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Old Idaho Penitentiary

2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
208-334-2844
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Ranked #5 of 86 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
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190 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
USA
Top Contributor
321 reviews 321 reviews
101 attraction reviews
162 helpful votes 162 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

Take the tour, very informative. Tour was given by a former guard. This is very historical. If you are interested in law, crime & punishment, and sociology or psychology this is a place for you to see and learn. Military discounts offered. Compliments trips to Alcatraz and Eastern State Penitentiary. Lots of nostalgia.

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ATLANTIC BEACH
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
16 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014 NEW

Very interesting. Cant believe it only closed in 1974. The free tour is great and the weapons museum absolutely amazing.

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Bern, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014 NEW

Call ahead and see if there are any tours available. The tour is free (entry is $5) and I highly recommend it since you'll get so much more out of it rather than just walking around on your own. Our tour guide was Shawn, a very informative and knowledgeable guy. He knew pretty much everything about this old prison and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
19 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2014

The Boise State Penitentiary was very informational and entertaining for boys aged 11-14.Exhibts are well done and you can learn a ton about what life was like in prison. We were all amazed at the rose gardens. Added surprise was the exhibit on historic arms and military memorabilia. My boys are obsessed with world war II and they loved seeing... More

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Beaverton, Oregon
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

This really gives you a good idea of what prison life was like including solitary confinement, and an execution room.

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Everett, Washington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2014

I actually visited a couple of times. Enjoyed it and learned some thing mere each time. Don't miss the the little museum's on the grounds. One on armaments the other on rocks etc. Also close by is the gardens even of season it was lovely.

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Tucson, Arizona
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
42 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

This is an interesting - and somewhat depressing - piece of history. You can wander the grounds or go on a guided tour. Our guide had trouble keeping dates straight, which made it a bit hard to follow her stories. She had some good information, but couldn't keep a timeline straight. There is an exhibit about tattoos and another one... More

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Boise, Idaho
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

This is a great place to visit if you are interested in the history of the Old West. Since this was one of the first penitentiaries in the west, there have been a lot of "bad guys" who have called these prison walls home . Wander around by yourself or take a guided tour to hear all the stories. If... More

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Katy, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Walking through this penitentiary was very interesting and very educational . A few things were just a little creepy but in all very satified with our experiance.

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Saint Maries, Idaho
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

Free for Military! Also had access to two museums during our time and the womens ward of the prison. Some were imprisoned for no other reason that writing bad checks. My husband and I spent an afternoon at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. It was interesting to see the suffering and sadness that people must have felt. The only thing more... More

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