movies in the park 2009

by kellie abrahamson
The economy has everyone looking for ways to save some cash and entertainment is one thing most families are simply living without. Thankfully as the weather gets warmer, cheap and even free things to do will begin to pop up all over our fair city. Enter Movies in the Park, a free, family-friendly film series that will kick off for the second year at Treaty Oak Park.
Free movie events are nothing new to the First Coast, but Movies in the Park is something special. For one thing, the location is great. The park is nestled among the Southbank high-rises, giving the whole event a completely different vibe from free movies at the beach or in St. Augustine. It’s also right in the middle of Jacksonville, saving you a very long drive when compared to the aforementioned movie events. Another thing unique to Movies in the Park is the films themselves. While not particularly new, the movies chosen were picked by the audience. Back in January, event organizers asked the community to choose from a long list which films they would like to see this year.  The result is a fine list of terrific G- and PG-rated movies that a wide range of people are sure to enjoy. Here’s this year’s schedule: 

April 17: Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom, Rated PG
April 24: E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Rated PG
May 1: Finding Nemo, Rated G
May 8: Beetle Juice, Rated PG 
I attended Movies in the Park last year with my family and we had a terrific time. In addition to your blankets and lawn chairs, I highly recommend packing a picnic dinner and bringing it along (one rule: no alcohol). It’s a fun way to make the evening an event rather than just a night at the movies, especially if picnicking isn’t something you do often. If there’s just not enough time in your Friday to prepare something like that be sure to stop at an ATM before the show so you can partake in some of the tasty snacks vendors will be selling.
While the movies begin at 8 pm, it would be a good idea to arrive early since traffic definitely slows to a crawl as it gets later and good spots on the lawn get grabbed up quickly. Sponsor 96.9 The Eagle will be there for your listening pleasure and free lawn games will be available for the kiddies before the movie to keep them busy.
With most events Downtown, parking will cost you an arm and a leg. Not at Movies in the Park! Free parking will be available in the Suddath garage on Flagler Street across from the Hampton Inn. Garage gates will open at 5:30 pm and stay open until 1 am, giving you plenty of time to hang out and explore the Southbank or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants nearby.
Treaty Oak Park is located on the Southbank on Prudential Drive. For more information on Movies in the Park, visit or call 451-3344.