The National Amusements chain of movie theaters offers a number of "special programs" that give you a chance to do something different than simply going to all the latest Hollywood releases. I've written before (in Movies, Memories and My Dad) about the Silver Screen program--a great series of old (mostly Public Domain) movies that's geared mainly to the senior crowd. They also offer plenty of live broadcasts of various events (concerts, operas, sporting events...). One series that I have been missing for a while is the "Attack of the B-Movies" series, but that's a topic for another time... Anyway, as one might expect, National Amusements also has a number of special programs for kids. There's "The Popcorn Club", "Book Worm Wednesdays" (where kids get free admission to a movie with a book report), and "Kidtoons" among the offerings. This blog will focus on Kidtoons, but information on all the other special programs (as well as participating theaters where they're seen) can be found at the National Amusements website.
I've mentioned before that I don't subject The Little Monster to a constant diet of monster and horror movies. I DO want her to grow up to be a "normal" person and won't want to warp her sense of reality or anything. One of our favorite father-daughter activities of the past few months has been the Kidtoon shows. We started going in February and, other than missing a couple months recently, have been going ever since. The series itself has been running for about four years, so I guess we're late-comers to the party.
Our tickets for today's show
So what is the Kidtoons series? Well, the second weekend of every month select National Amusements theaters offer the program. It runs on both Saturday and Sunday at noon. For only $3.50 per ticket you get to take your kids to a G-rated program. Most of the features we've seen so far have been direct-to-DVD type fare rather than theatrically released movies, but they've all been good fun for The Little Monster. In addition to the low admission price you're also given one coupon per child for a $3.50 Kids Combo, or "Go Box" (a Happy-Meal type box that includes a small popcorn, small drink and a choice of M&M's, fruit snack or snack mix). I believe that these boxes can be purchased at any time, but the regular price is something like $7.00. This means that The Little Monster and I can go to a show and get some snacks for only $10.50 in total ($3.50 for each ticket, plus $3.50 for the Kids Combo). That's less than normal price for a regular movie ticket!
The Go Box (Kids Combo) discount coupon
And the Go Box itself
Contents of the Go Box
We just went to Kidtoons today (July 10th) and watched a Babar video that was featured (which may have come from a recent Barbar TV show that I'm not familiar with). It was a series of short episodes called "Barbar and the Adventrues of Badou: Swing into Summer". Like most of the Kidtoons shows we've been to, this one was a computer animated show (rather than the traditional-style animation of the old Barbar show I remember watching on TV as a kid). Other shows we've seen have included "Barbie: A Fairy Secret", "The Little Engine that Could" and "The Strawberry Shortcake Movie: Sky's the Limit". No, none of them have been "Star Wars" or "Godzilla" movies, but still we've had a great time at all of the ones we've been to so far and hope to get to many more. They tend to have some shows that appeal more to girls (Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake...) and some that might appeal more to boys (The Little Engine that Could, Thomas the Tank Engine...), but luckily The Little Monster is open to pretty much any and all cartoon-based entertainment. She's good like that.
The poster for today's Kidtoons show
And a clearer look at the image on the poster
Heading into the theater
The Little Monster's got her Go Box and is ready to start the show!
And, I should also mention that you don't just get the featured movie or show for that $3.50 ticket price either. As you leave the theater they ask you if you will be joining them for Story Time. If the answer is yes they give you another ticket/coupon to bring to the area where Story Time will be taking place. A staff member chats with the kids a bit and reads a couple books to them. Then the kids sit down to do some coloring. Crayons and sheets for coloring (usually with pictures from--or related to--the show they just watched) are provided. Each kid also gets a slice of pizza too! You simply get in line and give them the ticket/coupon they gave you when you left the movie and they give you pizza for your kid(s). Not only that, but if you put your child's name on the back of the ticket/coupon, they raffle off the books that they had read to the kids during Story Time. This means that for just $10.50 The Little Monster and I get to see a movie (or show), eat some movie snacks, hear some books read, do some coloring, eat some pizza (at least The Monster gets pizza anyway) AND get a chance at winning a free book! The Little Monster actually won the raffle for the "The Little Engine that Could" book that was read at Story Time the day of that show a few months ago! And, of course, it's also just a nice way for us to have some special time together as father and daughter. We will get back to the monster movies soon enough I'm sure...
The Little Monster with her pizza ticket before Story Time
Coloring after the book reading at Story Time
And enjoying a slice of pizza!
Well, that's about all there is to say about our Kidtoons adventure. Please check the website for National Amusements for up-to-date information about what movie will be showing next (and which theaters are participating in the series). I would like to finish up with a few more photos from our trip out to the movies today...
Here's our local movie theater: The Blackstone Valley 14 Cinema De Lux in Millbury (MA)
The cinema has two parking lots--I like to use the one around back because it has a long hallway plastered with posters for upcoming movies. Not only that, but it also leads to...
...A giant window overlooking the lower parking lot and with a nice view into the distance
The Little Monster likes to look at the cars from this window before we head down the escalator to the lobby on the first floor (and afterwards too). These were taken on our way out after the show.
All the excitement was too much for The Little Monster and she conked out on the way home