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Missouri State Penitentiary

115 Lafayette St., Jefferson City, MO 65101
+1 866-998-6998
Review Highlights
A unique and interesting adventure

We really enjoyed our tour of the old Missouri State Penitentiary. It was such a unique and... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
Johnny K

This is the first time we have visited as a family. My son and I have been before on a school field... read more

Reviewed 4 days ago
via mobile
Read all 424 reviews
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The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) opened in 1836 along the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri, the state capital. The prison housed inmates for 168 years and was the oldest continually operating prison west of the Mississippi until it was decommissioned in 2004. The prison was already 100 years old when Alcatraz began taking inmates.The Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau now offers a wide variety of tours at the site, once named the "bloodiest 47 acres in America" by Time magazine. Visitors can choose to take a History or Ghost Tour, among others, and will walk through several incredibly historic housing units, the vast upper yard of the property and the gas chamber, where 40 men and women were executed. The tour also showcases cells of infamous inmates such as Sonny Liston, who learned to box during his time in the big house and James Earl Ray, who escaped from MSP before assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Excellent75%
  • Very good20%
  • Average2%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“gas chamber” (95 reviews)
“ghost tour” (79 reviews)
“hour tour” (60 reviews)
115 Lafayette St., Jefferson City, MO 65101
+1 866-998-6998
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Reviews (424)
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1 - 10 of 422 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago

We really enjoyed our tour of the old Missouri State Penitentiary. It was such a unique and interesting experience. The tour provided a lot of history and interesting stories about actual past prisoners. I would recommend it to everyone and it would make a great...More

Thank Johnny K
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

This is the first time we have visited as a family. My son and I have been before on a school field trip. I remember driving by growing up when it was still housing inmates. Now that it is open for tours, it is wonderful...More

Thank mgardner448
Reviewed 5 days ago

I've lived in Jefferson City for 18 years, but it took some out of town visitors to finally get me to tour the MO State Penitentiary. The tour guide (Mike) was marvelous. This really is a HISTORY tour. He explained the origin of the prison,...More

Thank LisaFoxJC
Reviewed 5 days ago

Michael and James were our guides on June 25. Very knowledgeable and made the tour very engaging. We took the haunted tour, and they provided a historic baseline while including the spooky experience. I would suggest this tour to anyone...it was well worth the trip.

Thank tylerzmom
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Great visit. Learned some things about infamous inmates. Small tour group with added information. Easy to find and plenty of free street parking.

Reviewed 1 week ago

Loved the old buildings. Our guide was a warden that had worked there the last 5 yrs the prison was open. You could tell his main love was the buildings because that is mostly what he talked about. I did learn some interesting facts but...More

Thank Q274ENkareno
Reviewed 1 week ago

This tour was so interesting and informative. My husband and I took the 2 hour tour, but we will go back and do the longer tour next time. It was that good. The guide had been a guard there when it was still operational, that...More

Thank flutterbyjen
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I was most impressed with our tour guide, Dale, who led us through the prison with a sense of humor and enthusiasm. He did not seem bored of saying the same things like some tour guides. Tips: Dress for the weather as there is no...More

Thank FrannyGlass1976
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I moved to Missouri a few months ago and my mother flew in to town to visit us. We decided to take her and a few of our friends to the Missouri State Penitentiary. My mother is handicapped and can't do a...More

Thank Bailey W
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Very very very fun very informative tour and very nice people that give it to her very nice place I would recommend taking two or four other people would love to do it again

Thank Paul T
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Questions & Answers
23 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 9 answers
Response from ljh3134 | Reviewed this property |
My husband experiences limited walking abilities and the guide was very conscience to his needs and even made sure to take a folding chair along for him, in case. The longest we had to stand was at the end of the tour when... More
23 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from FrannyGlass1976 | Reviewed this property |
You are sitting or standing and listening to the guide a lot. During the times people can explore if they choose, you may sit. I don't understand the waiver, personally. It's nothing extreme.
9 November 2016|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Sheila S | Property representative |
No, Our Tour Season runs March - November. We close December - February as we have no heat at the facility.