Renee Booker for TRW
Finding a good spot and pulling your car in. Rolling down the windows to enjoy the night air. Munching on buttery popcorn while looking up at a giant outdoor movie screen and a sky dotted with stars. Sounds like something out of a fifties movie, right? Think again.
This is the typical weekend experience for those who visit Bengies drive-in movie theater in Middle River. Opened in June of 1956, this theater is the only drive-in still operating in the state of Maryland. In addition, Bengies boasts the largest outdoor movie screen in the country, measuring a whopping 52 feet high and 120 feet wide.
Bengies is typically open from early spring to late fall, rain or shine. From Friday to Sunday, guests can enjoy the latest movies. New movies are played each weekend as part of double or triple features, so you really get a lot for the affordable price of admission.
Even though this theater has been around for 61 years, they have kept up with the times. Instead of the traditional outdoor pole speakers, Bengies adopted their own radio station so guests can listen to the movies with ease. They even have speakers on top of the snack bar that project the station, making sure that those annoying trips to the bathroom during the best part of the movie are a thing of the past. To also please the eyes, Bengies projects each movie with a clear HD picture. Even when guests are in line at the snack bar, they are sure to get a clear view of the movie.
Speaking of the snack bar, Bengies has quite an extensive menu. They have the essential movie theater concessions like popcorn and candy, but they also have much more. Hot dogs, cheeseburgers, french fries, meatball subs, ice cream, even shrimp rolls and whole pickles — there is something to please every palate. With all these choices, the line does get pretty long throughout the night. To combat this, Bengies has two service lines. One line offers the entire menu and the other line offers only the essentials like soda and popcorn. It makes a trip to the snack bar a little quicker.
Of course, as with any movie theater, the concessions can be a bit pricey. For those guests wishing to save some money, Bengies offers an Outside Food and Beverage Permit that can be purchased with their admission tickets. For a small fee, guests can bring in any amount of food and drinks.
Bengies does make for an enjoyable evening, but be aware of their House Rules as they are strictly enforced. They are detailed in a pamphlet that guests receive upon admission. Some of them are typical, like no running and only park in one parking space. Perhaps the most emphasized rule is that photography or video taping of any kind is prohibited within the theater. Even selfies or pictures of your party are not allowed — breaking this rule could result in having to leave the theater without a refund.
All in all, a trip to Bengies makes for a fun and unique experience. So the next time you are looking to get away from school stress, come on out and visit them. Bring a blanket, a group of friends and enjoy a movie under the stars.