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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Miami Area THEATRES and DRIVE-IN THEATRES Historical Photos Gallery - All Years - click on image to view > 1960s - the Tropicaire Drive-In Theatre on Bird Road across from Tropical Park, Dade County
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1960s Courtesy of Larry Martin

1960s - the Tropicaire Drive-In Theatre on Bird Road across from Tropical Park, Dade County

7751 Bird Road (SW 40 Street), Dade County, Florida

Thank you to Larry Martin for contributing this image.

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Guest 16-Dec-2016 16:22
Does anyone remember the air conditioning offered in the late 50s or early 60s offered by way of a vacuum hose with a flat end that you roll up in your car window along with the speaker at Coral Way Drive In?
Bob Z. 17-Jun-2016 22:06
I loved going there as a kid (late 50's/early 60's). We'd get there early and I'd go play on the swing there, then watch the movie when it got dark. That was back in the days of free-range parenting, when kids in the summer would range all around the neighborhood. I feel sorry for the closely monitored kids today. They don't have the freedom we had.
Don Boyd24-Aug-2014 16:39
Iris, thank you for your comments. What you said about changes in Miami is one of the main reasons I started this section of my site. We grew up at the best time ever to live here when it wasn't so congested and there were wide open spaces all over.

And thank you to everyone who has posted their comments and memories here. The comments really add more historical background than just a photo from way back when and I appreciate people taking the time to comment.

iris georges 24-Aug-2014 16:09
Thank you for sharing these pictures. I use to go to the drive in as a teenager. It's sad to see how things have changed in Miami. I personally prefer the Miami that I grew up in the 60's and 70's. Thank you again.
Jim Goodrich 09-Apr-2014 12:43
During the 60's we would get blankets and get on the roof of my Parent's car and watch movies here. My cousing lived on the other side of the Palmetto and we could sit on the grass up on the highway and watch movies from there. I also spent many Saturday mornings here at the swap meet looking for Penn fishing reels and rods. I still have an old Arbalete speargun in my garage that I bought at the Tropicare swap meet.
Jessica Meszaros 30-Oct-2013 16:43
Hi there! I am a journalist working on a story about old Miami drive-ins. Is there anyone who used to work or attend the Tropicaire Drive-in regularly? I would love grasp the Miami drive-in scene of the '50s through '80s. Contact me! Thank you!
Joe 26-Mar-2013 17:05
My father owned the huge Exxon station right next door, from around 1968 until 1971.
Michael Didway 23-Nov-2012 01:39
I was a member of the team that sold tropical under the tree at Tropicaire Drive-in. I was the one with longest hair. We sold a lot of fish, it was hard work getting ready Saturday and setting everything up Sunday. Oh, did we ever meet the girls!. Those were the good old days. When it slowed down in the afternoon we would go get a six pack of beer from the Homestreach Bar. There was a guy and his wife who sold good jewelry, he ended up having several stores around town and ever advertised on tv.
ck 17-Nov-2012 13:48
The Swap Meet! You could get anything there as a kid for cheap! Atari & Coleco games, Star Wars Figures, weapons! My grandfather used to go there with me as a kid almost every Saturday. Now I run a prophouse for film & tv. Thanks Grandpa!
fuji 26-Sep-2012 22:15
I worked the flea market and the drive in with Manny,Armondo and Dale during my high schools years what alot of fun,then I started working it off-duty with MDPD. I remember the millers and gwen and all the people that worked there
Guest 06-Sep-2012 15:50
My husband and I went to this Flee market/drive in theatre when we met!!
Daniel Reytan 20-May-2012 23:31
Ah the variety we had! What an impressive H U G E and stately concrete sign doubling as a movie screen on the other side. By night a drive-in theater and by day a flea market. Places this versatile that are such distinguished landmarks should never be torn down! As a child in the 70's I wondered what it would be like to see a movie on that big screen, I never did. The biggest joy of going to the flea market was buying the tropical fish sold there. As chain stores dominate and become run of the mill and boring, a big gem like the Tropicare brings warmth and memories to the heart. Thanks Don! :D
Guest 16-May-2012 23:22
I worked here growing up at the flea market with my grandparents and uncle. Even though I was a kid I really enjoyed every moment of it! I'm so blessed to be able to attend medical school now, but I will never forget where I came from!!!
Guest 16-May-2012 19:03
I worked here growing up at the flea market with my grandparents and uncle. Even though I was a kid I really enjoyed every moment of it! I'm so blessed to be able to attend medical school now, but I will never forget where I came from!!!
Guest 06-May-2012 03:22
All my brothers and I worked there. It put my oldest brother thru college. Those were early mornings. The people were great. Had a great time working there.The Futch's
Matt 28-Nov-2011 15:34
I remember working at the Swap Meet through High School for the Millers. There sure was a lot of fun people working there. The Clarks, Phil Dumbowski, The Fleri's Matt and Mike, TIna, etc.... First we worked Security in the morning and trash detail in the afternoon. Used to love driving the trash truck with no doors. Hated working security in the old Chevy in the back of the lot. Who knew that by bouncing all those quarters in the box during admission would make me a College Quarter's Champ!
david cozzo 28-Sep-2011 15:58
my family moved here in 1956, i still live here in Miami.
i can honestly say that i don't think i would have rather of grown up any where else.
My regret is that my children and grand children will never know what it was to grow up in a paradise
renee 27-Jun-2011 13:47
I use to go the tropical driven almost every weekend with my dad and his friends. i used to play in the play ground area. I also worked there for awhile!!!
Donna Marchetti Russell 21-Dec-2010 22:23
Oh how we loved going to the movies here! Wearing our PJs and laying in the back of the station wagon! Then on to the flea market when the "strong man" was there. Anyone remember him?
Guest 19-Dec-2010 23:59
I used to work at the Fleamarket as a parking/security guy. Enjoyed working there with Corky Miller hated that we had to clean up after the day was over though. Charlie Martin
Steven Siegel 11-Sep-2010 04:00
Steven Siegel, I use to get in free and that was my hang out! Wow what a great time to live! I miss the old days
Rick Lackey 06-Jun-2010 03:42
Remember this place well. I use to go there with my parents in the late 50's and early 60's .then in my own car in the late 60's with my friends and our dates. Loved that back row. Then later with my wife and my kids. Long live those old memories.
Guest 04-Apr-2010 22:33
To Mark,
You just "thought" you did it.
lmartin25-Feb-2010 21:16
This Drive-In and the Coral Way Drive-In on the south side of Coral Way around 70th Ave just west of Coral Terrace Elementary School were favorite hangouts in the 60's with car loads just as Ray described "sneaking" in. It was demolished in the late 70's and the Tropicaire was replaced with a strip mall.
Dave 12-Feb-2010 03:10
I was born in Miami(1962),when I enlisted in the Marines(1982),I had some "poolee" meetings at the theatre office.
Fuji 01-Feb-2010 10:51
I worked for the drive-in and the flea market from about 1974 1980 and I worked it as a Police Officer off-duty in the 90s.I was fun working with Jim Miller,Bill and the gang,it was like a family,best times of my life was there while I was I high School
Ray 24-Jan-2010 16:33
Picture it..... 1968 Chevy Impala, with 5 people inside the car and 4 more inside the trunk. I did this several times at the Tropicaire Drive-In and never got caught. This is such a great picture to bring back memories of old Miami. I miss the old Miami.
Norman Aguero 01-Sep-2009 23:08
Hello everyone. The ramp, the foot bridge across the Palmetto where you could watch the movie sans sound, will be demolished in a short while. A new bridge is being erected just a bit north from there. I've taken photos of the foot bridge at various angles and even snapped pictures of graffiti etched into wet cement possibly when the bridge was built. I believe the writing dates back to 1977. I proposed to my ex-wife on the corner of the bridge that faces where the Tropicaire used to stand. That was back in 1984 or so. I still use that bridge, to this day, to sprint when doing HIT cardio.
I've been taking picture of Bird Road, etc. when I go for my walks.
Guest 21-Jul-2009 02:27
My god, this is where I got recruited for the Marines back in 1980....lmao!
Charles Knight 06-Apr-2009 07:12
We were here as kids, mom would bring us...Saw King Kong VS Godzilla, Hold on Herman's Hermits movie,and so many others. Later in life did the Flea Mkt.
lmartin13-Mar-2009 19:59
George, we would sure like to see those photos and Norman all those places were special especially the Ludway, Central Stadium, and the Royal Castle that actually was not on Coral Way but down the dead end street right in front of the Central Stadium entrance.
Guest 10-Mar-2009 14:58
George Drakopoulos - My friend Peter Koukios turned me on to this site. I used to work at the Tropicaire Drive-In in the 1980's and was there for the very last movie. We tried to get "The Last Picture Show" but could not. The last movie was shown on December 27, 1987 and was Stake Out. It was definitely a sad day for all of us who grew up there. I used to walk the theatre with old Jesse Tucker busting people actually still sneaking in the trunk of their car. I remember when they showed The Omen there and the traffic was backed up the off ramp of the Palmetto. I was there the day they started to tear it down. The first time the wrecking ball hit the screen, it bounced off. Channel 10 interviewed me and as a former theatre employee, I was included in photos taken along with the owner, Mr. McComas who also gave me a beautiful autographed aerial shot of the theatre taken right after it was built in the 40's. I also have some glass blocks from the building along with speakers that were used before they went to radio sound. I do not live in Miami anymore and have not for years but my memories are great. As a child, I also remember going to tropical park with my uncle when it was still a horse track sitting on his shoulders watching the horses and jockeys parading by. Thanks for the memories. George D.
Norman Aguero 08-Mar-2009 20:59
I remember the drive in at Coral Way just east of the railroad tracks. Today it is the site of a car dealership and an appartment complex. I remember the air conditioning and watching movies with my uncle Ray and his former wife Linda. I know you guys remember Central Stadium where the boring Blue Lagoon shopping center know sits. Do you remember the Royal Castle there? Yikes, I'm 54, I've gotten old. Remember Pirates, the gaming center? Wow this site is great. By the way, the FEC (not the old CSX) tore up the tracks just west of 67 th. Ave. and Coral Way. Remember the old Ludway Bar since "1947?" Great place for a quick beer and smoked fish. Hello Ernest.
Jorge Viera 31-Aug-2008 07:18
Im a little younger than some folks here but I went to the Flea Market there every single weekend for nearly two decades with my Father and older brother. I was so disappointed the day they started tearing it down. Just to give you guys an idea, my parents tell me the first movie I ever saw was Star Wars, on that very screen.
Mike Shull 27-Aug-2008 16:12
I loved going to the flea markets here, what great memories in the early 70's and mid 80's I think as a kid I bought some of your baloons because I remember walking out of there and inhaling the helium, I remember the homemade roach clips and the incense that used to be sold there, tropical park across the st. when horse racing was there.what fun to remember these good times.
Leonard Touchton 07-Aug-2008 04:13
Oops, that was 86th ave. Had to turn off Bird onto 87th I believe, to get to 86th. There was a Royal Castle at Bird and 87th if memory serves.
Leonard Touchton 07-Aug-2008 04:09
The Tropicaire Drive In is one of my fondest childhood memories. I lived in Miami from the early fifties until 1960. We lived on 87th Ave. just off Bird road. If memory serves me I went to Emerson Elementary in the 1st grade and then to Banyan in the 2nd, 3rd and part of the 4th. My father worked for the City of Miami in the landscape dept. But, his second job was as a cook in the snack bar at the Drive In. Of course, this entitled my family to free admission so especially in the summer while school was out we saw many double features. We would always arrive early before dark and my brother and I would walk the parking aisles searching for change dropped by careless movie goers. Some evenings we did quite well. But about dark we would have to be sure to be in the car with the windows up as there would be a truck coming thru spraying/fogging for mosquitoes. I believe they used DDT at that time. I was first introduced to pizza at the theater. I can still smell and taste it till this day. I am sure it was just a premade boxed pizza but I have never tasted one better. Ah, the theater is gone, my dad is gone and my brother is gone but the memories will be with me forever.
Guest 12-Jul-2008 05:47
Its really great seeing everyone talk about my neighborhood that lived in it in the 70's. Id have to admit, the place would be a lot cooler with a drive in. Too bad i wasnt born yet =/
Ernest Joya 16-Jun-2008 15:08
My Parents still live a few blocks from here on S.Waterway Drive.
Tropicaire Drive-in was where I saw The Omen, What's Up Doc? and many many others with friends and family. Sad its gone and thrilled to see the great photos here. What a treat.
I also would go on weekends to the flea market for years, Stuff bought there, I still have and cherish.
When low on funds, friends and I would hang out at the catwalk over the Palmetto (still there) and watch the movie for free. Albeit without sound. Thanks for the opportunity to see these great images.
Guest 16-Jun-2008 02:15
the best flea market - EVER!
Guest 15-Jun-2008 20:46
the best flea market - EVER!
robertbowman06-Apr-2008 14:33
Check out the picture and article about the in car airconditioning near the bottom of this section. I remember it at the CORAL WAY DRIVE-IN. Was it worth the 50 cents extra? You bet it was. The downside was no steamed up windows..........Privacy if you know what i mean.
Gary Pales 05-Apr-2008 12:15
I can't believe someone else remembers the ac at the coral way drive, great memories at both in the 70's.
Norman 28-Mar-2008 08:35
There's a foot bridge over the Palmetto just north of Bird Road. We used to cross it and watch the movies for free. The last movie I saw there was circa 1984.
robertbowman24-Mar-2008 22:58
My friend Richard Bradwell and his wife Nancy (Neighborhood Fish farm) sold tropical fish there under the trees every weekend for a long time. It was .25cents to walk in.
Bob Cleve 18-Mar-2008 14:22
I am Bob Cleve (CGHS Class of 1955). My family and I used to go to the Tropicaire in the early 1950's. We loved those wonderful warm evenings under the stars waiting for the show to start. Later, when I discovered girls, I would take them there in my dad's car (minus my parents of course!). I used to earn gas money for my 1939 V12 Lincoln Zephyr and some movie money at certain times of the year by walking horses from the railroad stop to Tropical Park race track. Geez, time sure does fly by fast doesn't it? God bless you all and be well.
Guest 16-Mar-2008 13:49
This was around as late as 1987. I saw Predator there at that time.
ENRIQUE 24-Feb-2008 02:51
Leighton 19-Feb-2008 04:28
This was fantastic, architecturally significant commercial architecture. What a shame! My parents would never take us to drive-ins, but I always looked for this landmark, as my parents drove to Dadeland, from Flagler, in the late 60s/early 70s.
Guest 14-Feb-2008 03:19
yea, remember the a/c at the coral way drive-in.... and high school football at central stadium... great times in the 60s. bob doctors hosp. 1953
Carol Stevens 07-Feb-2008 19:21
We used to drive off with the speaker way too often! In future archeological digs when they come across a hilly area with some poles remaining and a large white wall at one end will they decide it was used for religious ceremonies?
Guest 01-Feb-2008 22:50
What great memories! My wife & I sold balloons and novelties at the TROPICAIRE FLEA MARKET for over 25 years. Made many friends there and some of the kids who purchased balloons are still in touch. Our friends laughed at our venture, but thanks to the kind buyes over the years, we were able to send three boys to college... all worked at the market at different times, learned good business ethics and their success in life most certainly revolved around this famous flea market! Too bad we can't return to those wonderful years! John & Diane Wagerer
Guest 19-Jan-2008 00:06
Lourdes Mendez - Yep this is right across from Tropical Park and there is a Best Buy a Taco Bell, Payless Shoe Store, Target and a Publix.. I use every weekend with my mom to the flea market there......... sure do miss those days
Guest 19-Jan-2008 00:01
Lourdes Mendez- Yes this was a Swap Shop with old and new stuff and it even had an Army recrute in the front part of of this sign. people could sign up for the Army there
Philip 17-Jan-2008 03:50
Just to the east was Frank's Texaco. I worked there in the summer of 1969
and 1970. Frank was Australian and his speciality was repairing British cars.
I grew up on SW 36 Street between the catwalk (that went over the Palmetto
Expressway) and Emerson Elementary. I love the picture posted here. A relative
of the Tropicaire owner, Keith McComis (?) actually lived in the building below and
behind the screen.
John 13-Jan-2008 23:15
If my fading memory serves me correctly, there was another smaller sign to the right (?) of this one that had the movies listed on it and the long time advertisement that read, "Swap Meet All Day Sun". I never knew what that meant while growing up. We only went to the Tropicaire Drive-In when nothing good was playing down south at the Dixie Drive-In. How many of you ever drove off w/ the speakers still attached to the window? Dad did and all he would say was #$%@& speaker!
Jan Dupree 23-Dec-2007 06:25
I started going here in the 1950s. I remember it well , lived down the road on 82nd. ave. I also will never forget the day they tore it down. Very sad.
robert cruz 28-Oct-2007 08:04
i have the snack bar signs from here! gave the guy at the gate $5 so i could yank them off before the bulldozer got to them!
Guest 28-Oct-2007 03:16

remember the coral drive-in on coral way, dwn from central stadium? it had A/C remember that??? lol
Sandra Mora 05-Oct-2007 15:26
I remember when this was a flea market! WOW! thanks for the memories!
Guest 20-Sep-2007 21:58
Wow...this is GREAT. I grew up a few blocks away on S. Lake Dr. I started going to this drive-in back in the mid 50's. In fact I signed up for the Marines in 1966, at the old USMC Recruiters trailer that was on this property next to the front entrance. Used to sneak in under the fence in the back when I was a kid. Plus, we would sneak friends in, in the truck of our cars during high school. Lots of memories of this place.
Ron Koger
Guest 16-Sep-2007 03:41
The 'great' month in my life was December 1967. I soloed in a Citabria at Homestead General airport. I also 'did it' first with Jo-Jo at the Tropicaire Drive in. Such is life.
- Mark Lincoln
Jeff Jenkins 08-Sep-2007 22:34
Yep, I remember that sign well, including the palm trees growing on it, which I always used to love. I was born in 1959, and moved from an apt. to a house 2 blocks from Tropicaire Theatre, living there from 1960. In the 80's I moved to an apt. in West Miami. 5 years ago I moved from Miami to Central FL.
Guest 07-Sep-2007 03:46
Wow I remember that in the 80s etc.. Now its another old stripmall area with a Best Buy and furniture store etc.. one of many cloned shopping malls that litter Miami today. Sad to see these pictures and see what has become of Miami today.
Roberta 31-Aug-2007 02:41
Thank you! Thank You! Thank You! Larry Martin & Don Boyd!!!