Sat, 11 Jun 2011 22:10:15 GMT — The Missouri State Penitentiary is celebrating it's 175th anniversary and there's a weekends worth of fun activities and events for you to enjoy. Saturday visitors got the chance to walk the halls prisoners once filled. The penitentiary opened in 1836, 100 years before Alcatraz and in 2004 it shut its doors. Now visitors from all over want to get a close-up of the famous facility. People of all ages helped celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Missouri State Penitentiary. One woman said it was great to see MSP turn into a place of happiness. "It's kind of eerie in a way, because this is a completely different environment so to see something that was used as a punishment at one time, and the people that were just in here, and then to look and see kids playing, running around, smiling, people laughing, it's a whole different environment," visitor Masonda Wheatley said. Wheatly brought her children Saturday to see where she worked as a corrections officer until it closed. "It's such a big part of Jefferson City history that i thought it was important for them to come and see it," Wheatly said. Visitors experienced what life was like inside the walls of MSP by taking guided tours. Instead of inmates walking the grounds, children made crafts and families played life size games of chess and checkers. "It's really hard to fill up a prison with people but I think we've done a nice job today, Jefferson City Conventions and Visitors Bureau Communications Manager Sarah Alsager said. There have been families that have been coming through all day starting at 10 a.m. and people have had a ton of fun." While the prison closed in 2004, we still managed to find some of MSP's most well known inmates. Actors impersonated inmates like Charles Arthur Floyd and Carl Austin Hall. For 175 years people tried to stay as far away from the penitentiary as they could but now people are paying to get in. The party doesn't end there, Sunday you can have a unique opportunity and go on a 2 hour tour of the penitentiary, and eat lunch in the oldest housing unit at MSP with the tour guides. Later in the night there will be a mystery party with an announcement about a paranormal investigating group that will be coming to investigate the Missouri State Penitentiary. Both the tour and lunch with the tour guides and the mystery party are $20 per person.
KRCG offers coverage of news, sports, weather and local events in the Columbia and Jefferson City, Missouri area, including the communities of New Bloomfield, Shaw, Boonville, Ashland, Hallsville, Sturgeon, Centralia, Mexico, Auxvasse, Fulton, California, Tipton, Eldon, Wardsville, Westphalia and Sedalia, Missouri.