Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much of the prison do you get to see on the self-guided tour?                                     

A: You get to see about 85% of the facility. The tour route is about 1.2 miles long and takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete. Please take into account that the facility undergoes restoration and maintenance on a regular basis. Some parts of the tour route might be closed due to these factors.


Q: Can my son and/or daughter come with me on a Ghost Hunt if they are under the age of 18?                                                                                                                                              

A: Unfortunately we do not permit minors in the facility for ghost hunts under the age of 18; even with a parent or guardian. They only time we permit minors in the facility for ghost events is during our regularly scheduled ghost walks in the summer time. Ghost walk participants must be over the age of 13 to participate and a parent or guardian must be present.


Q: The weather is bad. Is the Reformatory still open?                                                                 

A: In instances of severe weather, we will close at the discretion of the executive director. All closures will be announced by 10:00 am on Facebook and on the website. 


Q: Do you still do tours when it is raining?                                                                        

A: Yes. Some areas may not be available for safety.


Q: Do you have a roof? 

A: Yes.


Q: Are the tours guided? 

A: Guided Tours are provided on Sundays, on select Saturdays as available, and by scheduling a group tour of 20 or more during the week. Other tour options include a self-guided tour and audio wand option.


Q: Do you take credit cards? 

A: Yes, we accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover. 


Q: Are there a lot of stairs on the tour? 

A: Yes. On the Self-guided route, patrons can walk at their own pace and rest when needed. We also have the "Cell Bock Tour" for guests who can not walk the stairs. This tour includes Cellblocks, Solitary Confinement, Bullpen, Mini Bullpen, and Central Guard Room. Arrangements must be made in advance for this tour by calling 419.522.2644.


Q: Are all the tours handicap accessible? 

A: No. There are several flights of stairs on the tour routes. Please call the office to schedule a special tour of the ground level, which included the Cellblocks, Solitary Confinement, Bullpen, Mini Bullpen, and Central Guard Room.


Q: Can you take pictures or video?  

A: Snapshots can be taken during your tour. No photographs may be used for personal profit. Photographs of the working correctional facility directly behind the Ohio State Reformatory are STRICTLY PROHIBITED! Tripods, monopods, lighting equipment, and models are considered a "Photo tour" and will yield an additional fee. 


Q: Are there still inmates incarcerated there?  

A: No.


Q: Are kids allowed on the tour?

A:  The tours are not recommended for children under 7 years old or for pregnant women due to the amounts of lead-based paint in the building. You are still welcome to bring these guests but it is at your own risk.


Q: Do I have to make a reservation or call ahead for tickets to the daytime historic tours? 

A: No pre-sale tickets or reservations necessary.  The self-guided tours NEVER sell out.


Q: If your tours have concluded for the season, can you still come out and walk around the prison?

A: No. The Reformatory is located on a gated property. If you are visiting during the off-season, please feel free drive the Shawshank Trail and visit the other thirteen sites associated with the movie. 


Q: Is your museum store open year-round?  

A: Our museum store is only open in conjunction with our tours of the prison We do however have an online museum store which allows you to buy our merchandise any time of the year! Click here to shop.


Q: Do you have any records of previous inmates incarcerated within the building?               

A: Unfortunately we do not have any previous inmate records as the State of Ohio reserves this information within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. You can contact the Old Offender Records Office at (614) 752-1076 to find out information about a previous inmate. 


Q: How do I become a volunteer?

A: All new volunteers must participate in the new volunteer meeting at the beginning of each year. We require one year of probationary period for our new volunteers and you are required to fulfill at least 25 hours within that year. Please email if you are interested in future volunteer opportunities.



Walk the same halls as history's most infamous prisoners. Immerse yourself into the foundation that formed The Shawshank Redemption. Whether you're hunting for the paranormal or simply looking to tour the beautiful architecture, you can find it here at The Ohio State Reformatory.