I can remember after just moving to Hendricks County about 15 years ago taking in a movie at the Clermont Drive-In across the street from Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park with my wife just before it closed for good. I also remember watching the movie Twister at another drive-in in another part of the state with a thunderstorm flashing far in the distance, which was definitely a memorable albeit eerie experience.
I think many of us considered drive-ins to be a thing of the past from a bygone era, but our latest circumstances involving the pandemic and the need for social distancing have brought a renewed interest in these historic landmarks and making memories watching movies under the stars on a warm summer night.
Hendricks County may no longer have a drive-in theater but there are five nearby that I will highlight as we continue our Within an Hour features. I'll continue to use Danville, Ind. -- centrally located within Hendricks County -- as the starting point in determining the distance to each.
Johnson County's only remaining drive-in can be found in Franklin where they show double features on Friday and Saturday nights and a single feature on Sunday nights. Showings begin all three nights at 9 p.m.
Tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-11 on Fridays and Saturdays with everyone getting in for $5 on Sundays. You can use your car radio or bring a portable radio for the stereo surround sound that can be heard through a radio frequency.
- 870 Mallory Parkway, Franklin, Ind.
- 37.5 miles from Danville
The only surviving drive-in in Indianapolis, Tibbs is likely the closest and most flexible drive-in for many Hendricks County residents. Located between downtown and I-465 on the southwest side of the city, Tibbs offers showings every night of the week except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Tibbs also boasts four separate screens allowing more options in terms of the movies shown compared to all the other drive-in theaters on our list.
Tickets cost $13 for adults and $6 for children ages 4-12. Tibbs recommends bringing a portable radio for the movie sound if you plan to sit outside your vehicle. They also recommend arriving up to an hour ahead of their 9:30 p.m. first showings to get a good spot, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
- 480 S. Tibbs Ave., Indianapolis, Ind.
- 17 miles from Danville
Just south of Hendricks County, CenterBrook is Morgan County's last remaining drive-in. CenterBrook offers showings every day of the week except Mondays and Wednesdays during the summer. It also boasts a playground for children, a small arcade in its concessions area and advertises that it shows no commercials before the shows.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Make sure to bring cash as they don't accept credit cards or checks. Gates open at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
- 6735 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, Ind.
- 24 miles from Danville
Not far from McCormick's Creek State Park that we featured in our Top Parks & Trails Within an Hour of Hendricks County, Cinema 67 boasts a much more extensive menu in its concessions area then your typical popcorn including burritos, taquitos and even Indiana's signature sandwich, the tenderloin.
Tickets cost $9 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-11, and they also only accept cash. Double features are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with gates opening at 8 p.m., and the first show beginning at dusk.
- 2037 State Road 67, Spencer, Ind.
- 40.7 miles from Danville
Also known as Mel's Drive-In, this old-fashioned theater still charges by the carload, like most drive-ins used to do back in the day. The cost is $25 per carload for their double features on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The box office opens at 7:30 p.m. with the first showing beginning around 9:30 p.m.
- 8721 N. State Road 39, Thorntown, Ind.
- 32 miles from Danville