We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Old Idaho Penitentiary

2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
208-334-2844
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #4 of 87 Attractions in Boise
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Historic Sites
Owner description: 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... more » Owner description: 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. « less
Write a Review

213 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    124
    78
    10
    1
    0
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
15 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014 NEW

I have never seen a penitentiary, much less an abandoned one that is so old. It was fascinating and creepy for sure. Do watch the short film first. My husband really enjoyed seeing the excellent weapons museum that is within the prison. Don't miss the laundry, or solitary. YIKES! I can't imagine Halloween there, it would be a kick for... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
turlock, california
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
17 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2014 NEW

What a great historic Boise site. For only $4, senior discount of course, I wandered around for almost 2 hours, taking photos and sitting as well, just taking in the feeling of being there!! Lots of information was posted to read, but do make sure to see the video first. It offers a lot of info and history that you... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Top Contributor
285 reviews 285 reviews
219 attraction reviews
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014 NEW

I enjoy visiting historic sites like this, so I stopped by. Admission is reasonable, and there is some good information on what life was like for the prisoners. Some of the buildings are closed to the public, a few of them were destroyed in prison riots. Others are just used for storage. Not too bad a place to visit, but... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Nampa, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014 NEW

Very interesting place to visit. Quite eerie walking around it. A short video showing the history of the penitentiary is given before you venture around the buildings at your own pace.

Was this review helpful? Yes
N. Massapequa
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
6 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014 NEW

We decided not to take the guided tour but overheard one as we were walking and they seemed very knowledgeable. This place was great....it was $5 to get in and you can easily spend hours in there looking and reading all of the information on the walls. I highly recommend going there to spend some time.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Natick,Massachusetts
Top Contributor
161 reviews 161 reviews
18 attraction reviews
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

This is certainly a different kind of tourist stop if you are in Boise! It is about a 10 minute drive from downtown and the admission is reasonable. The place can be pretty grim, but it is somewhat fascinating to see. We did the tour and though it was too long and dry.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Boise, Idaho
Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
37 attraction reviews
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

The penitentiary housed prisoners until the 1960s when a much more secure and modern facility was built outside Boise. We took the guided tour and learned much more than we would have walking around on our own. A weapons museum containing weapons dating back to the Roman era is located at the back of the property. A small transportation museum... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Corvallis, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

My 9 year old and I stopped to tour this fascinating historical spot! It was so fascinating we didnt want to leave! I bought the book about the history and inmates and cant put it down. We are definitely going to go back some day. Sure wish we lived closer would LOVE to go to their halloween party!!! If you... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Boise, Idaho
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Wasn't sure what to expect, but was surprised by the historical aspect of this place. Felt strange in certain areas so maybe a little paranormal stuff going on, but I just may be more aware of this feeling. Loved exploring everything here. A great find and a great place to visit in Boise.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Depoe Bay, Oregon
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

My first full day in Boise and I visit a state treasure. This is some piece of western history. We went to listen to music but were distracted by the architectural history so, that we ended up perusing the entire grounds. $5 well spent, I have to return for photos.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Been to Old Idaho Penitentiary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Old Idaho Penitentiary, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Manage your listing