Park Drive-In Movies Bring Back Memories

As I sat in my car for the weekly drive-in movie at Wheeling Park, I found myself recollecting memories from my childhood. The nostalgia and uniqueness of the movie experience reminded me of the trips I took in my mother’s car to the Glen Dale Drive-In when I was younger.

That night, Wheeling Park’s Drive-In was screening “Hairspray” on the big screen, and everyone was having a fantastic time.

There are several aspects of a drive-in movie that differentiate it from any other viewing experience. Not only are the tickets for a drive-in generally cheaper than theater tickets (Wheeling Park’s drive-in movies are free — no charge to pull in and catch a movie!), but there is something about relaxing in your own car with friends and family that makes the movie so much better — it feels more like an adventure.

I cherish the memories of my family trips to the Glen Dale Drive-In, when my mother would pack a picnic dinner for us to eat while we enjoyed the movie. While Glen Dale was once the hotspot for movie showings, in 2012, much to the dismay of Moundsville and Wheeling residents, the drive-in was permanently closed. Luckily, Wheeling Park has continued the tradition of big screen, drive-in movie showings so that families can continue sharing this movie-going experience with their loved ones.

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This weekend you can see “Top Gun” on Friday, June 29, when you grab a parking spot in front of the Wheeling Park White Palace at dusk for an old-fashioned drive-in experience. Or on Saturday, June 30, float in the Wheeling Park pool for the Summer Dive-In Movie and see “Shrek 2.” The Dive-In Movie also can be enjoyed free of charge from the upper level of the Stone building. Call 304-243-4085 for more information.

The weekly movie screenings at Wheeling Park are displayed on two smaller screens so that viewers can see the film across the large parking lot. (Glen Dale’s drive-in had one large screen.)

In addition to the classic drive-in experience, Wheeling Park is offering opportunities for families to attend “Dive-in” movies. Moviegoers can enjoy a movie from the park pool, and admission to these events is $6.25 for children between the ages of 4-12 and $7.25 for viewers 13 and older. However, if you’re interested in the movie and not thrilled by the idea of watching from the pool, no worries. Families have the option of watching films from the balconies above the pool free of charge.

Though the beloved Glen Dale Drive-In is no longer in business, Wheeling Park is keeping the drive-in movie tradition alive for local families. So, pack your picnic baskets, grab a bag of popcorn and drive in (or dive in) to Wheeling Park for a good movie and a great time.

Hanna Perry is a sophomore at West Liberty University, majoring in journalism. Her minor is business administration. She lives in Wheeling.