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Old Idaho Penitentiary

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Address: 2445 E Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712-8254
Phone Number: 208-334-2844

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 524 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 289
  • 197
    Very good
  • 27
  • 3
  • 0
Educational Experience

You can choose to tour on your own or go with a tour guide! Tour guide is highly recommended . He was very informative and information was interesting .

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
Mission, Texas
via mobile
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524 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 516: English reviews
Mission, Texas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

You can choose to tour on your own or go with a tour guide! Tour guide is highly recommended . He was very informative and information was interesting .

Thank Estella168
Lincoln, California
Level Contributor
91 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Hard to believe the facilities that inmates - both men & women - endured in confinement during the 1800s to mid-19000s. They have an extensive collection of photographs and a well done guided tour. Don't miss the "Rose Garden" and gallows!

Thank Ronald P
Saint Anthony, Idaho
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We arrived there too late to tour the inside but the outside was still very interesting with lots to see.

Thank Idahog7
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
44 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

We visited the gardens next to the prison. Very scenic and well designed. Plenty of walking paths. Halloween is coming so there is a scarecrow walk. A definite must if you love the outdoors and want to be near the city.

Thank wmbarnes189
Lewiston, Idaho
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The staff were quite friendly and informative. I did a self-guided tour of the grounds. There are lots of posters with anecdotes and stories about previous prisoners, tattoos, and death row. It was depressing to see the place where people were hanged and the cells where they spent their final days. I probably won't visit this again, but since I'm... More 

Thank Darliss B
San Bernardino
Level Contributor
160 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We hiked Table Rock Mtn then entered the Prison. The lady at the counter was polite, helpful, and knowledgeable about the old Penitentiary. We enjoyed listening to her. We saw a old film clip of the prison, walked the immediate rooms of memorabilia, then walked the grounds of the prison. It was fun and interesting.

Thank Michael G
Northbrook, Illinois
Level Contributor
171 reviews
66 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We did not intend to stop here. But while driving around Boise, we noticed a sign, followed it and - Voila! - there it was: the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Now, if visiting old prisons is "your thing," then this place should probably be on your "must see" list. But, in my opinion, while it was interesting, the old place reminded... More 

Thank M&ALongGrove
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We were headed next door to the Museum of Mining and geology but I had to pee. So I went to the restroom in the Old Penitentiary... It was empty -- just me, and I swear the place is haunted. I had left my stall and was washing my hands when noises came from another stall that sounded like someone... More 

Thank FrankiandBill
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I am so happy we went to this! Our tour guide was great. I hightly recommend taking the tour instead of just walking through on your own to help understand what happened at this location. The history is amazing.

Thank jessicah0405
Level Contributor
206 reviews
86 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We had some time to kill in our travels, so did a search of the area and found a couple things that peaked our interest. We opted to do the tour of this facility. The history of this penitentiary is amazing. Some of the buildings are still in one piece, but others were destroyed in a prison riot in the... More 

Thank LYNN J

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Logan, Utah
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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?