An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Old Pen Mug Shots

Frightened Felons Event

Photo Credit: Boise Photo Walk/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

Frightened Felons

Friday, October 30th (Family Night, all ages) and Saturday, October 31st (Adult Night,  +18 with valid I.D.), 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 "Thriller" Dance, North End Treble Makers, the Cello Collective, costume contests with cash prizes, interact with actors portraying inmates of the past, Free Range Pizza (Sat.), Rockin' Dogs & Ice Cream, Genki Takoyaki, and Abe's Kettle Corn will be selling food, with beer from Crooked Fence, wine from the Friends of the Historical Society (alcohol will be served on Sat./Adult Night only). THIS EVENT SELLS OUT EVERY YEAR. Tickets go on sale now; to purchase to go Brown Paper Tickets (keywords: Frightened Felons). 

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. 

November Friday Night Tours

Fridays: November 6th, 13th, and 20th, 6-10pm (last admission 9pm). Old Pen staff and volunteers will be giving historical site tours at 6:30/7:00/7:30/8:00/8:30 (limited capacity/first come first served). Or you are welcome to do a self-guided tour and explore the Old Pen on your own! Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather! Tickets will be available on October 1st at Brown Paper Tickets (keywords: Night Tours), 2-for-1 special if you purchase online, otherwise it is $10 per person at the door. All ages but recommended for 10 and up. 

Romancing the Pen

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."

8th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest 

April is National Poetry Month and in celebration the Old Idaho Penitentiary is sponsoring the 8th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest.  Check back for when poem submissions deadline, near the end of April.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, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission). Come celebrate redheads and red fun at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! Show off your red hair or just celebrate ginger fun with friends. Enjoy family friendly games like “Bowling for Inmates”, “Cherry Pit Spit”, “Big Red Races”, and more. Random participation prizes will be given out all night and there will be special “Best Ginger” contests for adults and kids (details on the Old Pen Facebook page and Brown Paper Tickets). Food trucks, red beverages, beer, and wine will also be available for purchase.

Singin' in the Slammer 

Second Friday in June, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission). 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. This event is for ages 13 and up only. A reminder to parents that some visitors might sing songs you deem inappropriate. We have a very large site and you may choose to explore when such a song is being played.

July Friends and Family Scavenger Hunt

Second Friday in July, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission). The Old Idaho Penitentiary is hosting a scavenger hunt and lock up. Gather your team and explore our site to find the clues about our history, inmates, and buildings. Be entered to win a private tour and an Old Pen prize pack. We will have photo opportunities and a chance to lock up the guilty and the innocent. This is an all ages event $6 for adults, $3 for children.

Bars & Ballads 

Second Friday in August, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission). The Old Idaho Penitentiary invites you to bring a picnic and don't forget your blanket as local bands play inside the walls. The yard and buildings will be open for self-guided tours. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children, Event is strongly recommended +10.

September Photography Night

Second Friday in September, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission).Join us for the last Second Friday Series installment of the summer! The Old Idaho Penitentiary is calling all photographers to take their best shots of the historic prison. All photography fees will be waived for the evening. The site will be open to all photographers, novice or professional, and you can enter pictures into one of our photo contests on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #oldidahopen hashtag. A panel of staff members will awards prizes after the evening in three categories: professional, novice, and mug shots. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for kids. Photography fees normally start at $25 per hour at the site, but will be waived for this evening only! Tickets are available at the door.

Felons & Fords

The Old Idaho Penitentiary is hosting a car show, presented by the Gem State Early Ford V-8 Club. Come see decades of Ford automobiles in the historic prison. There will be photo ops, raffle drawings, Rio Grande Taco Truck and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, car awards and more! The event is from 12-5pm (last admission 4:15). All ages welcome; $6 for adults and $3 for children (6-12). There will be no guided tours on this day, the site will be open for self-guided tours only.

Paranormal Investigation
TBD, 9:30pm-2am, 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.