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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 71 Attractions 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...
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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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232 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Twin Falls, Idaho
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2015

Even though I'm a life-long Idahoan, I had never toured the Old Idaho Penitentiary. It was well worth the time and effort to see and learn about this little gem of Idaho history. The staff were wonderful and helpful to answer our questions.

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Oregon
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2015

We took our kids and nieces to check out some of Idaho's history. It was pretty fun. The kids were excited because the Penitentiary was featured on Ghost Adventures. So they were convinced there were ghosts around every corner. The place is well preserved, and fun to walk around.

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US
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
27 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2015

Wonderful history and grounds. Over 100 years of history to take in on display. Another don't miss if your in the Boise area!

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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2015

Interesting and well preserved old prison. Lots of historical facts. There is a military museum attached as well.

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Fullerton, California
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2014

We took the guided tour. It was very informative with many historical facts and anecdotes. The tour progressed from the older cell blocks and an open area where hangings were conducted to the newer cell blocks finishing at the gallows in the newest building. These gallows were used only once. There was a cold wind blowing on the day we... More 

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Meridian, Idaho
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2014

Great guides! Lots to see. Super military museum included on the tour. It was very hot when we went. Bring water

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2014

Pretty interesting and worth a visit if you have time to explore. Said to be haunted it is a bit creepy.

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california
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
3 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2014

Its interesting to learn the history of this penitentiary and learn about the people who committed crimes that today get you a slap on the hand, serving 5 years for writing a bad check, serving time next to a murderer, the harsh conditions, history of famous Idaho criminals, nothing is here is like the resorts that criminals live in today.

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Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2014

It is sort of scary to see how prisoners used to live: tiny hard cots, slop buckets in the corner, and no libraries, carpets, recreation facilities or other amenities. And they worked milking cows in the huge stone barns, tending the vast grounds, manufacturing various products. The entire story is revealed and preserved at this unique site. Near Halloween the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2014

Would give it a 5 but management of the Idaho historical society should employ people who care about customer service. Not just locking up up right at 5 pm.

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