An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Visitors at Frightened Felons event.

Frightened Felons event

Photo Credit: Old Idaho Penitentiary

The Old Idaho Penitentiary features several signature events throughout the year that appeal to a wide range of audiences.  Events are engaging, fun, educational, and focus on a variety of topics. 


Upcoming Events

Friday the 13th

Anytime throughout the year the 13th falls on a Friday, the Old Pen will be open late. 2015 Friday the 13ths are in February, March and November. Check back for more details!

Paranormal Investigation

Friday March 13th, join the International Paranormal Reporting Group as they use their unique equipment and knowledge to attempt to connect with inmates and guards of the past. Participants are welcome to bring their own cameras. Individual tickets are $30, two or more tickets are $25 each. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 13th, to purchase to go (keywords: Paranormal Investigation). NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

6th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest 

April is National Poetry Month and in celebration the Old Idaho Penitentiary is sponsoring the 6th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest.  Poem submissions can be turned in now through Friday, April 25th at 5p.m. Click here for more information!

2nd Fridays Series

On the 2nd Friday of each month, May through September, the Old Penitentiary will be open late. See below for details about each special event!


Second Friday in May (8th), come celebrate redheads and red fun at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Our second annual redheaded festival is sure to be a smash, activities included games with a chance to win gift baskets filled with lots of red/ginger goodies. Get your redheaded photo booth mug shots taken. A special exhibit about inmates incarcerated during the "Red Scare" was also be on display. Check back for more details.

Singing in the Slammer Karaoke Night

Second Friday in June (12th), join us for our 4th Annual Singin’ in the Slammer $5 for all visitors (no other discounts apply). 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Sing away your prison blues or just belt your favorite jam. All visitors can enter their name into a drawing where 5 selected crooners compete for $100 in cash prizes. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. There is no food service so you are welcome to bring a picnic dinner! No outside beverages besides water will be permitted inside.

July Guided Tours

Second Friday in July (10th), the Old Idaho Penitentiary invites you to join us and the Idaho State Archives with our prohibition themed event. 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Check back for more details.

Bars & Ballads 

Second Friday in August (14th), the Old Idaho Penitentiary invites you to bring a picnic and don't forget your blanket as local bands play inside the walls. 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Crooked Fence will be selling beer and the Friends of the Historical Museum and Old Penitentiary will have wine soda and water to purchase (21+ must have a current, valid ID). The yard and buildings will be open for self-guided tours. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, Event is strongly recommended +10.

September Guided Tours

Join us for the last Second Friday Series installment of the summer! 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Event is TBD, check back for more details. 

Frightened Felons

Typically the last full weekend in October (Friday and Saturday 7:00-11:00pm, last admission 9:30pm) our annual Frightened Felons Event, invites you to tour the site at night and dare to enter the only haunted cell house in Boise, with special performances of the Zombie "Thiller" Dance, costume contests with cash prizes, follow our inmate death map, give our prison themed games a try, interact with actors portraying inmates of the past, enjoy food trucks, beer from Crooked Fence, wine from the Friends of the Historical Society and hot cocoa & coffee from Dutch Bros. THIS EVENT SELLS OUT EVERY YEAR. Be sure to check back to find out when and where tickets will be available for early purchase!

November Friday Night Tours

Friday, November 8th, 13th, and 20th There will be guided tours on the half hour starting at 6:30pm and the last tour leaves at 8:30pm. The tours will discuss the history of the Old Pen including escapes, executions, and infamous inmates. You are also welcome to do a self-guided tour and explore the Old Pen on your own! Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather! Cost is $10 (all ages but recommended for 10 and up). For more information contact (208) 334-2844.

Escaping Solitary

Join us for the first-ever “Escaping Solitary: Pre-Valentine’s Mixer” at the Old Idaho Penitentiary Friday February 13th! This is a 21+ only event from 6pm-11pm (last admission 9pm), $8 at the door or save a little and get tickets in advance at (keywords: Escaping Solitary).

Explore the old prison with friends or meet new friendly felons! Enjoy beer by Crooked Fence all night long. Come for scavenger hunts and a showing of the Old Pen’s feature on the hit show “Ghost Adventures.” Stick around for some prison-themed trivia with cash prizes, giveaways, and a singles’ mixer! You can warm up by our fire pits or listen to some tunes in the historic Trusty Dorm. Call 208-334-2844 for details.

Romancing the Pen

Saturday, February 14th, 12-9pm (last admission 8pm). Looking for something other than roses or chocolates this Valentine's Day? The Old Idaho Penitentiary is offering a unique alternative to this hum-drum day devoted to love. Stroll through the site and snuggle up with your Valentine or find the true meaning of “ball and chain.” Visitors can read through our special exhibits “Romancing the Pen: ‘Love’ Stories from the Penitentiary” and "In the Name of Love."

Featured Exhibition

Greener Pastures, Heidi Haislmaier
Idaho: City of Trees Art Guild
Capitol Exhibit
Feb 21st - Jul 19th