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Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary

Updated: September 27, 2021
 By Jenn H


Set in the castle-esque structure of the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP), an abandoned prison that believed in consistent isolation of its prisoners, Terror Behind the Walls is one of the scariest haunted houses in the country.

It is scary in its very nature but every Halloween season, ESP steps it up and makes it its mission to terrify you. Things will go bump in the night. In one part, the lights are all off and you must find your way out in total darkness. You may not be alone in the cellblocks. In another you walk through the old prison infirmary. If you're not into the scary, you should still visit the ESP during the day.


Entrance into the attraction is in half hour increments. Arriving before the 30-minute windows on your ticket will result in longer waits so don't get there too early! Once you're turn is up, you will spend around half an hour in Yard Out - the former exercise yard, surrounded by 30 foot high walls. There is no escape (except if you want - at any point you can tell staff/actor and they'll escort you out). After that, the experience of six attractions takes 45 minutes.

There are gift shops, snacks, exhibits and a Monster Mash for afterwards!

If you're driving, park at the Philadelphia Zoo's new garage at 3500 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. There is a Ghost Shuttle Bus that will transport you to the ESP. Allow an additional thirty minutes for this. If you're getting a ride, there is a drop off and pick up zone right in front - but no parking here!


Well... that depends on your family. This event is meant to make you scream - with fog, lights, and people (or rather, people?) jumping out at you. There are FAMILY NIGHTS where children have the option to learn a secret phrase to keep the scary staff at bay - "Monster, be good!"

Every Sunday until 730pm, children 7-12 years old are half price.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 16.56.51 PRICING YOUR VISIT:

Buying online is always the best option - it's less expensive AND the only way to guarantee a spot!

Terror Behind The Walls runs every night except Mondays until November 2, with a special weekend run on November 7 and 8. The price depends on what date you want to scream.

Sundays after 730pm, students with valid ID receive half off admission. Purchase ticket online and show your ID at entrance.

(HINT: Want a discount? Visit any Pennsylvania or New Jersey LUKOIL location for a $5 off coupon.)



About The Author

Jenn H

Jenn is a born Jersey girl that grew up “across the Ben” but has Philly in her heart and history in her blood. She went to Washington & Jefferson College in the Pittsburgh area. Yes her college mascots were two guys in white wigs! Jenn came back to Philly to get her M.A. in Museum Studies. Happily worked at the city history museum but came outside for some fresh air as a tour guide. Jenn has been part of the FTBF team since March 2011.
Updated: September 27th, 2021
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