Submitted by Kelly Moore, 01.13.08
I can't think of a better way to spend a cold and dreery Des Moines day than at Billy Joe's Pitcher Show (that is, if you have children who will sit through a feature-length film... I am happy to report that at 2 & 3/4 years of age and 9 months, mine are at the perfect age).
On Saturday afternoon, we went over for the feature weekend matinee showing now, "A Bee Movie." While parts of it were a little scary for our toddler, it was funny enough to entertain both me and my husband.
Two great things about a movie at Billy Joe's -- 1) You get to eat during the film. The menu is pretty large. It's mostly bar & grill-type food with some pizza thrown in, and the bar is open if you want a beer during your movie. 2) When you go to the potty, they have the movie's audio track piped into the restroom, so you can still keep up with what's going on in the movie. Oh, one more good thing: 3) It's smoke-free. Always.
It's not exactly a cheap way to spend an afternoon. We got an appetizer, three entrees, two beers and a large diet coke. With tip it was $44. Admission was $8, for the family, but we had a "buy one admission, get the second free coupon," so it would have been $12 without the discount. But, you don't have to have a meal. With the matinee starting at 12:30, you could have lunch before heading over and then just enjoy pop and popcorn or candy like the more traditional movie experience.
I mentioned earlier that this place is great if your child can sit through a movie. It's probably great even if your child can't, as I saw that quite a few of the more restless movie-goers just spent the last half of the movie running around in the back. And no one minds the noise because the theatee is full of kids, the house lights are dimmed throughout the movie and everyone understands this is not a traditional theater.
We will definitely be back, and I'll be adding the Billy Joe matinee to the DesMoinesFamilies.com calendar from now on so that more people can keep this great activity in mind.
P.S. Neat idea: One mom had her preteen daughter and friends sit at a different table, order their own meals and pay for their own tickets. While I'm sure the waitress was annoyed, it was a cool lesson for the girls, I thought.
P.P.S. If you'd rather go during the week, Billy Joe's runs a Kid's Week once a month where they show movies at 10 a.m. You need reservations, though.
P.P.P.S. This is also great for mom and dad's "date night." It's cheap, you can acceptably talk during the film, and you get to eat and do the movie at the same time, so the money you have to pay the babysitter is halved! If you're looking to do this on the extra-cheap, go on Thursday night when it's two-for-one admission.