Eastern State Penitentiary Kicks Off 2013 - 2014 Winter Adventure Tour Season with Toy Drive for Children with Incarcerated Parents

Visitors donate toys and children's books in exchange for "Buy One, Get One Free" admission to the historic site

Dec 04, 2013, 10:05 ET from Eastern State Penitentiary

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eastern State Penitentiary will celebrate its 2013 - 2014 Winter Adventure Tour season with a special event this December – a toy drive supporting local kids whose parents are in prison.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131204/PH27222 )

December 10 - 15:  Donate a Toy or Children's Book for BOGO Museum Admission

One in 28 American children has a parent behind bars. What are the holidays like for these families?

Eastern State Penitentiary is partnering with Philadelphia FIGHT's Institute for Community Justice to collect gifts for local children with incarcerated parents. From Tuesday, December 10 through Sunday, December 15, any Eastern State visitor who donates a new toy or children's book, in its original packaging (but please no gift wrap), will be granted a second admission free of charge.

Visitors can donate new toys or children's books at Eastern State during public hours, even if they are not planning to take a tour. The BOGO offer ends December 15, but the historic site will keep collecting through January 1.

December 2March 14:  Winter Adventure Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary

Winter Adventure Tours run from December 2, 2013 through March 14, 2014 and allow visitors to explore the cellblocks, center surveillance hub, Al Capone's cell, and more. Admission includes a self-guided audio tour (weather permitting), an hour-long guided tour, Hands-On History interactive experiences, and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at easternstate.org/winter. Tickets are also available at the door, subject to availability.

Guided Tours:

Admission includes an hour-long tour led by an expert Eastern State guide. The tour route changes to accommodate the weather, but may include the cellblocks, center surveillance hub, Al Capone's cell, and Death Row. Tour times are as follows:

Weekdays:      10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
Weekends:      Every hour, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Audio Tour:

The long-abandoned cellblocks come alive with sounds of daily life inside the ancient prison. "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour is narrated by actor Steve Buscemi and features the voices of 28 former officers and inmates. (Weather permitting.)

Hands-On History:

Visitors can unlock one of Eastern State's intricate "escape-proof" cells and learn about escape attempts over the wall with these (and other) short interactive experiences throughout the penitentiary. (Weather permitting.)

Artist Installations:

Admission also includes site-specific installations inspired by Eastern State's history and current issues of crime and justice. Current installations are as follows:

David Adler: Visions of the Free World
Lisa Bateman: Next Year
Greg Cowper: Specimen
Tyler Held: Identity Control
Karen Schmidt: Cozy

About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard tours. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of its convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.

Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students and children ages 7-12. (Not recommended for children under the age of seven.) The penitentiary is open every day, year round from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.) For more information, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit easternstate.org.

About Philadelphia FIGHT's Institute for Community Justice

Philadelphia FIGHT's Institute for Community Justice (ICJ) is a Philadelphia-based initiative committed to community justice: the community-inspired, community-led solutions for healing in a time of mass imprisonment. The Institute for Community Justice was founded to reduce not only the number of people in prison living with HIV, but also the lasting effects of mass imprisonment on communities most affected. ICJ delivers innovative, prevention focused programs that empower, educate and support people affected by the parallel crises of HIV and mass imprisonment with the goals of protecting community health and raising consciousness around issues of social justice. For more information, visit fight.org.

SOURCE Eastern State Penitentiary