Some furry (and some creepy-crawly) creatures once lived behind Eastern State Penitentiary's walls. Some prisoners kept pets in solitary confinement, and a colony of feral cats occupied the property when the prison was abandoned. Officers once patrolled the grounds on horseback, and kept German Shepherds for security.
Families will discover unique stories about animals all weekend long! Kids will learn more about Eastern State Penitentiary’s most famous four-legged resident, Pep the Dog; participate in an animal-themed activity; and find out how animals continue to play a role in prisons today.
Beginning at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. each day, a representative from New Leash on Life USA, a Pennsylvania prison dog training program, will speak to visitors about his experience training dogs as an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (SCIG), and how it ultimately affected his life and career. This 15-minute presentation will be followed by a brief Q&A and will culminate in a dog training expo. Several dogs, trained by local inmates, will demonstrate for visitors the commands and tricks they have learned through the New Leash on Life USA program. Visitors to the historic site can meet the dogs and, if interested, can adopt any dogs that haven't yet found homes.
Family Weekend activities are included in admission. Tickets are available online or at the door, subject to availability.