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Old Idaho Penitentiary Site, Boise

4.6
#1 of 9 in Historic Sites in Idaho
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 Site. 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. Our Boise vacation route planner makes visiting Old Idaho Penitentiary Site and other Boise attractions simple, and helps you make a travel plan personal to you.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
649 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    My girlfriend and I visited here on a trip to boise and could not believe how incredible this place is, they have both self guided tours which is what we did as well as guided tours...I highly recomme...  more »
  • August 14, 2017
    I've been living in the Boise area for 11 years and finally checked out the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This place provided a neat adventure for the family. We got there just in time for a guided tour and...  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    It was like traveling back in time. Interesting stories, great history, and just enough creepy to keep you with the group. Our tour guide's grandfather was a guard, so she added a sprinkling of family...  more »
Google
  • May 23, 2017
    Great place to visit if you are into history. Lots of interesting things to see. Got there 2 hours before closing and saw most of it. Could of easily spent 3 hrs there.
  • June 4, 2017
    Plan on a couple hours here...pretty cool stop over that's out of the way from Downtown. While Idaho specific (obviously), this does give good perspective on what prisons were like for the time periods. © TIFA 2003
  • June 8, 2017
    Great place to visit and experience what the prisoners had to endure to survive. So much history displayed inside. Very pretty rose gardens.
  • June 24, 2017
    Great way to spend a few hours with the kids. Enjoyed the history and learning about the prisoners. Beautiful flowers, to boot.
  • June 18, 2017
    Well worth it. Lots of info and history. Take the guided tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable.

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Where to stay in Boise

Consider a stay in the city's historical Northend neighborhood, which offers a number of cultural activities, including a public art tour and festivals throughout the year. Lodgings in the downtown area offer convenient access to the central attractions.
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