Eastern State Penitentiary's Prison Break Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10

May 24, 2012, 10:46 ET from Eastern State Penitentiary

PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Eastern State Penitentiary will host a Prison Break Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last entry 4:00 p.m.). The event, designed to commemorate some of the most infamous prison breaks in American history, will feature interactive and family-friendly activities all weekend long.  Visitors can try their hand at Bocce Ball, a means of escape for inmates in the 20th century, or decide which inmate is truly responsible for Eastern State's 1945 tunnel escape.

Most inmates didn't literally escape from prison; they found meaning, friendship and recreation, when possible, inside the walls. This weekend, visitors can try their hand at Bocce Ball, a traditional Italian recreation practiced by aging inmates at Eastern State throughout the 20th century. The original courts were built at the base of Eastern State's massive wall and will open, fully restored, for the first time this weekend. Prizes awarded all weekend for best players!  Bocce Ball will remain part of the Hands-On History program throughout the 2012 season.

Also during Prison Break Weekend, two actors—one portraying tunnel mastermind Clarence Klinedinst and one portraying bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton—will give their conflicting accounts of who designed the 1945 tunnel, how it was built, and why the escapees got caught. Visitors can vote on which inmate is telling the truth. The debate will take place throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, and the winner will be announced on easternstate.org Monday, June 11.

All Prison Break Weekend events are included in standard admission. Regular daytime programs, including "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, guided Hands-On History tours, history exhibits, and artist installations, are also included in admission. Tickets are available online at easternstate.org/tickets. Tickets are also available at the door, subject to availability.

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 towers. 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 convicts. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and Al Capone.

Tours today include the cellblocks, solitary punishment cells, Al Capone's Cell, and Death Row. A critically acclaimed series of artist installations is free with admission. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is located at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 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 April 1 to November 30, admission includes "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. For more information and schedules, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit www.easternstate.org.

SOURCE Eastern State Penitentiary