area will have a drive-in movie theater this summer.
Sokol Park, about 5 miles south of Bellevue, is opening a drive-in, kicking off a season of movies with a June 2 showing of “Finding Nemo.”
The American movie drive-in is a long-endangered species bordering on extinct. The last two in Nebraska are the TK-Starlight Drive-In in Neligh and the Sandhills Drive-In in Alliance. The last drive-in movie theater in the metro area, the Council Bluffs Drive-In, closed in 2006.
“It would be hard to sustain a business as a drive-in alone,” said Brandon Miller — who, along with his father, Jim Miller, bought Sokol Park about a month ago. “But in our case, we’ve got so many other events this summer. Weddings, concerts, festivals, company picnics and family reunions. That’s going to allow us to throw in these drive-in movie nights and see how it goes.”
Gates will open at 7 each night, with shows starting at dusk. Entry prices for each show will range from $5 to $10, depending on the movie and the vehicle you arrived in. Food trucks and a concession stand will be on site, with hot food, popcorn and a fully stocked bar.
Miller said the outdoor screenings will be similar to those being offered this summer at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing and at SumTur Amphitheater in Papillion.
“Except we just have this giant parking lot that’s completely surrounded by huge trees,” Miller said. “It’s just an area that lends itself to the shape of a drive-in.”
Another way the Sokol Park events are different? You can stay all night. Attendees are invited to camp, or glamp even. Glamping is camping in one of Sokol’s glamour tents — ritzy shelters with plenty of amenities.
The drive-in theater itself includes a 20-by-20-foot screen and a Blu-ray projector. Each movie’s sound will be transmitted through an FM frequency that moviegoers can pick up on their car radios.
The movies will run through September. Starting at the end of August, the park will host a music and movie series, which will pair a film with a band for a themed screening/concert combo. More details on that series will be announced later this summer.
Miller said he hopes the drive-in experiment pays off. He thinks that if they can re-create the experience, the nostalgic will come. For many, including Miller, this will be the first chance to take part in the old American pastime.
“To be honest,” he said, “I have never been to one.”
Where: 905 Allied Road, south of Bellevue
More information: sokolpark.net/drive-in_theater
Drive-in schedule (tickets now available):
June 2: “Finding Nemo”
June 5: “The Goonies”
June 12: “Zootopia”
June 16: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
June 23: “The Lego Movie”
July 7: “Raiders of the Lost Ark”
July 8: Double feature of “The Big Lebowski” and “The Dark Side of Oz”
July 10: “Hook”
July 14: “Jurassic Park”
July 17: “The Incredibles”
July 24: “Dazed and Confused”
Aug. 4: “Jumanji”
Aug. 5: Double feature of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Hot Tub Time Machine”