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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. Old Idaho Penitentiary Site is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, Boise Edition.
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Old Idaho Penitentiary Site Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
717 reviews
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4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We arrived not far from closing time, so we missed the tour opportunity, but that did not diminish the experience. We still enjoyed exploring the many buildings and spaces. The place was basically tak...  more »
  • Visit this penitentiary and you can almost feels the inhabitants! I have visited this place 3 times and it is very interesting.  more »
  • The penitentiary was very interesting. Most of the buildings have been well preserved and some spaces have been staged to show what they may have looked like over the years when it was open. Just the ...  more »
Google
  • Very interesting historic place to visit!! I hear it's fun to go through around Halloween as well. It would be interesting to do some paranormal searching here, if they allow that. It was fascinating and creepy all in one. 😊😊 The price was super reasonable as well!! It was a spur-of-the-moment stop on our trip and I'm glad we did. 😊
  • "Loving it" is not the right way to rate it. The impact touring the old prison leaves on you is enduring. Sobering is the word. Knowing the consequences of what is was like to land in that prison scares rebellion right out of you. Connect with the cold steel bars. Feel the chill of drab concrete and metal. Imagine trying to escape...
  • Very interesting to see. Great way to kill a few hours. Not too expensive, tons of info posted throughout.
  • It's not a bad hotel They use to have this game in the showers where everyone was naked and threw a bar of soap around. but if you dropped it you'd have to go to a doctor and ask them for preparation H afterwards! It's a shame they shut it down and turned it into a museum.
  • The tour is 6 dollars per adult. We decided to skip the tour and walked the outside grounds instead. I'm betting ghost hunters would love touring the cells. The out cropping buildings are works of art with their masonry giving a glimpse of the highlights inmates could enjoy.

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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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