Visitors Attempt Their Own "Prison Break" as Part of Eastern State Penitentiary's Prison Break Weekend

Jun 09, 2011, 10:00 ET from Eastern State Penitentiary

PHILADELPHIA, June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Eastern State Penitentiary will host Prison Break Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The event, designed to commemorate some of the most famous prison breaks in history, will feature interactive and educational family-friendly activities all weekend. Visitors can climb an inflatable rock wall comparable in size to the prison's 30-foot stone walls; hone their escape skills by crawling through a tunnel designed to simulate the famous 1945 escape from Eastern State; or vote on which inmate is telling the truth in the Sutton vs. Klinedinst Living History Debate, based on actual conflicting accounts.

As part of Prison Break Weekend, two actors - one portraying inmate Clarence Klinedinst and one portraying bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton - will debate their conflicting accounts of who designed the escape tunnel, how it was built, and why the escapees got caught. Attendees will vote on who they think is telling the truth. The winner will be announced Monday, June 13 at The debate will take place each hour from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The weekend event will feature other kid-friendly activities, including a rock wall, crawl-through escape tunnel, scavenger hunt, memory game, and crafts, all based on the 100 escape attempts throughout Eastern State's 142-year history.

All Prison Break Weekend events are included in admission. Regular daytime programming, including "The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, Hands-On History interactives, history exhibits, and artist installations, is also available and included in admission.

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. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students and children (ages 7-12). The penitentiary is open every day, year round. For more information and schedules, please call (215) 236-3300 or visit

SOURCE Eastern State Penitentiary