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

$1 Day

The Old Idaho Penitentiary will offer special tours and discounted admission Sunday December 14 to commemorate 40 years of being open to the public for self-guided and guided tours! The “Old Pen” will be open from 12pm – 5pm (4:15pm last admission) and offer $1 admission to all visitors 3 years old and up. The Old Idaho Penitentiary museum opened on December 14, 1974 to visitors. It served as an active prison from 1872 to 1973.

· $1 admission to ALL visitors

· Self-guided tours 12pm-5pm

· Guided tours 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, and 3:00

· Guided tours are 1 hour to 1.5 hours. 

· Guided tours are no additional cost 

· No reservations for guide tours will be taken and space is limited on a first come, first served basis. 

Proceeds from the event help fund educational programs and exhibits at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. For more information please call 208-334-2844. 

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!

Romancing the Pen

February 14th, 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."

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!

Paranormal Investigation

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. Tickets are $30, NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

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!


Come celebrate redheads and red fun at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! Our first ever 2014 Gingerfest event featured contests for Best Male and Female Gingers as well as Best Kid Gingers, and a Best Ginger Pet photo contests (details to come). Other 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. Food from Free Range Pizza and the Funky Taco as well as beer from Crooked Fence Brewing and wine courtesy of Indian Creek Winery.

Singing in the Slammer Karaoke Night

Second Friday in June, Join us for our 3rd Annual Singin’ in the Slammer $5 for all visitors (no other discounts apply). 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, the Old Idaho Penitentiary will host after-hour guided tours. $5 adults, $3 kids. Guided tours are limited so arrive early to ensure your spot. You can also elect to do a self-guided tour. Explore the site and learn about over 101 years of prison history!

Bars & Ballads 

Second Friday in August 8th, the Old Idaho Penitentiary invites you to bring a picnic and don't forget your blanket as local bands play inside the walls. 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!  We will have “Night Tours” and the event is $5 for adults, $3 for children. You can enjoy a self-guided or guided tour. The guided tours are first come, first served and no reservations are taken in advance. Guided tours generally last about an hour to an hour and a half. Guided tours start at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 and 8:30.

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

November 7th, 14th and 21st we will be open after hours from 6:00pm–10:00pm (LAST ADMISSION 9:00pm). 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.