Missouri State Penitentiary

Located in Jefferson City, Missouri, the Missouri State Penitentiary is a historic attraction that has become a popular destination for travelers seeking an immersive and educational experience. The penitentiary, which operated from 1836 to 2004, housed some of the most dangerous criminals in the United States during its long and storied history. Today, visitors can tour the prison and learn about its fascinating past, from its construction to the daily lives of inmates.


The History Tour

 This is the main attraction of the Missouri State Penitentiary, offering visitors a comprehensive look into the prison’s past. The tour includes a walk through the cellblocks, the gas chamber, and the execution room, as well as a visit to the site of a historic riot. Knowledgeable guides provide insight into the prison’s daily operations and the lives of both prisoners and guards.

Ghost Tours

For those seeking a more spooky experience, the Missouri State Penitentiary also offers ghost tours. These tours take visitors through the prison after dark, exploring the stories of former inmates and guards who still haunt the cells and corridors. Visitors may even hear unexplainable sounds or see ghostly apparitions.

Photography Tours

 Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the unique opportunity to capture the penitentiary’s haunting beauty. This tour takes visitors through areas of the prison that are not typically accessible on regular tours, providing plenty of opportunities for stunning photos.


  1. The Missouri State Penitentiary was once the largest prison in the United States, housing over 5,000 inmates at its peak.
  2. The prison was known for its brutal conditions and high number of inmate deaths, leading to its eventual closure in 2004.
  3. Famous inmates of the Missouri State Penitentiary include boxer Sonny Liston and gangster Pretty Boy Floyd.


In addition to the main attractions listed above, visitors can also participate in a variety of activities at the Missouri State Penitentiary. These include:

  1. Escape Room – Visitors can test their problem-solving skills in the prison’s escape room, which is based on a true story of an attempted escape in 1967.
  2. Museum – The prison’s museum offers a wealth of information about its history, including exhibits on famous inmates and the prison’s role in shaping criminal justice in the United States.
  3. Gift Shop – Visitors can browse souvenirs and unique items at the prison’s gift shop, including books on the prison’s history and handmade crafts made by former inmates.

What to Expect:

Visitors to the Missouri State Penitentiary can expect an immersive and educational experience that offers a glimpse into the harsh reality of prison life. The prison’s imposing stone walls and haunting atmosphere provide a stark contrast to the bustling city outside, creating a unique and memorable experience. While the history tour is the main attraction, visitors can also enjoy other activities such as ghost tours and the escape room, making it a versatile destination for all types of travelers.

Plan to Visit:

The best time to visit the Missouri State Penitentiary is during the summer months, when the weather is warm and the attraction is open for longer hours. The attraction is open from 10 am to 4 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 12 pm to 4 pm on Sundays. Tickets for the history tour cost $15 per person, while the ghost tour and photography tour cost $25 and $30 respectively. The escape room costs $30 per person, and visitors should book in advance to secure their spot. Overall, a visit to the Missouri State Penitentiary is a unique and thought-provoking experience that is well worth the trip.

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