A Guide to Drive-In Experiences This Summer

As pandemic restrictions ease, entertainment is expanding to include some safe outdoor activities. Buckle up for some fresh fun.

Live-streamed and virtual events consumed entertainment for the past few months as residents hunkered down. Now, as some pandemic restrictions ease, entertainment offerings are expanding, allowing those eager for safe, outdoor activities to migrate from the couch to the car. Buckle up for a summer of drive-in experiences.

Note: Social distancing and other precautions will still be in place, and capacities will be limited.

Courtesy of Connor Dolan/ Boxcar

MOVIES

Newark Moonlight Cinema 

Thru October 4: This pop-up drive-in movie theater will screen cult classics and recent releases that highlight Black filmmakers and actors. Located at the site of the former Newark Bears baseball stadium (54 Bridge Street), this seasonal experience will run Fridays through Sundays. The 7.4-acre site can hold about 350 cars per event. Grab some popcorn and other treats using the FanFood app. No outside food or beverages allowed. Gates open at 7 pm; films start promptly at 9 pm. $8–$12 per person. 

Boxcar Drive-In Movies

Boxcar, an app for reserving parking spaces, is now offering drive-in movies in North Jersey towns. Cars are staggered in parking lots and films are projected on a large screen. Boxcar plans pop-up outdoor movie theaters in Berkeley Heights, Bernardsville, Blairstown, Boonton Township, Chatham, East Hanover, Glen Rock, Hardyston, Madison, Metuchen, Midland Park, Randolph, Readington, Springfield, Union and Westwood. Moviegoers can reserve their space ($25 per car) through the Boxcar app or at boxcarapp.com/movies. Select local restaurants will offer carside delivery.

Montclair Film Festival 

Oct 16–25: Originally scheduled for May 1–10, the festival will feature drive-in and virtual screenings, as well as special events and conversations. The full program will be announced on October 2, with tickets on sale to members on October 5, and public tickets available October 8.

Demarest Farms

Thru August 9: The Hillsdale farm, known for its fall activities, will offer drive-in movies for family audiences. The concession stand will open one hour prior to the movie start time.

Delsea Drive-In Theatre

Nestled in the woods off busy Route 47 in Vineland, the Delsea is a relic of time. In its 1950s heyday, the Delsea was a hot spot for families, couples and love-struck teenagers. Now, film fans can watch a movie from the comfort of their cars and buy snacks from the concession stand. First opened in 1949, the Delsea is New Jersey’s only actual operating drive-in theater.

BergenPAC Sunset Drive-In Concert Series

Southside Johnny and Jim Breuer will each perform on separate days as part of BergenPAC’s Sunset Drive-In Concert Series.

CONCERTS

MPAC’s Drive-In Concert at Fosterfields Farm

Aug 18: Following the success of New Jersey’s first drive-in concert in June, Mayo Performing Arts Center presents a Beatles Bash with the Weeklings at Fosterfields Historical Living Farm. Each car will have a designated “home space ” with approximately 6 feet between each vehicle. You may sit in a chair in front of your vehicle, but must stay within your designated space. Concessions will not be viable for purchase but food and drinks are allowed. 6:30 pm; $100–$125.

The Basie Presents: Drive-In Live at Monmouth Park

On August 19, Bert Kreischer will perform on stage at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport (gates open at 5 pm; show starts at 7 pm). On August 27, the Front Bottoms will take the mic (gates open at 5 pm; show starts at 7 pm). Both are benefits for the Count Basie Center for the Arts, but a portion of proceeds will also go to the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund and the Hackensack Meridian Covid-19 Response Fund. Vehicles will be spaced approximately 9 feet apart and patrons must remain inside their vehicle cabins unless using the restroom. $135–$160.

BergenPAC’s Sunset Drive-In Concert Series

Aug 16–30: Experience live concerts with artists performing on a stage in the Westfield Garden State Plaza parking lot. Tickets are sold per vehicle (up to 5 people) and come with two reserved parking spots so that patrons can safely sit outside if they choose. Face coverings must always be worn when outside the vehicles. People can bring their own food to enjoy or visit on-site food trucks. The schedule: Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (Aug 16), Jim Breuer: The New Normal (Aug 23), Dead On Live: Let There Be Songs to Fill The Air (Aug 29), and Almost Queen (Aug 30). $150–$250.

drive-in experiences

Courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure

ZOOS

Six Flags Great Adventure’s Wild Safari

Take a self-guided, drive-thru journey through 350 acres in Jackson and encounter 1,200 exotic animals from six continents. Advance tickets and reservations are required. All vehicles will be inspected prior to entering the safari. $19.99–$24.99 per person.

Space Farms Zoo & Museum

The 100-acre zoo and museum complex in Sussex is temporarily offering a drive-thru experience on Wednesdays in August. From 9 am–4 pm, animal lovers can view more than 500 wild animals in the park from their vehicles. Tickets, which cost $25 per car, must be booked online. Walk-thru tours are offered daily from 10 am–5 pm and cost $16.50–$20.

Brookhollow’s Barnyard
Cows, horses, goats and more farm animals that live on this Boonton plot can’t wait to see you. Tickets are released every morning at 10 am for the following day. Admission for the hour-long drive-thru experience costs $15 per car, offered on Sundays only. Walk-thru tours are offered on Tuesday through Saturday and cost $5.

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