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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 595 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 338
  • 216
    Very good
  • 30
  • 3
  • 0
A historical place in Idaho

I think everyone who visits Boise should spend 2-3 hours here if you want to educate yourself about Penitentiary as a whole. There is a $6 dollars entrance fee. It's worth it... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
Portland, Oregon
via mobile
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595 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 587: English reviews
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
154 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

I think everyone who visits Boise should spend 2-3 hours here if you want to educate yourself about Penitentiary as a whole. There is a $6 dollars entrance fee. It's worth it. You get to see a great history in Idaho. If you have watched "Shawshank Redemption" movie, it feels like it was filmed here and everything shown in the... More 

Thank btreid
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

What a great tour! We went at night, but would love to go during the day.... allot to see. Or guide was full of information..... allot of history.

Thank Donna L
Notus, United States
Level Contributor
7 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

The overall tour is good and its fun for kids to roam around the jails. Also I want to point out that as you go to the old penitentiary at the sign in the middle of the road you can take a left and hike Table Rock in an hour to 1.5hrs and get some great exercise in and a... More 

Thank James C
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This place a really interesting place to visit. And to show kids its no fun and games to be in prison. The history you can feel when walking thru the walls. It kinda speaks to you. The guide we had was the best. His dad was a guard when the prison was active and he lived in the prison. He... More 

Thank Veronica J
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
114 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Spent quite a few hours walking the grounds and reading about the history of the prisoners, guards, warden and the prison. Good way to spend a sunny day in April and what it was like to be locked up and work in this facility.

Thank Deby R
Salado, Texas
Level Contributor
47 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Weapons display was closed due to lack of volunteers, and I wish we would have been able to see it. Scary place for those who had been incarcerated here. Good historical perspecive.

Thank Carol S
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We were there in the rain. It put a different vibe on visiting a prison. Neat old structure. Near the Botanical Gardens, so we hit both spots.

Thank Stefani1220
Pullman, Washington
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This was an extraordinarily eye opening experience for my fourth grader--to see that a black man awarded a purple heart during WWII could end up going to prison for five to ten years, all for writing a bad check for $20. His grave is in the prison cemetery. The prison demonstrated how systemic racism works--better than any book could. All... More 

Thank Andalucia62
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
263 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 262 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Be sure to take the tour when you visit. Go on the weekend so you don't have to join a large group of schoolchildren. If at all possible, get Gus to take you around. He has great stories and tells them so very well. We had a blast!

Thank Art-Roxanne
Level Contributor
39 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Well preserved piece of Idaho history. It's located next to the botanical gardens. There are lots of concerts and events. Check your events calendar and check this place out. Jim h

Thank Jim H

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