West Virginia Penitentiary
West Virginia Penitentiary
5
About
Built in 1866 and in operation until 1995, this prison offers 90-minute guided tours of the facility from April 1, through November 30. Day tours, Paranormal events, October's haunted house, Elizabethtown Festival, are just a few of the events that take place at the facility on an annual basis.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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  • Julie R
    1 contribution
    A lot of history locked up inside
    My boyfriend is really into history and he had wanted to see the mound and also check out the architecture of the prison. We did not know they offered tours until we got there. (We are from out of state) We decide to take the tour and really found it to be a lot more interesting and informative than what we expected. Austin was our tour guide and he did a fantastic job of teaching us all about the history of the building, prisoners, and “events” that went on there. He encourages you to take all the pictures and videos that you would like, which was a big plus for me! By the end of the tour Austin even “locked us up” which was cool so you could imagine spending 23 hours in these LITTLE cells! We did not experience any paranormal activity. (I was hoping for something)!! I would recommend this tour and I would go back as a “repeat offender” to explore some more!!
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 7, 2022
  • Lindsay M
    1 contribution
    Fun times at the Penitentiary!
    My boys and I took the 90 minute historical tour this afternoon with Austin. He was very knowledgeable, entertaining and spoke loud enough so everyone could hear him. We loved seeing the inmate art work and getting to learn about some of the more notorious inmates who were once housed there.
    Traveled with family
    Written August 11, 2022
  • Christopher O
    1 contribution
    Great Experience on a Field Trip
    I attended a tour of the penitentiary as a chaperone on a school field trip and our tour guide, Lee, was fantastic at explaining not only the history of the building itself but the experiences of prisoners, guards, and visitors. The tour was very thorough and Lee made each location very interesting and he was able to tailor the information to high school students very well. I'd recommend the tour to anyone who wants a deep dive into the past criminal justice system in West Virginia.
    Written April 29, 2022
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
1,256 reviews
Excellent
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140
Average
38
Poor
13
Terrible
3

melissa
Follansbee, WV1 contribution
Jun 2021 • Family
Lee was our tour guide and hands down this guy was epic! He was very upbeat and the way he presented information brought things to life. He was very polite but also, made sure to use dialogue for the younger kids on the tour. He was amazing and deserves a raise! He’s real and that’s what made us want to recommend everyone to ask for him as their tour guide!
Written June 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Matt M
4 contributions
Oct 2022 • Friends
We went during the Halloween season to the dungeon of horrors. I've been there twice, about 4 years apart. Each time has been different. The dungeon pokes at about every phobia you can have. It is disorienting, full of jump scares, VERY dark, isolating, and a long haunt. If you want to be afraid, you will be.

The size of the facility allows them to do some things I've never seen before in a haunted attraction. My group had people who have high anxiety, claustrophobia, and fear of getting lost. All of these things are tested thoroughly. You'll encounter loud noises, near constant strobe lighting, pitch darkness, small spaces, crazy characters, animatronics (impressive ones), intimidation (you are in a prison, after all), and a few surprises I can't spoil for you. Fantastic experience.
Written October 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lois D
2 contributions
Jun 2021 • Family
There are so many reasons that I love West Virginia, but Moundsville has to be one of the best, most unassuming places for history and culture. I emphatically recommend the WV Penitentiary, especially for those wanting to know a unique and disturbing part of America’s past. The history of the people and building are both informative and outrageous. Our tour guide, Tina, had excellent delivery and her knowledge of the prison was impressive. She was professional, witty, and smart. The tours are affordable and in the summer are offered multiple times on a daily basis. Check out the prison and spend a few days in the Moundsville region. You won’t regret it!
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Momof36890
1 contribution
Jul 2021 • Family
We took a weekend to go to the Moundsville/Wheeling area to explore some history and tourist things they have here. The prison was first on our list. We had our 13, 11, and 6 year old girls with us. We did an escape room they have available at the penitentiary. It was very fun but one of the more difficult ones we’ve done. We took the 10am tour of the prison and since it was July this was wise as most of the building is not heated or cooled. Our tour guide was very informative and my older girls found the information very interesting as did my husband and I. There were lots of things to take pictures of and so many facts. My younger daughter enjoyed exploring a jail and seeing the artwork completed by some of the inmates. She remembers facts as well but enjoyed when they showed us the way the slam bar works by locking us in a cell. This was by choice and very neat. All around great visit!
Written August 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Stephanie M
Wheeling, WV164 contributions
Jun 2022
We greatly enjoyed our day tour of the pen. Lee was fantastic. He delivered information that he has probably said a million times with as much energy & enthusiasm as if it were the first time. His passion for history & giving everyone the best experience that you can squeeze into 90min really shows. My mom used a wheelchair & Lee was very patient & waited if we needed to catch up so we didn’t miss anything. At certain points he gave us all time to explore & take more pics. My strongest recommendation – bring your curiosity & Ask Questions!! There is no possible way for Lee to fit everything he knows about the pen into 90min. Any time I asked him something, that lead to even more detailed information & very interesting stories. Also, the ladies at the front desk were super sweet & had great stories as well!
Written June 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Paula Pindro
Uniontown, PA5 contributions
Apr 2021 • Couples
Went on our 33rd anniversary. Not sure what to expect but let me say we had a great time. The young man who checked us in was soooo friendly and we laughed at how my husband, who is just 6 yrs older than me, is old enough to be his grandpa. Lol. Our tour guide was Lee. If you go, get Lee. He was amazing so fully of knowledge of not only history of the prison and the inmates but funny Lil stories. We had a small group of 8 which was perfect! Lee spoke clearly and loudly that you don’t have to worry about any mumbling. The tour was 90 min long and wasn’t a hard walk. A nice slow tour. A few outdoor steps were involved. If your really into the history come early and check out the museum. Nice lil pieces of history are in it. They have pretty nice gift shop. Nothing fancy but the prices were pretty good. Hint hint. Walked out with a bag full lol. Was given time to roam around certain areas on the tour. Never felt rushed. Lee answered all questions that we asked and we all felt relaxed around him. When the tour was over, we were walking towards the door and the young man (21) was handing me a bag and said from them to us for our anniversary. It was a beautiful set of wine glasses!! I wanted to cry. We had such a perfect day from start to finish that I see us returning again. Especially at Halloween!!
Written April 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Adena B
Ripley, WV78 contributions
Jul 2021
This was one of the best tours I've ever experienced! Our tour guide Becky was extremely knowledgeable and has a passion for preserving the prison's history. The tours are supposed to be only 90 minutes but Becky held our entire group's rapt attention for over 2 hours. She answered all of our questions and kept both the adults and kids on the trip enthralled.

I hope to bring my students back for a tour since I'm a WV History Teacher. You better believe I will be requesting that Becky gives our tour!

Thank you to everyone at the pentientary for the great experience! We will be back!
Written July 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Daniel E
4 contributions
Jul 2022 • Family
I brought a group of my high school History students here on 7/01/22. It did not disappoint. We loved our tour guide Lee. He was full of knowledge and imparted it in an easy manner, sprinkling in humor here and there where appropriate. But honestly, the whole building and its history is so very fascinating. I plan to come back to take some additional tours. I live 3-1/2 hours away, but it was worth the trip. We had no sooner entered the building and observed Old Sparky when a bolt of lightning from a storm struck outside with a huge flash and thunderclap. That set the tone for our tour. 😁
Written July 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MaddyLynn
Canton, OH16 contributions
Sep 2022
We had a fantastic tour! Interesting place loaded with history. Make sure you take the time to read the articles and see the artifacts at the museum section when you first walk in before the tour. Things we saw there were mentioned during the tour. Wonderful tour guide and very informational. Dress for weather- the place is not heated or cooled. Perfect for Fall! Lots of great photo ops.
Written September 26, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Patricia M
3 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
Omg!!! It was a fascinating place! Our tour guide, Lee, was incredibly knowledgeable and gave a wonderful description of what life was like on the inside. My granddaughter and I did the tour in August 2022 and would love to bring my husband sometime. I would highly recommend visiting the penitentiary!!
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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West Virginia Penitentiary (Moundsville) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about West Virginia Penitentiary