Swap Shop Drive-In

3291 West Sunrise Boulevard,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

Jimmsm on May 7, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Sketchy neighborhood after dark, some screen are tiny, another is just a whitewashed wall of the indoor portion of the swap shop. I used to go often when I lived down in Florida. Only screens 1 and 2 are legitimately movie worthy so keep an eye on the Marque. Each day and especially on weekends it is the best Flea Market I have ever been to. The open air fruit and vegetable bazaar is just like a tour of the globe, people and produce from all over the world. Big thumbs up.

davidcoppock on March 29, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Maybe it was very dusty? Maybe a printing error?

rivest266 on March 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm

They must had been showing a dirty movie.

Found on Newspapers.com

davidcoppock on March 29, 2017 at 12:26 am

Is the Thunderbird Mini building still there and used for anything? I haven’t heard of a members only theatre before!

rivest266 on March 28, 2017 at 3:51 pm

An indoor theatre, called the Thunderbird Mini opened behind the refreshment center on September 4th, 1970 with “I am Curious (Yellow)”. On January 1st, 1971 it became a “members only” theatre closing in 1972. The outdoor theatre had shown adult movies until at least 1973. Three ads in the photo section.

rivest266 on March 26, 2017 at 2:44 pm

This opened on November 27th, 1963. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

  • July 13th, 1973 3 screens
  • 6 screens on September 21st, 1973
  • 8 screens on March 29th, 1974

Renamed Swap Shop in 1984

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 25, 2016 at 6:45 am

David, the daytime flea market became more popular than the Drive-in and it reminded everyone that they were the same location.

davidcoppock on May 24, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Does anyone know why the drive-in was called Swap Shop?

Mikeoaklandpark on May 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm

A lot of the screens are small and non have the capability to show scope unless they have gone digital and that has changed. Scope films used to be off the sides of the screen in the air. I hated it.

davidcoppock on May 19, 2016 at 1:14 am

You can see an aerial shot of the Swap Shop Drive-in property on Google Earth! I think you can see at least 9 of the drive-in screens in the Google Earth aerial shot!

KenLayton on May 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

I’d like to see an ariel picture of the theater property now. With 14 screens it would be mighty impressive!

davidcoppock on May 18, 2016 at 1:08 am

Is the Swap shop drive-in possibly have the world record for themost screens at a drive-in? Does anyone know why the drive-in was Swap Shop?

rivest266 on October 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I uploaded the 1969 aerial photo from the USGS in the photo section. It was much smaller with one screen.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

This place now claims to have 14 screens.


TLSLOEWS on February 28, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Good place to take your wife,swap her for another.Nice Ad Harvey a believe the Loews Ads are for regular theatres and 1 drive-in.

Harvey on August 12, 2008 at 12:31 am

Mentioned in this ad is what I believe are the mini-theaters Al is referring to.

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 9, 2008 at 7:14 am

In 1970 the Thunderbird and Gold Coast experimented by adding indoor mini theatres to the properties which played mostly ‘adult’ movies.

kencmcintyre on February 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Not that odd. My hometown drive-in used to show softcore movies in the 70s. We kids were able to watch from outside the property. Very educational.

AdamBomb1701 on February 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

I remember the Thunderbird. If I remember correctly, it was running porn films in the mid-80’s. I thought that a drive-in running porn was, say…a bit odd.

shoeshoe14 on September 27, 2007 at 12:02 am

The website above doesn’t work, but this does. http://floridaswapshop.com/

I’m in Florida visiting folks and saw the ad for this place in a weekly paper. Wow. Apparently, they have one in Fort Worth.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 5, 2007 at 5:06 pm

And as a bonus, the big red neon “Thunderbird” sign was brightly lit the night we were there.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on February 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm

This theater is open and hopping. While it’s not ideal, there is no denying the fun of going to see a popcorn picture at a drive-in movie.

I took my two year old to see Charlotte’s Web and she loved seeing a movie from the front seat of the car, a place in the car she isn’t usually allowed.

While she was watching the screen in front of us, I turned around from time to time to look out the side window and watch some innocent victims getting dismembered by “The Hitcher” on a nearby screen. Good times.

Mikeoaklandpark on November 7, 2005 at 12:40 am

This is one theater that is no great loss if it doesn’t reopen. I am glad I moved from Ft Lauderdale in April.

YMike on November 6, 2005 at 6:17 pm

This drive-in suffered major damage from the recent Hurricaine Wilma. It is closed for now but the owner hopes to re-open in a few months.

bornjaded on March 22, 2005 at 12:08 am

I saw a film here once. This is not the place to see films of significance. I only went because I’d never been to a drive-in theater before and was curious. My recommendation would be to choose a disposable film and go for the atmosphere. If you’re thinking about making kissy-kissy with a hot date, think again: the place gets too crowded to allow for comfortable hanky-panky, and viewers will typically sit outside of their cars and park wherever they damn well please. These are not structured lots with clearly demarcated spaces, but rather, grassy free-for-alls through which it’s difficult to maneuver for a comfortable spot. Plus, some of the screens are truly pint-sized (smaller than the cars below), positioned too closely to two major boulevards, and not accommodating of widescreen aspect ratios. Conveniently, though, the audio is piped it through your car radio.

Oh, and it’s in a bad neighborhood, too. You know that sense of discomfort you get when you’re stopped at a red light in the ghetto? Imagine that, for two hours.

Also, try to avoid the concession stands, unless you’re either out of cigarettes (you can get a pack of Marlboros at the concession stand for about four bucks), or have a hankering for blood sausages pickled in formaldehyde.

The problem with this drive-in is that it’s basically an outdoor multiplex, and it plays only commercial fare. It’s no fun seeing something like, oh, “The Aviator” or “The School of Rock” at such a venue. They should use one or two screens for true drive-in classics, like “The Sadist,” “Motel Hell,” or “Targets.”