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Old Idaho Penitentiary

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Address: 2445 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, ID 83712
Phone Number: 208-334-2844
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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

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    Very good
  • 17
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Old Idaho History

It is history that we seldom think about. Very interesting to see the evolution of the penal system. Enjoy as night time event or during the day with a guided tour. For the best... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Sherran G
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375 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

It is history that we seldom think about. Very interesting to see the evolution of the penal system. Enjoy as night time event or during the day with a guided tour. For the best historical visit be sure to do the tour. You will get a picture of "crime and punishment" from the early day of the Idaho Territory until... More 

Helpful?
Thank Sherran G
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

An interesting historical landmark. Really, it must have been a miserable place to have been housed - or to have worked. Take a jacket, it is chilly in the shadows. Wish the book store/gift show was a little better stocked, and a small cafe in the area would be nice.

Helpful?
Thank frosty349
ashton
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

I went here with a group of high school students. The tour guides were excellent. The students were engaged in the entire tour. We enjoyed learning more about the Penitentiary and loved the interesting stories. They have an excellent little museum and the students loved all the guns! It was definitely worth visiting.

Helpful?
Thank sherdaveAshton
Navarre, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

It was fun, and kind of unsettling to hear about both the crimes of the inmates and the way inmates were treated. It was a bit spooky and a fun trip for our family, but probably would not go more than once...once you have seen it you have seen it all....

Helpful?
Thank LJPassaman
Boise, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

after visiting this, you will think twice about committing a crime. Talking scared straight! It's amazing to see how criminal were treated over 100 years ago.

Helpful?
Thank Steve D
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Pretty cool old jail. We had an amazing tour guide, one that had all the kiddos raise their hands over their head and walk to the cells and pretend they were imprisoned there. He had grown up there and knew a lot about the history and specific stories about escapes and prisoners. It was a fun and informative visit.

Helpful?
Thank stephers_1
Twin Falls, Idaho
Level Contributor
50 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I visited with my child and his school. Our tour guide was amazing and also very funny. They do a great job with the kids! There is so much information that is posted that if you don't have a tour guide you will still enjoy it.

Helpful?
Thank Sweetreviews4u
Chicago
Level Contributor
249 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 147 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I love old prisons. Old Idaho Penitentiary isn't quite as fascinating as Alcatraz or Eastern State Penitentiary (in Philadelphia), but it's worth your time. I went on a crazy hot August day and our tour guide did an excellent job taking us through the various buildings. Because of a fire set during a riot in the 1970s, some of the... More 

Helpful?
Thank BowmanInc
Sandwich, Illinois
Level Contributor
68 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2016 via mobile

Wow, this was an amazing piece of history one should not miss in Boise. If you visit in winter, though, make sure you dress very warmly because the cell areas are open with no heating. I was especially fascinated by the reasons individuals were imprisoned here. Also, do not miss the weapons/arms collection building-- extremely well maintained, high quality museum... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank hamildh
Idaho
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2016

On a whim my friend and I stopped in for a tour. I am so glad we did. It was very interesting if not at times creepy. I would be happy to go again with other family or friends. As others have indicated, there is no heating or A/C so dress appropriately.

Helpful?
1 Thank J M

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