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Old Idaho Penitentiary

2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
208-334-2844
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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
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English first
Layton, Utah
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2014 NEW

This turned out to be a great place to visit. It was really interesting. I was worried about my kids having fun. They are 11 (girl) and 13 (boy). It wasn't a problem at all. It's an open tour where you walk around at your leisure. They also have an amazing gun display that my son particularly liked. The display... More

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Elwood
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2014 NEW

Nice to go through to see where you don't want to be. Take your time and read the info on the people that were there and why.

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Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2014

Go see this place for an interesting history tour. The tour guide was very informative and told some very interesting stories of the prisoners..

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2014

We weren't planning to go to the penitentiary but found ourselves with extra time one afternoon. The penitentiary exceeded our expectations. If you visit it definitely go on a tour with a guide. We learned so much more than we would have on our own about prison life in the early part of the twentieth century. Very worthwhile. Wouldn't have... More

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Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
33 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

What an interesting history of a penitentiary in the "wild west." Be sure you take the guided tour ($5 each), as its worth the extra time and modest expense to hear the details about how Idaho dealt with its criminals. Lack of money and a general attitude of "each to his own" is at its peak here. Fun!

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Utah
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
24 attraction reviews
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

This was a fun tour and worth the money to see. It was a good history lesson on how an old prison functioned and what it took to run a facility to hold prisoners. The living conditions were deplorable! But, it was a prison. The death row section was very interesting and creepy. I would have liked to hear more... More

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Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
20 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014

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

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turlock, california
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
18 attraction reviews
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2014

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

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Cheyenne, Wyoming
Top Contributor
338 reviews 338 reviews
262 attraction reviews
123 helpful votes 123 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014

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

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Nampa, Idaho
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

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.

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