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Old Idaho Penitentiary

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 2445 E Old Penitentiary Rd, Boise, ID 83712-8254
Phone Number:
+1 208-334-2844
12:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 12:00 - 17:00

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 582 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 331
  • 211
    Very good
  • 29
  • 3
  • 0
Well worth the time to visit

I was hesitant at first to take my kids there since they were younger (the youngest being 4 at the time) but it was a great experience for all. It was interesting to see the old... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
Boise, Idaho
via mobile
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582 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 574: English reviews
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

I was hesitant at first to take my kids there since they were younger (the youngest being 4 at the time) but it was a great experience for all. It was interesting to see the old penitentiary and read about the inmates. We could spend hours there just looking at everything. Will definitely go back.

Thank JessHunt16
Layton, Utah
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Our grandson traveled with us to Boise and this is what he wanted to see. Lots of stairs. I waited at the bottom for Grandpa and grandson to check everything out. There was plenty to see with out climbing stairs to see every jail cell. There is also an excellent gun museum on the location - one of the best... More 

Thank melyod
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago

Really interesting to see all the history of this OLD compound. (Plus there is another free military-weapons museum inside the prison.) They could have a better flow through the prison, and more information. But still worth the 10 min drive, and lots of things to do within walking distance of prison too, like: hiking, parks, other museums and art.

Thank csyswerda28
Corona, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a fascinating place to visit. Especially for active boys, teens. They can run all over. The history is fascinating of this old penitentiary.

Thank Jana W
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
104 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

From what I read here, I should have gotten the tour. I intend to go on the tour the next time I go back. The Old Idaho Penitentiary was built in 1870 and operated until its closure in 1973. You have free roaming of the grounds, save for a few selected areas. All of the cell blocks are open except... More 

Thank HeyLookeeHere
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Good look at the past and the legal stories of the Prisoners. Sad to see how prisoners live. Friendly staff. Would have liked to see the Guard and Wardens quarters. Sibera was scary and sad to know they lived in that small cold cell. The story about a prison assisting in designing a building at the prison was pretty interesting.

Thank DerondaC
Sherwood, Oregon
Level Contributor
57 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We were glad we stopped here for a historical tour of this prison. We got there at 3:30pm and it closed at 5pm. We needed more time, more like 2-3 hours. So interesting and creepy at the same time. Throughly intrigued with this spot.

Thank Michelle E
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This was a great way to spend an afternoon while visiting Boise. We were not traveling with children, but this would have been a great place to take the family (older kids as smaller children might find it a bit scary). They have done a wonderful job of preserving the history of the Penitentiary. You really got a feel of... More 

Thank tjammerman
Otis Orchards, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We were so glad we made the stop at Old Idaho Penitentiary on our way through Boise. Such interesting history and lots to see and read about. All of the prisoners stories were intriguing, the weapons display was impressive and the old cells were fun to look at. You can even see the old gallows. My kids range from 3... More 

Thank Chrystal L
Level Contributor
7 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

A neat part of Idaho History hand hewn from the quarries of Table Rock nearby. Just minutes from downtown and other attractions like Table Rock. We go for the winter light shows and the summer attractions.

Thank scott a

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?