Free Friday Flicks at Kip’s Castle
Not only have I never seen an outdoor movie, but I also had never been to Kip’s Castle. Attending the Free Friday Flicks at Kip’s Castle, seemed perfect to check both items off my bucket list. I didn’t know what to expect but it was such a great experience I can’t wait to go back. Let me begin with a quick thank you to the friendly Essex County Sheriffs who managed traffic and the trolley driver who was also very excited about being at Kip’s Castle. Trolley? Yes, a trolley sat at the bottom of the hill and transported guests up the steep driveway which was great because managing two toddlers is similar to herding cats. The trolley was definitely a perk for my children and included a beautiful view especially when we arrived at the entrance.
The view of the castle is impressive. Originally referred to as “Kypsburg” it took over three years to build in the early 1900’s. The County of Essex became it’s most recent owner in 2007 and integrated into it’s offerings of outdoor films and concerts. We were permitted to tour the first floor and could use the bathroom until the movie began when the Castle was then closed (and port a potties were then available). The back of the building has a view of New York which excited a lot of the children.
The movies are held on Fridays in June and the earliest you can enter the premises is at 7 PM when they open their gates. Parking is easily accomplished on the residential street (there is clear signage for areas where you cannot park). Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair, light jacket, bug spray, and pack light. We brought glow sticks which seems to be an essential for night time activities with kids. If you choose to walk up and down the steep driveway, it is not lighted so bring a flashlight. The movie begins at dusk.
I chose to bring my children to Rio because they enjoy this film and this particular movie included live animals from the Turtle Back Zoo. Each flick at Kip’s Castle includes pre-movie entertainment. The kids were giggling with excitement to see a turtle, corn snake, and hermit crab. When their attention span no longer focused on the animals, children began playing in front of the screen. The smell of fresh made popcorn didn’t hurt my wallet as refreshments were available as a fundraiser for the conservation of Kip’s Castle at an incredible reasonable price of $1.00 each. Soda, water, and candy were also available.
My first experience at an outdoor film was perfect which raises the bar for when I attend some of the other great movies available in Essex County. I highly recommend taking the trolley ride to Kip’s Castle or checking out the other films we are adding to our Calendar of Events.