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“A Country Club You Didn't Want to Join”

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
Ranked #1 of 45 things to do in Yuma
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Only remnants remain of this historic prison built in 1876, where you can see photographs of some of the prisoners who served time here over its 33 years of operation and get a feel for frontier justice.
Ajo, Arizona
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A Country Club You Didn't Want to Join”
Reviewed 25 June 2014

One wonders what people were thinking when they committed a crime in the Arizona Territory when the prison was operating. Though considered modern at the time, being at the Yuma Territorial Prison was no picnic. Unbearably hot and crowded, the place was the home of over 3,000 men and women over its 30+ years in operation. The park, as it stands now, does a good job of interpreting the place, though much of the actual prison has been whittled away by one thing or another over the years. It stands on a promontory overlooking the (remaining) Colorado River, and has a nice (though not particularly compelling) gift shop. There are a number of interpretive signs posted, and a good (air conditioned) museum full of very interesting materials. The most interesting portion of the site is, of course, the old cell block, which is a lot of fun to explore. The dark cell, where prisoners were chained in their underwear for a variety of offense (including failure to bathe) was frightening.

As mentioned earlier, the prison is a shadow of its former self, though still worth an hour or two of your time. The staff is friendly and helpful, and refuge from the intense heat of the summer months can be found in the gift shop and museum. The admission seemed a bit high, but, state parks being where they are on the legislature's list of priorities, is about what we should expect these days, I guess. There are many good photo opportunities, both of the prison itself, and of the surrounding area.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank rainexpert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann-Jeanette M, Public Relations Manager at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Rainexpert...thank you so much for taking the time to visit us...great pix!
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Strathroy
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Nice place but don't drive out of your way”
Reviewed 8 June 2014

Drove to Yuma in March 2014 and did a self-guided tour of the prison. There are interesting exhibits and videos. The prison has been featured in a number of movies. Alot of the prison has been demolished and then rebuilt for tourists. You can only go on in a couple of cells and there is not much in there other than a rusty bunk bed frame. It takes about 1-1.5 hours to do the tour but it could take longer if you read all of the info boards. It was interesting but I wouldn't drive out of my way to visit. We travelled as a couple, but my teenagers would have hated it.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Ray D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann-Jeanette M, Public Relations Manager at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Ray D...we do appreciate you all taking the time to stop in while you were in Yuma! Thank you!!
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Tucson, Arizona
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A must if you have an extra 1 - 2 hours to spare during your Yuma stop/visit.”
Reviewed 7 June 2014

This is a great state park. The exhibits are well put together and there is a ton of fun information about the prison. Touring it and being able to walk into the cells put a completely different perspective on what it took to survive in Yuma back then. We were there during the summer and despite the heat, it was still a great place to visit. It is not huge, so if you can spare 1 - 2 hours, definitely stop by.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Blanca_Henrietta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann-Jeanette M, Public Relations Manager at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Blanca, Thanks for taking the time to visit us, despite the summer heat. Although the weather truly lends itself well in getting a real feel for what it must have been like! Have a great summer and hope to see you back soon!
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Yuma, Arizona
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Good Yuma attraction to visit”
Reviewed 5 June 2014

The park has some pretty views and great places to take pictures. Although a small park that took us about an hour and half to go thru, it was fun. You can go in the prison cells, take goofy pictures, read about notorious yuma prisoners, and learn some historical facts. The only part that was a let down was the gun fight show. It seemed like a last minute event and although the actors said they have been doing this for years, they weren't very good. We would have left sooner but we kept hoping there would be something more. In terms of family friendliness, as long as the children are not reading about the prisoner's crimes, then it would be fun for them. Also, you can go on a hot day because the cells themselves say pretty cool and there is not a lot of walking.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Sasha J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann-Jeanette M, Public Relations Manager at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Sasha...thanks for the visit!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yuma, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
440 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
“Went with a Geocaching group”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Our Geocaching club" S.W.A.G." presented them with a plaque. Nice place to see. Would not recommend staying there.

Cap & Virginia

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Emry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ann-Jeanette M, Public Relations Manager at Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Cap and Virginia...thanks for the visit; the cell block says it misses you...it is whispering..."we want you back"!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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