Thursday, March 13, 2008
Mission Tiki Drive-In Movie Theater
"Pride in Garfield Park" writes…
Less than one mile outside Pomona rests a retro gem worth its footprint in gold: the Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatres. The theatre, which has been continuously open since 1956, is located at the northwest corner of Mission Blvd and Ramona Ave (technically, this is Montclair).
My family visited Mission Tiki for the first time last summer; the fact that our spidey-senses often tingle when driving along this stretch of Mission Blvd kept us from taking the tiki-plunge sooner. Now, I dare say Mission Tiki is our venue of choice for seeing first-run movies – especially on balmy evenings.
The ambience of this place is amazing, no doubt. The prices are even more stunning. Adult admission is only $7, and…drum roll, please…kids under 9 are free. And, if you arrive for an early show (currently, they start around 7:30), you can stay for a second feature showing on the same screen for no extra charge. That’s right, a double-feature for $7. On top of that, the concessions are a steal. For those of us who revel in a little junk food every now and again, it’s good to know that for under $5 total, you can get a hot dog, fries, and a small soda. The quality of the food isn’t much to write home about, but those prices are much appreciated, especially when compared to the cost of similar concessions at sit-down movie theatres.
The atmosphere is pretty kid-friendly. Little ones often show up dressed in their pajamas, ready to doze off when the witching hour strikes. Entire families can be seen hunkered down in truck beds and hatchbacks, cozy blankets oozing that at-home-on-the-couch vibe. Mission Tiki often runs G-rated and PG-rated shows. For example, Horton Hears a Who will open there this evening (Friday, March 14). A complete list of current and upcoming attractions is available on their website.
Movie soundtracks are transmitted over the FM airwaves. We like to bring our FM headsets with us to the movie. You could also tune your car radio to the appropriate frequency. No worries if your car battery dies, a distinct possibility if you stick around for the double-feature. A nice guy with a portable battery jumper meanders the lot after each show to help stranded movie-goers.
The posted rules indicate you are not allowed to sit outside your car when watching the movie. In spite of the posting (perhaps a legal necessity), lots of people sit outside their cars. It’s a good idea to bring a blanket or two to ward off any chills. One not-so-kid-friendly aspect of the place is that some people also ignore the posted sign prohibiting alcohol.
Finally, I want to mention that the Mission Tiki is the home of our local swap meet. I haven’t made it to one of the swaps, and honestly don’t know anyone who has. I have it on my to-do list. According to the website, the swap meet gathers every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8 AM – 2 PM. The insanely cheap admission – up to 75 cents per person – will leave enough change in the pocket book to finance a treasure or two, assuming you can find something that strikes your fancy.
Three cheers for Mission Tiki!