It’s Day 170 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took an hour of driving two-lane highways through Wisconsin hills and small towns to get from Chilton to the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theatres in Wisconsin Dells.
According to a 2008 article in the Wisconsin Dells Events, the Big Sky began its life as the single-screen Winnebago Drive-In in 1953. “Owned by Don Deakin, the theater screened a newsreel, two cartoons and the feature film ‘Raiders of the Seven Seas,’ and gave patrons a souvenir ashtray,” wrote the Events.
Don LeGros and his family bought the place in 1980. “When we took it on, it was mostly showing motorcycle pictures and now we’ve brought it up as a family destination,” LeGros said. About that time, the drive-in’s name changed to the Dells. LeGros changed the name again in 1993 to the Big Sky and added a second screen a year later.
It’s great that we get so many opportunities for aerial views of drive-ins these days. Thanks to drones and YouTube, there are many overhead portraits of these great old places. The video I embedded above was posted last year by Ricky7RC.
The Big Sky’s marquee promises that it’s the home of the Mamaburger, made famous by Dorothy “Ma” LeGros. It’s great to be able to rely on dinner at the drive-in.
My choices for the early shows were Wonder Woman, which I’ve seen five times so far, or my second viewing of Cars 3. To be, the best thing about Cars 3 is that it pretends that Cars 2 simply never happened.
Miles Today / Total: 49 / 22019 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Cars 3 / 86
Nearby Restaurant: I don’t have many days left in Wisconsin, so I had to search out a good cheese restaurant. Macs Macaroni and Cheese Shop definitely fits that description. They serve great mac and cheese in a skillet, and you get to choose what else you want in there. Hot dogs? Bacon? BBQ sauce? Taco fixin’s? Whatever it is, there will be plenty of cheese with it, and be sure to save room for cheesecake for dessert.
Where I Virtually Stayed: There are so many tourists filling Wisconsin Dells that it rates a Hilton Garden Inn. I feel a little spoiled to wonder whether I should mention the refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker in my room. Should we all consider them standard like a TV? Anyway, this HGI was as clean and nice as most other HGIs, and I was really happy that it was so close by.
Only in Wisconsin Dells: In this classically kitschy tourist town, there are any number of tourist traps, of which a great example is the upside-down White House at Top Secret. Recent reviews on TripAdvisor include “Worst attraction ever” and “I don’t know why this place exists”, but the folks at Roadside America seem to have had a great time there. Their guide told them, “We’re part of an archaeological dig team sponsored by the government. We just happened to run across an upside down White House in Wisconsin Dells. We have no idea why.” Fun, right?
Next stop: Highway 18 Outdoor Theatre, Jefferson WI.