Whether you’re new to the Midlands or a Columbia native, chances are you may have heard of The Big Mo. Or, maybe you don’t know what it is (or if you’re like me, you might’ve known once, but have since forgotten), so let me refresh your memory.
The Big Mo, as it is affectionately called, is actually the Monetta Drive-In Movie Theater.
They have been showing outdoor movies on big screens since 1951, and this year they are celebrating 70 years of bringing the unique experience to the Columbia area. While the general popularity of the outdoor movie-going experience has waned over the years, The Big Mo has managed to maintain their foothold in our area, and I’m so glad they have!
Where is Monetta? It is a small town about an hour or less from most places in Columbia. You take Highway 20 West until you get to exit 33 for SC-39, and then follow that road for about 10 minutes until you get there. Or you can just plug the address, 5822 Columbia Hwy N, Monetta, SC 29105, into your GPS.
Why go? Let me count the ways.
Do you have kids? Are your kids maybe not so good at sitting still and being quiet for a whole movie? Do you love supporting local businesses? Do you miss movies being a more social experience? Do you love the freedom to bring your own food and drink to the movie-going experience? Do you love a good value? If any of those answers are “Yes!” then The Mo is worth a trip!
Our family has been going to The Big Mo since the kids were toddlers. They have playgrounds at two of the three fields to help keep kids entertained in the hour(s) before the movie begins. We love that the kids can wiggle, chatter, snack, and fall asleep even, if they want, and nobody – and I mean NOBODY – minds one bit.
While we go to The Big Mo primarily for family-friendly movies, they do show movies for everyone. The movies are generally new releases, though they do show throwback movies too, on occasion.
The Big Mo has been family-owned and operated for 70 years! They offer very reasonably priced concessions, as well as encouraging families to bring in their own food and beverages, with the caveat that you can’t cook your food there, and no alcohol or glass containers.
Let’s talk value here, too.
Adult admission – that’s ages 12 and up – is $9, and they show two movies each weekend night they are open. Kids ages 4-11 are $5, and 3 and under are free. The ticket price covers the double feature, so it’s two movies – what a bargain! Admission is cash only, but the concession stands do take cards. Exceptions to typical double feature are on some holiday weekends, they may offer a triple feature, and occasional big releases get a single showing on Thursday nights.
Y’all are itching to go, right? so here’s what you need to bring:
- Cash for admission (they can make change, but the admissions both does not take cards)
- Chairs for sitting on (most people use camp chairs, though I have seen airbeds in truck beds, inflatable sofas, and other setups)
- Bug spray (this is South Carolina, and you’ll be outside after dark, come prepared!)
- A cooler for drinks, snacks, and a bag for collecting your trash
- Blankets (I know it’s hot during the day, but once the sun goes down, it can get chillier than you’d expect!)
Keep an eye on their Facebook Page and website for updates to line up, and the times for gate opening. The gates typically open around 7 p.m. during the summer, with the movie starting at dark. I do advise getting there as early as possible, to snag a great spot, and hang out with some friends!