Ephrata Cloister
Speciality Museums • Historic Sites
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10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
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About
One of America's earliest religious communities, the Historic Ephrata Cloister was founded in 1732 by German settlers seeking spiritual goals rather than earthly rewards. Gathered in unique European style buildings, the community consisted of celibate Brothers and Sisters, and a married congregation of families.At the zenith of the community in the 1740s and 1750s, about 300 members worked and worshiped at the Cloister. This National Historic Landmark is open for Self-Guided Tours on Wednesday afternoons and Guided Tours Thursday through Sunday.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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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
366 reviews
Excellent
245
Very good
99
Average
17
Poor
4
Terrible
1

Kate Illinois1
Illinois4,191 contributions
Sep 2022
Our tour started with a short film to give the viewer background on Beissel and devotees spiritual life and preparing the the Second Coming. By 1750, there were 80 celibate brothers and sisters residing here. The buildings are in a triangular formation with Beissel's house positioned with clear view of the brother's house, sister's houses and Mount Zion building. The guided tour allows you to entrance to Sister's house and meeting house. Our male guide was very good at bringing you back to the 1700s to vision life then. You may also do a self guided tour- each building has a code to scan and listen to audio tour. Restrooms at visitor's center. Ample parking and room for RVs.
Written October 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mama Travels
116 contributions
Sep 2022
When you walk through the gates, it feels like you've been transported back in time. Everything is rustic because everything except the visitor's center is original. You will witness German ingenuity in their architecture and you will see what it's like to live according to the severe rules Conrad Beissel had worked out for his followers. It is a testament that America was truly a place where people exercised religious freedom. The Brethren was also credited for copying and illuminating manuscripts, printing books, and composition of original hymns with at least three women credited as their first documented women composers. It is a peaceful walk along its grounds but make sure you have a tour guide to help explain the little details and share anecdotes that make a place truly come alive.
Written September 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John K
Lebanon, PA401 contributions
Jul 2022
We have wanted to visit the Cloister for a while to learn more about the history behind it, and even though it took a few years to get around to it, I'm so glad we finally got there. With the price of admission, one could be part of a tour group with a guide who knows a great deal about the history of the area and those who lived there.
The tour lasted all of an hour, and then you can roam the complex to visit the other buildings and learn more with a self-guided audio on your phone! You can take as little or long as you want. There's so much I'd love to tell about the place, but I want to leave it for you travelers.
Before leaving, you could visit the gift shop, which offers items I didn't expect to be interested in. I was surprised when we walked out with a handful of stuff!. Lots of great choices.
Written July 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for visiting! Ephrata Cloister is so beautiful in the summer months, we're glad you enjoyed the time you spent with us.
Written July 19, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dave C
Alexandria, VA1,486 contributions
Jul 2022
Very peaceful site; it may give you a better experience to read up on it first so you can understand the context. We did the self-guided tour, and probably missed some context. Gift shop is OK, admission is reasonable.
Written July 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sandie E
New Freedom, PA12 contributions
May 2022
We were there on a Thursday in May - a beautiful day. We could only walk around the grounds on our own which would have been fine, but most of the buildings were locked. Yet we had to pay the full price to get in. Very disappointing.
Written May 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Sadly due to staffing shortages, we were still closed on Thursdays in May. Be sure to visit our website for exact hours and times.
Written July 19, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kari F
23 contributions
Oct 2021
Very interesting museum concerning a religious sect, I believe prior to the Amish and Mennonites. Very knowledgable staff. Great upkeep on original 1700s buildings. There is some walking, but not as much as it appears on the internet. My only regret is that the smaller buildings were limited in what could be seen and entered, but there were windows from which you could view the contents.
Written October 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lois L
Phila., PA17 contributions
Sep 2021
We visited the Cloisters and looked at the buildings which were interesting and then we took a guilded tour with Sue, and she really brought everything to life!!What a fascinating history!! And what a successful effort by the folks who reclaimed and are maintaining this area. The town of Ephrata is worth exploring too!!
Written September 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Betty D
Austin, Texas, United States27 contributions
Aug 2021
Still surviving after all this time. Buildings from this 1700's settlement still remain in nearly perfect condition for a casual stroll through and a tour. At the Visitor's Center you will watch a short film explaining the beginnings of this settlement and its history. You will be taken by a tour guide through the extensive houses and buildings on this lovely acreage.
Written August 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ruth A
38 contributions
Aug 2021 • Couples
Nice. Interesting. Wish we could have toured on our own but not an option. Choose not to pay for tour. Lots to see. Pretty area. Lots of parking. Gift shop available.
Written August 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom and Heather
Swedesboro, NJ840 contributions
Jun 2021 • Couples
We had visited many years ago and I have been wanting to return since. I am fascinated with the history of this place and looked forward to coming back and learning more. The admission is $8.00 for each adult. They do have a guided tour, however, I opted for self guided due to my limited mobility.

After we paid admission I recall reading there was an orientation video, however, it was not offered to us. In fact when I asked about it, the person who gave us our tickets, hesitated and said, “he may be able to fit us in between tours”. I was a little put off, we paid admission, I just couldn’t keep up with a tour. Anyway…we saw the video. It really does give you all if the important points and people of the place.

After the video, we made our way around the small museum. It basically recounted everything from the video with some artifacts. I was hoping for more. What was there was well interpreted.

Then it was on to the buildings outside. If you do not do the guided tour you are not allowed in the two large buildings. However, there were a handful of other smaller buildings with interpretation. It is a beautiful property and it was a nice couple of ours at the location. One thing to point out, this is only a sampling of buildings that were there.

We finished our day in the gift shop which is always my favorite way to end a visit. The gift shop had a lot of local goods including Sallyander soap. I was able to navigate most parts of the shop with my walker.
Written June 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Ephrata Cloister - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Ephrata Cloister

Ephrata Cloister is open:
  • Sun - Sun 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Wed - Wed 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Thu - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM