I recently “discovered” what many parents of young children have surely known for decades. Heading out to catch a movie on a whim will just never happen again. Or at the very least, not for many years. These things now have to be planned well in advance, with sitters arranged, bags packed, babies dropped off, schedules consulted, and so forth. So we did what any other movie-addicted couple does. We took the baby with us to the movies.

Not the theater, naturally. We loaded up the car, baby and all, and headed off to the Cinderella Twin drive in. We packed up a cooler full of drinks, stocked up on popcorn and other junk food, and off we went. It’s not glamorous, for sure, but it definitely has a weird, fun, vaguely Twilight Zone party vibe to it. We rolled into the dirt lot, paid our $9 each (kids under 7 are free) and parked in a good spot for our double feature (The Simpsons and Transformers). They still have those ancient looking speakers you can hook onto your car window, but most everyone opts to tune into the radio for the audio feed (Props to the guy a few cars down with the rockin’ bass — he would have annoyed me had he been parked outside my house with that stereo, but at the drive in? Total bonus.) Baby enjoyed the crowd, snoozed through half of the first movie and all of the second one, and we left late that night, our movie jones happily fixed for the moment.

I haven’t been to a drive in theater since I was kid myself, and it doesn’t seem like things have changed much. The restrooms are serviceable, but barely, the food is better than in most theaters (the French fries were $2 and seriously noshable), and the crowd is full of families with kids, most of them running around like little sugar-fueled banshees until the movie starts.

Sadly, the Cinderella Twin is almost certainly going to be torn down at the end of this summer season, so swing down and catch a flick — or two — in the open air before the end of September, after which the old drive in will be torn up and replaced by apartment buildings.