Saturday, October 26, 2013

Terror Behind the Walls

Last Fall, I enjoyed an absolutely AMAZING long weekend in Philly. The historical sites, the museums, the Reading Terminal Market, the Philly Cheese Steak, the BYOB restaurants, the out-of-this-world-picture-perfect weather - I loved it all.

The Sunday afternoon found us soaking up the sun and lingering over flights of craft beers at a local, while listening to the cheers of Eagles' fans watching their home opener. I began doing what I always tend to do on road trips -  postponing our departure; trying to pack in just one more activity.
 We made the decision to visit one last site before hitting the road. Don't worry! Mr. Fun was our driver and he was only getting little sips of the delicious seasonal brews. Our choice? Eastern State Penitentiary.

Opened in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary was a product of the Enlightenment. Today it stands in "controlled ruin." Historically, architecturally, socially -  I found it fascinating, and would highly recommend a visit to any Philly visitor. Since time was a bit of an issue, we opted for the self-guided audio tour and one additional interactive tour with a staff member. There are numerous ways to experience ESP, but count on spending two hours minimum.
What I don't think I could recommend, though, is the annual Terror Behind the Walls that ESP puts on each October. I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that I had chills walking around this place on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I know my limits - I could not handle the scarefest of Terror Behind the Walls. But that's not to say that it wouldn't suit the fright needs of others.
I recently came across an NPR piece about this Halloween treat. You can check it out here. ESP also has an excellent website: It is chock-full of historical and research resources, and educational extension activities.

I just read in the Travel section of my newspaper this morning that the new Benjamin Franklin Museum has opened in Philly.  Now there's a place a life-long learner can sink her teeth into. Was Ben not one of modern times' original life-long learners? I believe it's soon time for a return visit to the City of Brotherly Love.

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