June 14: Moonlight Outdoor Drive In, Shawano WI

It’s Day 165 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I bounced down from Chetek WI to Eau Claire then turned east, driving about three hours to reach the Moonlight Outdoor Drive In in Shawano.

The Moonlight is one of those drive-ins that opened next to an existing indoor theater, in this case, the Shawano Cinema. According to Movies By Twilight, the Moonlight opened in September 2000, with the parking area fully developed by the next season. The screen came from Grafton’s 57 Outdoor Theater, which had built it about 10 years before it closed in 1985.

A 2011 article in the Shawano Leader indicated that the indoor theater had switched to digital projection by then but the drive-in was still using film. Owner Tim Suick lowered the admission price as a result, telling the newspaper, “We don’t have as many first-run movies showing outdoors because more and more movies are only coming out in digital, so we wanted to make it more attractive for customers.”

Julie Boucher, Shawano Cinema general manager, said then that weekends averaged 25-30 vehicles for the drive-in.

I was glad to continue my streak of consecutive movie nights (up to 13 now) even though it was the fourth time I saw Wonder Woman. It’s really a pretty good drive-in movie.

Miles Today / Total:  191 / 21587 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Wonder Woman / 81

Nearby Restaurant: It had been a while since I had some pizza, so I was happy to stop by Luigi’s Pizza & Pasta. I had a regular-crust pizza with plenty of vegetables, so I could say I was eating healthy. I was so proud of myself that I also had a cannoli for dessert.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Here’s another regional hotel chain that’s new to be – the Boarder’s Inn. My basic room didn’t have a fridge (that’s just for the suites here), but the wifi was very good and the hot breakfast in the morning was a great way to get the day started.

Only in Shawano: No trip to Shawano would be complete without a visit to Twig’s Beverage Museum. Twig’s Beverage was started in 1951 by Floyd “Twig” Hartwig. The museum tour includes bottling, history, knick-knacks, and samples. And the best part is that it’s free, except for the souvenirs and six-packs for sale in the gift shop.

Next stop: Skyway Drive-In Theatre, Fish Creek WI.