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Missouri State Penitentiary

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Address: 115 Lafayette St., Jefferson City, MO 65101
Phone Number: +1 866-998-6998
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Description:

The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) opened in 1836 along the banks of the...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Tour was great!!

We went here for a private tour and we absolutely loved it. The person in charge of the tour was extremely knowledgeable and made our experience wonderful. Definitely a must go... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
Twitchman1
via mobile
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370 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 368: English reviews
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

We went here for a private tour and we absolutely loved it. The person in charge of the tour was extremely knowledgeable and made our experience wonderful. Definitely a must go see. We will go back later for the ghost tour sometime in the near future.

Helpful?
Thank Twitchman1
Saint Peters, Missouri
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This was such a great tour to take and very informative. The tour guide, who was a former guard, made the tour that much better. He was extremely knowledgeable about the penitentiary and you could see his passion as he spoke about the details, past inmates, and the history of the penitentiary in general. I did the 3 hours in-depth... More 

Helpful?
Thank Sarah M
Sheila S, Manager at Missouri State Penitentiary, responded to this review

If you would like to call our office, we can ship items out from the souvenir store. Our office number is 866-998-6998 (Mon-Fri 8-5). More 

Overland Park, KS
Level Contributor
210 reviews
89 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Came to Jefferson City from Kansas City area to spend the w/e and do a couple of tours. This Penitentiary Tour is just wonderful. It was over 2 hours with highlights on several of the buildings, the dungeon and the gas chamber. Our guide Bill was extremely knowledgable with dates and details just rolling off his tongue ... and he... More 

Helpful?
Thank KansasTravelers
Tranby
Level Contributor
93 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I did the 2 hour history tour and found it very cool and interesting. The tour guide was the previous warden of the prison! He had many interesting, funny and also awful stories from his time there. On this tour, you are faced with many uncomfortable truths about the previous and current state of the prison system. You get to... More 

Helpful?
Thank T Alexander L
Overland Park, Kansas
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My husband and I toured M.S.P. last weekend. We did the 3 hour tour. Gary (former prison guard) was our tour guide. He was fantastic! He had awesome stories to tell and was very knowledgeable. He truly loves giving this tour. You get to see quite a bit of the prison and you get a little extra time to roam... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank JBing05
Columbia, Missouri
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We visited the Penitentiary on Veterans' Day. Our Tour guide, Bill, was a prison guard at the prison for 30 years so he had interesting observations and stories during the tour. He was also enthralled with the history of the prison so he was well read on the buildings and the people that were interned there. We did the 2... More 

Helpful?
Thank KittyGattino
Carbondale, Illinois
Level Contributor
139 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

We were looking for something unique to do for Halloween, so we booked a tour here. $25/person wasn't bad at all for a 2-hour ghost tour. The tour guides were very knowledgeable. We were in huge group (40+ people) so that took away from the scare factor quite a bit. That isn't typical though; it was just a busy night... More 

Helpful?
Thank gemini8200
missouri
Level Contributor
60 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 weeks ago

If you have not been on this tour, you are missing out! It is one of the neatest tour's I have ever been on with lots of different area's of the prison to see. Lot's of good stories about what happened there. Good for all ages.

Helpful?
Thank missouritravel5
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 November 2016

I went on the 5 hour tour, It was neat being able to go in all the cells and thinking about the lost souls that lived there. I'm originally from NJ now I live in Jefferson City. I love the history this town has to offer, the Penitentiary is a place that should never go away. We have this gothic... More 

Helpful?
Thank Raymond M
Columbia, Missouri
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2016

I’ve tour the MO State Penitentiary three times and have enjoyed more each time. This is a fascinating walking tour of the history of the prison and the inmates that were housed there. Each tour we’ve taken has had a different guide (all former guards or wardens) and they have shared their own unique stories. You must tour the oldest... More 

Helpful?
Thank voyagermom2

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