A Classic Family Fun Night Out in Kingston

By Michelle McShane

When I was a kid, if you saw a family piling into their car on a Saturday evening before dark, with kids in pj’s clutching pillows and teddy bears, you knew where they were headed: the drive-in movie theatre. If you were the one going, you timed it when everyone else was outside playing road hockey, the envy clear on their faces. Living north of town on a dead end road, my kids don’t get that glory when we take them to the drive-in, but lucky for them, Kingston still has a drive-in!
Kingston Family Fun World is one of a few drive-in theatres still in existence in Ontario. Founded in 1966, it was purchased in ’95 by the current owner, Dan Wannemacher, who has since added a batting cage, mini-putt, laser tag, paint-ball shooting range, go-carts and 2 more screens, putting the “fun” In Family Fun World!

The boys getting a tutorial from employee Tyler on the paint ball guns.
The boys getting a tutorial from employee Tyler on the paint ball guns

Iain taking aim at the paint ball shooting gallery
Iain taking aim at the paint ball shooting gallery

I had the opportunity to meet, and briefly chat with Mr. Wannemacher who tells me why he thinks people should experience movies at the drive-in.

“You get two movies for the price of one. You are in control of the volume, and you get to chat with the people you came with if you want, there’s no one around telling you to shush.”

We go to the drive in at least once a season. This time, we went for the whole experience: mini-putt, go-carts, paint ball and dinner from the concession and the movie!
We arrived at around 7pm, the box office wasn’t open yet, so we hit the green; 18 holes of mini putt.

The mini-putt course
The mini-putt course

Fintan trying to get the ball through the planes propeller
Fintan trying to get the ball through the planes propeller

Yet another obstacle on the course
Yet another obstacle on the course

After our game, we “parked” our seats then went over to the go-cart track. We had a bit of a wait as we needed the double cars (kids under the height requirement of 52” ride free with a parent) and as the sun was heading down we strapped ourselves in. I have never driven a go-cart before. I thought to myself, “8 laps around the track sounds kinda boring, we’ll do a couple to get the experience then go get food”.  Ummmm…..more like 8 more laps please! So much fun!  My son Fintan rode with me and laughed the whole time and proclaimed this as “The most fun of his entire life” (a bold statement covering 8 years).
Iain trying out a single car….too short! Can’t reach the pedals.
Iain trying out a single car….too short! Can’t reach the pedals.

KFFW-Photo-8
There are rules to follow on the track!

The movie previews had started as we were finishing up, so my husband and the boys all jumped in the car while I went for dinner.  I will win no mother of the year awards for dinner tonight, as we dined on the “p’s”: poutine, pogo’s, popcorn and pop, but hey, you only live once right?
After the first movie, we did head home (it was well past everyone’s bedtime) eventually we’ll get to stay for both features. Maybe we’ll even make it to one of Kingston Family Fun World’s all-nighters (3 movies!), or car load Tuesday’s ($16/car as many people as you can get in it).
I for one may have to head over during their daytime hours for another few laps on the go-cart track!
Where there is fun to be had for everyone!
Where there is fun to be had for everyone!