|Address:||774 W Mayne St, Blue Grass, IA 52726, USA|
Our first time visiting the Blue Grass Drive-in was on Saturday, July 10th on a gorgeous summer evening with a group of 6 (two adults and 4 older kids). Originating in the IL Quad Cities, we normally drive the 45 minutes to the 61 Drive-in near Maquoketa, which we love and have been going to for years. Here are my thoughts after giving this one a try: We got there just before the ticket booth opened (6pm on weekends) and there were perhaps 15-20 cars in front of us. Once they started letting in, the line moved along nicely and there was plenty of staff directing traffic and welcoming us. Since right now there are two screens playing different movies, they direct you to the appropriate area. They said they had plans to open a 3rd screen within a month or so. The parking area is decent with plenty of space to back into your spot and still have room in front of your vehicle to put chairs, air mattresses, blankets, etc. Some people sit in the back of their trucks, some sit in chairs, while we always opt for air mattresses. At the center of everything, there is a good sized building that both houses the concession stand and the actual screens above it in a box configuration (see photos). They have plenty of options from pop and popcorn to pizza and ice cream cones, and the prices are more affordable than your metroplexes with unlimited refills on large pop/popcorn. Also inside this building are the restrooms, which were surprisingly big and clean. My wife did say they ran out of paper towels later in the evening, but the mens room stayed in excellent condition. Theres a swing set below one screen, and karaoke set up, which was fun for a while, but started to aggravate after a while. (shorten it up a bit). Theres area in front of each screen for kids to play, but they need more grass. One very nice thing is that they let you sit up in front if you are way in back or in a poor viewing area. Just bring your chairs, etc to the front where theres a large area that is cleared away (see photos). One this night, one screen was playing "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Independence Day: Resurgence", while the other screen which we visited was showing "Tarzan" and "The Shallows". The former was definitely the more popular choice with more than double the number of cars. Our side was quieter with fewer children, but ours are a bit older so these movies appealed to us more. Picture quality was clear and bright, even when the movie started directly after 9m. There are some minor visible seems that you can see in bright scenes of the movie. The front row is closer to the screen here than at 61 Drive-in. Bring your own radio, use your car radio, or rent one for sound. There is some distracting sound bleed between movies, which may get worse once more than two screens are going. Despite the no-smoking policy, there was unpleasant smoke blowing our way. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience - at least on par with the 61 Drive-in. I still like the 61 Drive-in because its a single screen with fewer distractions, but I like this one because you are closer to the screen and you have more options. This one also has a better concession stand and bathroom facilities. Whichever one you decide to visit, if its the weekend and the movies are popular, SHOW UP EARLY if you want a good spot to park. SUGGESTIONS: 1) Karaoke - Family fun, but shorten it up because it gets annoying after a while. The music playing on the speaker system was nice though, so continue doing that. 2) Concession stand light bleed - Every time the door opens, distracting light shines through. Build a tunnel or door shade to prevent this. 3) More grass, less gravel - Areas in front of where you park need more grass and less gravel. Also more grass in front areas where kids play. 4) Concession stand - Have a worker dedicated to taking refills so customers dont have to wait in the long line for refills. 5) Make sure there is enough distance between the front row of parking/sitting and the area where people can come up to the front to sit.
A wonderful and fun family event! We have had a chance to visit drive in theaters all over the US and have this to be one of the best overall. Very helpful and friendly employees, clean facilities, good quality screens, quiet, and in a beautiful area. The view of the stars alone during the movie makes the drive in a true gem. Dont pass up an opportunity to take your family and friends here. If youve never been to a drive in theater before, theres a couple of things you need to know ahead of time: 1- this is a popular spot in the summer, especially on weekends. Its no surprise people are drawn here. You can buy tickets online ahead of time to guarantee a place there, but keep in mind parking at drive ins is always done on a first come basis. Its just how drive ins work, and the casual and easy going layout is part of the fun. If you want to be closer to the screen, come early. If you get there later, no worries! Youll always have a good view of the screen no matter where you park, youll just be further back. We were in the last row and had a great time and a great view. And if youre still unhappy about where you park, being your lawn chairs, a portable radio, and blankets. Theres plenty of seating near the screen in a grassy area. Dont have a portable radio? No worries either, Theyll rent you one at the concession stand for a few bucks. 2- the consession has it all. Large popcorn and pop are free refills currently, lots of candy, ice cream, pizza and the usual food items. Prices are way better than the other local indoor theaters. The line moves fast and they accept cards. 3- bug spray is helpful to have but they sell it at the concession if you forget to bring it. 4- come ready to relax, kick your feet up, and enjoy the show. You can tell they want your business, and take great care of their customers. There are lots of attendants assisting parking, and if you have questions or need assistance you wont have trouble finding someone to ask. They have jumper cables if your car battery happens to give out, so dont worry about getting stranded. My last comment is a suggestion - I hope youd consider selling glow bracelets and necklaces at the concession for kids. We brought our own, as did a few other families and not only did the kids find it fun, I felt it added a little safety for the kids. They were more visible to the cars who showed up after dark and left after the first show. Even with the ground guides helping people park without lights, you can never be too cautious in helping keep families safe and visible to cars leaving early and arriving late. Thank you for such a great time, my family will definitely be back soon!
If I could give 4 and a half stars I would as this was a very fun experience overall for our family. The owner working the booth was very friendly and explained how everything worked which was nice since it was our 1st time. There was another worker directing traffic to marked parking spaces so there was plenty of space between vehicles. The concession stand and bathroom were centrally located under the screens and had standard food options you would expect at a drive in and were reasonably clean. The only knock I would have would be that when viewing one of the screens from the side, you can see the other screen playing too and when theyre not syncd up it can be a little distracting. It really wasnt bad though. There were also a few smokers that would smoke on their way out to the designated smoking area which was mildly annoying, but is not necessarily the drive-ins fault. Maybe a little more communication about where smoking is allowed would be helpful. All in all this place makes for a fun family night outside watching a good movie though!