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Is Eastern State Penitentiary to scary for kids?

In a word, yes.  In a few words, are you freakin’ crazy?  This is a Dad asking this question, right?  No self respecting, child loving mother would even ponder the thought.

To begin with, the place is pretty scary looking even in the daylight.  When it’s not Halloween. Even for grown ups.

Then there’s that other thing, you know the one where they say the place is haunted.  You knew that, right?  You’ve seen it on Ghost Hunters.  Twice.  Apparently there were so many ghosts, they had to visit twice to see them all.  It’s a scary place.  Even for grown ups.

An apparition captured on film at Eastern State Penitentiary

So when you add to this already frightening combination the fact that Terror Behind the Walls is rated as the number one haunted house in America, you can assume one thing.  This place is scary.  Even for grown ups.

The fright takes place in five separate haunted attractions on the 11 acre grounds of the prison.  There are live actors in terrifying situations there to make sure you scream, cover your eyes, and in some cases, require the use of the clean underwear your mother has always told you should be in your glove box.  This haunted house is not for the weak.  Tackle some small, local Halloween haunted houses before you decide to give Eastern State a try.  Even if you’re a grown up.

I will tell you, though, that the proceeds of Terror Behind the Walls all goes to the not-for-profit Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, which aims to preserve the very rich history of the prison.  That makes it even more enticing to go.  Except I’m a chicken.

So yes.  Eastern State Penitentiary – at least the Terror Behind the Walls is too scary for kids.  And even for grown ups.

But there are tours specifically geared toward children, and I highly recommend that you do one.  The history, the legends, and the stories will captivate your child.  The recommended age for the tours is 12 and older.  It is still a little bit scary.

Even for grown ups.

Visit www.easternstate.org for more information on Terror Behind the Walls and the other tours available at Eastern State Penitentiary.