Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum

Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum, Council Bluffs: Hours, Address, Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum

Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum
4.5
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
134 reviews
Excellent
71
Very good
39
Average
18
Poor
4
Terrible
2

Pam W
Wichita, KS73 contributions
What a great tour. It is so unusual and interesting. Be sure to book on line early as they only let a couple of people in per hour. It was so cool. I had seen it on Ghost Adventures and was very glad I searched it out to visit. Don't miss this!
Written October 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LilyPad123456
Des Moine ,Iowa1 contribution
I totally enjoyed my visit to Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail. When you walk in a strange feeling overcomes you and its pretty scary. You walk around the old jail and hear of the strange tales of jailers and ghost stories. On the walls are prisoners messages and writings. It really,truly felt as if the place was haunted!! I recommend this attraction to people who enjoyed getting scared and hearing intresting tales and artifacts.
Written March 11, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Beth K
Shawnee, KS1,613 contributions
Couples
We love jails and history, so this was a win for us. The "squirrel cage" design is so unique and the four story type you won't find anywhere else. The cost for a tour is $7 ($6 for AAA members) and really worth it. It is self-guided, but the volunteer gave us a few pages of info about each area that was helpful.

Be sure to notice the "solitary confinement" area when you pay your admittance fee. It is only large enough for a person to STAND in. Ask about the history and the last person who was imprisoned in the solitary confinement area - he is still alive and serving time in the penitentiary.

There are four levels of things to explore and be sure to take a photo with the boards in the first floor. The boards look like the real ones used in mug shots and have the prison name on it. Fun souvenir!

Other floors include the infirmary, the trustee's apartment, and the top floor contains the full-sized apartment of the head jailer and his family. Be sure to look in the closet as you enter that room so you can see the gears that turned the "squirrel cage".

There is one cell that has photos and a pinboard of all of the paranormal groups who have investigated the jail. One of the pictures is especially fascinating! It shows a dark entity with a badge and stripes on the arm - much like a jailer would have had.

Very enjoyable and loaded with plenty of historical items found in the hail.
Written July 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sandy O
Sauk City, WI1,024 contributions
Friends
The Squirrel Cage Jail is different than any I have ever been to. It's unique construction that spins cage to allow only one cell to be opened at a time makes it unusual. Although it is not currently working, you can see the gears that are in the walls and look up and down in one section . It was built in 1885 and functioned as a county jail until 1969, and is the only 3 story jail of its kind ever built. Take the time to check out the finer details like the graffiti in some of the cells you are allowed in. Read the articles on the walls about those who spent time here. There is a nice little gift shop here also. At the time we visited (2019) it was a reasonable $7 for adults and $5 for kids.
Written May 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Spikedidi
Miami, FL437 contributions
Solo
Wow! I was kind of scared when I went it but later on I saw everything and how well done this jail was and the history behind it. They have some original items and its so interesting to see all this and how it was back in the day! Very nice to come and visit all 4 floors! Yes 4! It is the biggest one from other 2 which the nice lady told me about and I forgot but this is the biggest one by far. Very interesting mechanism to rotate the jail cells around.
Written December 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hardtkea
De Pere, WI70 contributions
Family
Went here with the family with two teenagers. Very interesting building! Amazing that it is still around. We were able to explore the building that we found interesting and little scary when look at the size of the cells.
Written July 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ALG1603
231 contributions
Family
So cooooool! Admission is a steal - $7 for adult, $5 for 12 and under. You get an info packet to take with you on the tour to read about the various areas - make sure you get one because it's great and explains the things you are seeing! There are 4 floors to explore, each is intriguing. Took us about an hour to wander through because we took our time reading the displays on the walls. We parked in the metered parking on the street. Super friendly gal running the "booking" area. Loved this place.
Written June 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bill G
Belleview, FL213 contributions
Family
This stately old mansion is located in the heart of Old Council Bluffs that has completely changed since I was last here 45 years ago but worth Stopping and taking a tour .......
Written August 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AmyJo073
Woodstock, MN65 contributions
Couples
This was a very interesting little museum. I am so glad they didn't tear it down to make a parking lot like the lady working told us they were thinking of doing when it closed. The cost was quite reasonable - I don't remember exactly what we paid. The lady working took us on a short tour, told us some interesting stories and history of the jail. Then we were given a printed history and allowed to roam on our own. Would highly recommend to anyone in the area!
Written November 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

AdrienneM61
Wichita, KS214 contributions
Family
This museum is really intriguing - my husband is a maximum security prison Lieutenant, so we always make a point to find these types of places on our travels.

There is plenty of history and information on this old prison - but the two ladies who were working today, they made it over the top. It was so fun learning from them, they are super friendly, knowledgeable and never make you feel like you are burdening them with questions - in fact, they were eager to engage with their guests and conversation flowed easily. They are the perfect addition to this museum.

I think my favorite part was going through the register book, and seeing all the "reasons for incarceration" - there were some funny/odd ones!

You can tell, that in the 1890's, the goal of the prision/jail system was not a cushy, country club stay - but a real deterrent to ever return. If you don't believe me, ask the ladies about "solitary" - you'll be awe struck!

We spent about an hour or so, and we paid $7/adult, $5/child (6+). We felt it was $19 well spent and right up our "alley" of interests. Thank you ladies for an enjoyable time!

Written October 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum

Pottawattamie County Squirrel Cage Jail and Museum is open:
  • Thu - Sat 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM


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