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Old Idaho Penitentiary

Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
Phone Number: 208-334-2844
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95%
Ranked #5 of 128 things to do in Boise
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Historic sites, Sights & Landmarks
Owner description: In 1872 the Idaho Territorial Prison opened its doors to some of the most desperate and mean...
More attraction details
Attraction details
Type: Historic sites, Sights & Landmarks
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.

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243 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Carnation, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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.

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Boise, Idaho
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 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!!!

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
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.

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 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 

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Green Bay, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

Boise is a nice enough city with several outstanding Basque restaurants but there is not much to do here. While I liked the small cozy character of the state capitol, it didn't quite do it for me. If you are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary, I would recommend the old prison where you can stroll... More 

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Boise, Idaho
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

The old Idaho penitentiary is very picturesque in an eerie sort of way. the rose garden area is beautiful and can actually be booked for weddings. this attraction is right next to the Idaho Botanical gardens so be sure to see it also.

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2015

I've taken a tour of the old Territorial Prison in Yuma Arizona and I would have to say that this one is more impressive. I believe it was still in use in the 1950's, so there is some fairly recent history. Not up to the standards of Alcatraz but still worth seeing.

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Winnemucca, Nevada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2015

We just happened to visit on Halloween so extra special with spooky stories. And do not miss the botanical gardens next door. Wonderful Christmas lights display in December.

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2015

This is my favorite attraction to take out of town guests to, especially in the summer. It's almost all outdoors or in old buildings with no climate control, so dress for the weather. Whether you're there for the history, the hauntings, or just curiosity, you'll be happy you went. There is also an awesome weapons exhibit currently on display showcasing... More 

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San Diego
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2015

I was surprised this is a top attraction for Boise. It's neat for what it is- a really old prison. I think the hike up the hill behind the prison is more interesting than the prison tour, and the hike is free. We didn't have much time to tour around the town, and this was hard to fit in since... More 

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