Remember when movie theaters were just places where you went to, well, see movies? You might see an arcade game or two in the lobby, but mostly you went to the theater for overpriced popcorn and some Friday night entertainment?
Theaters where you find more than movies
Well, movie theaters have come a long way since then. I remember when I first moved to Texas and was introduced to Studio Movie Grill. I could order an entire meal — a delicious one, at that! — while sitting and watching a movie. Wine during the opening credits? I don’t have to move! Cheese quesadillas or a burger an hour in? No problem! Yes, Studio Movie Grill literally changed the way I viewed movies. I no longer had to plan dinner, then a movie. I could literally do dinner and a movie. Mind. Blown.
Even with the dinner and a movie concept daring me to make more time for date nights, I still wasn’t thrilled with bringing my young kids to the movies with me. Now movie theaters in the Dallas/Fort Worth area enhancing your movie-going experience even further. They are making it tempting, and, dare I say it, easy, to bring young kids to the movie theater!
Family-friendly movie theaters
Harkins Theaters, with a location in Southlake, Texas, offers an in-lobby play center for kids. Awesome, right? No more having to scramble to find a sitter or having to locate a drop-off playcare center close to home. Harkins allows you to bring kiddos ages 3-8 to the movies with you! They can play in the lobby playcare centers for an additional fee while you enjoy a movie solo or with friends. Genius! (Harkins has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oklahoma, too!)
Introducing Camp Cinemark
In 2017, Cinemark Theaters introduced a new concept for kid-friendly movies called Camp Cinemark at its Allen, Texas, location. Camp Cinemark is a family-friendly theater with amenities that will entertain your young ones before, during and after your movie!
Camp Cinemark gives parents peace of mind when it comes to movie-viewing. I remember when my oldest, now 8, was still little, and how much I fretted about taking her to the movies. Would she talk during the show? Would she want to monkey around or would the seats be too stiff? What if she had to go to the bathroom and we had to traipse across the theater mid-show? Camp Cinemark seemed to hear my concerns and address them all in one magical theater experience.
Camp Cinemark designed the experience with families in mind
First and foremost, Camp Cinemark has a strict policy on who can go into the theater. It is only one theater inside an entire movie theater, and no adult is allowed in Camp Cinemark without a child. This definitely put me at ease.
Secondly, Camp Cinemark has a family-friendly bathroom right outside the theater. No more dragging three kiddos across the lobby when one has to potty. The bathroom is right outside the theater door.
But the true fun begins at Camp Cinemark when you walk in. There is a fun cave that says “Do Not Enter” that kids love climbing in and out of. Walk a bit further down and your kids will truly be in awe. There is a wall-sized interactive screen where kids can color interactive pictures with the wave of a hand. And if virtual play isn’t your child’s favorite, he or she can put crayon to paper at one of the adjacent mini tables stocked with crayons and paper. My little artists really enjoyed these features.
Inside Camp Cinemark theaters
Inside the theater, brightly-colored chairs and large bean bags invite kids to get comfy and find their spot to cozy up for the movie. Large trees on the walls remain dimly lit throughout the movie so kids are never truly in the dark. And there are lights strung from the ceiling to enhance the “camp” part of Camp Cinemark.
Because this theater is designed for kids and families, I felt completely relaxed here. I didn’t get stressed out if my 4 year old was asking questions a bit loudly during the movie or if my 5 year old was a bit bouncy. Because everyone in the theater had kids with them, no one seemed to notice that my kids weren’t exactly star movie-goers. And the best part? Camp Cinemark doesn’t cost any more than the cost of a regular ticket to this theater! The theater only shows family-friendly movies and rotates its selection every couple of weeks.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a successful endeavor for Cinemark and we start to see more of these family-friendly theaters pop up all over the country. I certainly would have attended a lot more movies at the movie theater when my kids were little if this theater had been around then!
What are your favorite family-friendly outings?
Stephanie Jarrett contributed this post as a guest writer. Stephanie is a Midwesterner and total girl mom. Although she now lives in Arlington, TX, Stephanie will always call the Midwest home and is a proud Missouri Tiger. She enjoys reading, running and red wine. When she’s not chasing three little blondes all over DFW, you will find her working from her home office listening to country music.
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