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Old Idaho Penitentiary

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Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
Phone Number: 208-334-2844
Website
Description: In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most...
In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most desperate and mean criminals the West could offer. In 1973 the Idaho State Penitentiary closed to inmates. Now our doors are open for visitors to explore over 100 years of Idaho's unique prison history. Open year-round, visitors of the Old Idaho Penitentiary can walk through solitary confinement, cell blocks, and the gallows. Visit today and relive the Old Pen's exciting past of daring escapes, scandals, and executions. Call for more details about special events, educational programs and guided tours.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 249 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 144
    Excellent
  • 93
    Very good
  • 11
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
A Must See!

Definitely visit this! Such an interesting place. My sisters, mom, me and our five kids ages 5-12 all loved it. (They said parental guidance is suggested, but nothing was said or... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 28, 2015
SARAH A
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249 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

Definitely visit this! Such an interesting place. My sisters, mom, me and our five kids ages 5-12 all loved it. (They said parental guidance is suggested, but nothing was said or shown that I thought was super offensive.) Do the guided tour so you can hear all the cool stories. Really fascinating!

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pocatello, Idaho
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
17 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

We had a fabulous time at the prison. It was a self guided tour and it was a blast. The night before we went we just happen to see a program about how the prison is haunted so it made it more fun. Its probably silly to say a prison was a good time, but it was also somberly and... More 

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Wrightwood, California
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
19 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015 NEW

Goodness….would not have wanted to spend time here in its hey day! Grim and macabre and fascinating ! Some good stories in abundance of the men and women who took up residence here. It's a compelling trip into the history of the area and of the penal system of the past. Great tour of the buildings, the living conditions of... More 

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015

This is right out of the 19th century. Excellent history and the city is using this place for tours and as a backdrop to the Idaho Botanical gardens. Plus it is the start point for excellent hiking up into the hills. Definitely worth a visit and a day out.

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Ogden, Utah
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2015

We went on the tour. The guide was a little monotone and hard to understand. His speech was not clear. And, he didn't ask for any audience participation. It was a poor presentation. The words and stories he shared were great, but presentation was lacking. The buildings are neat to visit, but there aren't really a lot of signs or... More 

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Martinsville
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2015

This prison visit was the highlight of my time in Idaho. I was sightseeing while my husband was on business. I did my own tour and looked in every nook and cranny. It really was an eye opener, and quite creepy at times. I enjoyed the beauty of the terrain while looking into the past.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
Carnation, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2015

My grandfather was the warden at the old pen in the 30's so love visiting there. Especially with all the history involved. Well done.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Boise, Idaho
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2015

Fascinating self guided tour. When you understand it was a functioning prison until the mid 70s, the buildings, cells, etc. become even more interesting. There is a separate building for the women and you should make sure you read the information about the inmates, both male and female. Great stuff!!!

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Boise, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

Visitors of all ages will enjoy the history and stories behind the Old Pen. If you have a tour guide, they'll make it come alive.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Boise, Idaho
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

I am a history buff so I was happy to go check it out. There was a video at the beginning to tell you about the prison and it's history, and then you go on a self guided tour of the grounds. Even our 6 year old thought it was interesting. I can only give it a 4 stars out... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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