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Old Idaho Penitentiary, Boise

4.7
#1 of 9 in Historic Sites in Boise
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
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Experience what prison life was like for the most notorious criminals of Idaho's "Wild West" and the guards that worked there at Old Idaho Penitentiary. The prison first received inmates in 1872 and remained a functioning prison for 101 years, housing a total of 13,000 inmates. Walk through buildings like the dining hall, women's ward, and the maximum security area--Cell House 5--which served as Death Row. If you are feeling brave, lock yourself into one of the solitary confinement cells to better understand the harsh conditions of the prison's past. You can also take a guided tour. The facility is home to multiple exhibits, notably the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit of Arms and Armaments, which features one of the nation's largest collections of military history from Medieval times, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Old Idaho Penitentiary is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our , international travel planner Edition.
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Old Idaho Penitentiary reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
998 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I was so fascinated by the Old Idaho Penitentiary. There is so much history within the stone walls. A definite part to see is the solitary confinement area and the gallows. The grounds are so... 
    I was so fascinated by the Old Idaho Penitentiary. There is so much history within the stone walls. A definite part to see is the solitary confinement area and the gallows. The grounds are so...  more »
  • You can take a guided tour or walk around on your own. There is access to many of the buildings inside. I keep going back, because there is so much to read about the prisoners and their crimes... 
    You can take a guided tour or walk around on your own. There is access to many of the buildings inside. I keep going back, because there is so much to read about the prisoners and their crimes...  more »
  • Eric is our energetic guide, super informative. He is an animated and fun guide. Dining hall has shattered since 1973. Walking tour, it’s an hour long. Walking through cell house 2, 3 and 4. 4.....  more
    Eric is our energetic guide, super informative. He is an animated and fun guide. Dining hall has shattered since 1973. Walking tour, it’s an hour long. Walking through cell house 2, 3 and 4. 4.....  more »
Google
  • So awesome! So much history. Plus so much to explore. Best part is they let you your the prison by yourself, and have information plastered all over the place. Definitely worth the price. Gift shop is a tad speedy. But overall an amazing experience😁
  • Awesome place to wander the grounds and learn a little history. The weapon museum on site is awesome as well! Dusty grounds and some stairs if you're feeling adventurous, so I don't recommend wearing sandles. Spent about an hour and a half here to see the main structure but there were more surrounding buildings we didn't get to.
  • Wasn't open due to Halloween weekend evening events, but looked pretty cool from the outside. The Women's Ward was open & had very good historical information & stories. Only here for a day, but would've loved to get the guided tour!
  • Very informative tour guide. Our guide was very animated with his stories about the prisoner life. Some of his stories have me goosebumps. After the tour when everyone left, we asked about if there have been any paranormal events. That's when it got really interesting. Highly recommended.
  • A great historical site with plenty of interesting information. Inside the prison, there's also an extensive weapons collection on display for free. The $3 guided tour is 100% worth it. Our guide, Jack, was super knowledgeable and clearly cared about sharing information with us. The tour includes stories and background which you can't get from just the signs.

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