Thrifty Thurston Enjoys Outdoor Movies All Summer Long

huntamer park lacey wa


By Kate Scriven

Puget Sound EnergyOne of my favorite things about summer is the warm nights.  The luxury of being outside as the sun sets and darkness falls while still in short sleeves, is one of the true pleasures of summer.  And, even though our coastal climate dictates that you bring a fleece, and maybe a blanket for extended evening events, I savor the long twilight and late bedtimes of summer.

One of the best ways to embrace the short-lived, but glorious South Sound summer is by taking in an outdoor movie.  An experience that harkens back to the days of drive-ins and soda fountains, an outdoor movie viewing is not to be missed.  And in Thurston County, we have several venues offering free outdoor cinema this summer.   With films ranging from family friendly cartoons to black and white classics, there’s bound to be something for everyone in the family.

Outdoor Cinema Series in Lacey

Lacey’s Huntamer Park is the venue for this series of free movies featuring family friendly films.  As part of the Lacey In Tune series of outdoor entertainment, the outdoor cinema follows the Saturday night concerts in the park. Concerts start at 7pm and movies begin at dusk.  Bring a blanket or a low back chair and find a comfortable spot with your family.  The first movie night falls on July 13 and runs each Saturday for five weeks.

lacey outdoor concertJuly 13: “The Lorax” – PG

July 20:  “Blue Hawaii” – PG

July 27:  “Wreck It Ralph” – PG

August 3:  “Here Comes The Boom” – PG

August 10:  Double Feature Night – “Captain America” PG-13 and “The Avengers” PG-13

Tumwater’s Screen On The Green

Each Friday in August, the Tumwater Parks and Recreation Department hosts outdoor movies at the Tumwater Valley Golf Course.  This annual tradition is in its eighth year.  This ‘always free’ event is a guaranteed good time for the entire family.  Bring a picnic to eat on the green or visit the River’s Edge Restaurant for dinner before the show.  The gates open at 7:30 and the movies start at dusk.  Only low back chairs and blankets permitted.

lacey outdoor concertAugust 2: “The Amazing Spider-Man” – PG-13

August 9: “Jack the Giant Slayer” – PG-13

August 16: “OZ the Great and Powerful” – PG

August 23: “The Croods” – PG

Summer Movies at the Mansion

The Washington State Capital Museum hosts an outdoor cinema on the lawn of the Lord Mansion each year.  Showing classic movies with wide appeal, the event is free, but a donation of $2 is suggested.  Movies play each Friday night in August starting on August 2.  Doors open at 8pm and a short talk from museum staff is scheduled for 8:50.  Movies start 10 minutes later. Bring blankets, low chairs, and the whole family.  The final movie of the season isn’t a “classic” in its age, but with fall on the horizon, it kicks off the Halloween season that the south Capital neighborhood is so famous for.

August 2: “African Queen”

fountain summer capitolAugust 9: “Duck Soup”

August 16: “The Searchers”

August 23: “Charade”

August 30:  “Young Frankenstein”

Skyline Drive-In

While this venue isn’t strictly a summer outdoor cinema, and isn’t free like the others, the summer tradition of going to the drive-in is too good not to include.  With the recent rally by local residents to save the Shelton icon, it seems fitting that we all include a visit to the drive-in this summer.  (Read more about the history of Skyline and its fundraising campaign here.)  You can view current movies on their website and see what coming attractions are on the horizon.  I noted that the new kids movie, “Turbo” is coming soon which means I’ll be introducing my kids to the Skyline Drive-In for the first time this summer.  Ages twelve and up are $7, ages six to eleven are $2 and under five get in free.  Gates open at 8pm, shows are at dusk.  Please no outside food or beverages.  All proceeds from the concessions at Skyline go directly to their fundraising effort to upgrade to a digital camera.

With four great outdoor movie options in the area, you and your family are bound to find a night to go out with your blankets and enjoy the cinema under the stars.

All the movies offered are great, but the time spent staying up late, snuggling with your kids, and enjoying the rare, warm summer nights are really the big stars of these shows.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

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