ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Drive-in movie theaters peaked in the 1950s, with nearly 4,000 across the USA, but as their popularity waned and now only about 300 are still in operation.

Rockford was once home to several, including the Belford, Robin, River Lane, and Sunset.

Drive-In theaters can charge admission on a per-person or per-car basis and are sometimes a less expensive alternative to taking a carload of kids to the movies, with the benefit of an open-air environment. Bring a lawn chair and an FM radio for maximum enjoyment!

For families interested in revisiting this nostalgic cultural icon, there are multiple drive-in movie theaters still in operation within about an hour’s drive from Rockford.

The Drive 815 is a popup drive-in that takes place at 12801 Old River Road, in Rockton. The drive-in usually shows second-run movies on a big inflatable screen.

The Midway Drive-in operates at 91 Palmyra Road, in Sterling, and shows first-run double features Fridays through Sundays. In the fall, it also runs an all-night Dusk Till Dawn Horrorfest, and the owners also run the Flashback Weekend horror convention in Chicago.

The McHenry Outdoor Theater, located at 1510 N Chapel Hill Road, in McHenry, was renovated this year and shows first-run double features and also some nostalgic hits from the past, and have done special events with the Volo Auto Museum allowing patrons to watch a movie from inside a vintage car.

The Sky Vu Drive In, on Hwy 69 in S. Monroe, Wisconsin, operates on a “cash only” basis and shows first-run double features. The Sky Vu was the first US theater to use FM sound in 1954, and it joined the digital projection era in 2012.