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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 263 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 153
    Excellent
  • 98
    Very good
  • 11
    Average
  • 1
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Definitely worth visiting! Don't miss it!

We expected this place to be neat, but it was so much better than we expected! It's definitely worth the admission price. Our son is 4 years old and we were a bit worried when we... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 22, 2015
jwestst2721
,
Loma Linda, California
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263 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Loma Linda, California
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

We expected this place to be neat, but it was so much better than we expected! It's definitely worth the admission price. Our son is 4 years old and we were a bit worried when we saw that it was recommended for older children due to the different things that would be seen inside. However, we didn't notice a thing... More 

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Salt Lake City, Utah
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2015 NEW

This place is so big and has so much history. There is really cool information located all over the prison. I personally found 'Siberia' (essentially 'the hole') incredibly depressing and interesting. They have an inmate tattoo section that delves in to the tattoo culture, and handmade inmate weapons on display. This was a really cool place to visit and I... More 

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Boise, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015 NEW

A visit to the Idaho Penitentiary is similar to a visit to Alcatraz but on a smaller scale. No, I hadn't heard about any of their inmates but was surprised at the similarity of problems with inmates and security. The tour I had was probably a bit too much in facts about the prison and prisoners but you do go... More 

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Ferndale, Washington
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2015

Amazing. .....the young teenage men....ruining their lives way back when and its ongoing today.Nothing changes.The prisoners today have it made compared to the old days.Totally worth the visit and glad to see its being kept for history's sake.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Corvallis, Oregon
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2015

This place is just wow! So super creepy and intrsting. My wife and I could not get enough of that creepy courtyard plus the all of weapons used to shank people.

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BEAVERTON
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
25 attraction reviews
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2015

My wife and I and our granddaughter recently visited and it is an extraordinary place. The decommissioned prison has building dating from the earliest period in the late 1800s to the 1950s. Conditions gradually improved over time but it was never a place you would want to be. The cells were dark and stark with no chance for privacy. The... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Massachusetts
Top Contributor
453 reviews 453 reviews
135 attraction reviews
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2015

Allow a few hours to go through all the buildings, and be sure to see the movie with the overview. Signage in most of the buildings provides a lot of the history. Fascinating visit

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UT
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
14 attraction reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2015

Brought my family here recently during our spring break to Boise, Idaho. I enjoy historical sites, and this location was definitely interesting. We opted not to do the guided tour, but rather take our time going through each building on the grounds. If you enjoy photography, this is a great location to shoot. We spent at least 2+ hours here... More 

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Boise, Idaho
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2015

If you like history, and guns and such, you don't want to miss this.It has a gun collection that makes all gun junkies drool. Plus the history of the building of the prison is very , very interesting.

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Corvallis, Oregon
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015

We had an afternoon to kill and stumbled across the Old Idaho Penitentiary. The tour can be on your own or guided. Either way, it is very informative as there is plenty of signage to explain each area. Our group consisted of four adults and one teenage boy and everyone enjoyed the visit. We spent a couple of hours there.... More 

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