Each month the Old Idaho Penitentiary invites guests to explore the site during exciting new programs and signature annual events like Frightened Felons, Night Tours, Cemetery Tours and our Summer Scavenger Hunt!
Old Pen Events
Behind the Scenes Tours
November 9, 6-9pm (last admission 8pm). Purchase tickets now at BrownPaperTickets.com.
Ever wonder what it looks like in those “off-limits” areas of the Old Idaho Penitentiary? This is your chance! Visitors will be allowed to explore some buildings and cells that are normally closed to the public. Stationary guides will be on hand in each area to answer questions and ensure the preservation of the site is maintained. This is not a handicap accessible tour, as most of these areas require walking up and down stairs. Only a limited number of people can be in each area at one time, so lines may form. Arrive early lines will be cut-off at 9:30pm. Take this once-a-year opportunity to see “forbidden” areas. This event is 13 and up only.
November Night Tours
November 2 and 16, 6-10pm (last admission 9pm). Purchase tickets now at BrownPaperTickets.com.
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 at the door are subject to availability. Recommended for Ages 13+.
December 14, 12-5pm (last admission 4:15pm). December 14th is the Old Pen’s Birthday! 2018 will mark our 44th anniversary of being open to the public as a historic site. Come celebrate with us for just $1!
Cold Cons: Winter Scavenger Hunt
2019 Date and Times TBD. Search the Old Pen in the dead of winter for clues to find hidden inmates including Champ the Bullfrog and Dennis the Cat. If you need a break from the cold, join our experts for fireside chats in the yard or skip the scavenger hunt and attend presentations on Old Pen history in our auditorium. Presentations will be offered at 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00. Dress warm and bring a flashlight! Tickets at the door will be subject to availability.
Romancing the Pen
February 14, 12:00-9:00 (last admission 8:00pm). 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 “‘Love’ Stories from the Penitentiary,” play games like Match-In’ Mates, Honey Bee Heist and Pin the Rose on the Gardener, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and tea. Presentations are indoors, first-come first served, and have a limited capacity. The site will be open for self-guided tours in all publicly accessible buildings. There are no guided tours for this event. Dress warm and bring a flashlight!
2019 Dates and Times TBD. Experience a unique tour of the prison and its rarely seen inmate cemetery. Unlock the mysteries of the dead with us as guides explore where inmates died, what their final moments were like, and where they are laid to rest. Discover why more than half the cemetery is riddled with “Unknown” markers (or often no markers at all) and why some names cannot be found in any prison register. Your Cemetery Tour ticket also entitles you to a self-guided tour of the prison the day of your visit and the information booklet Buried Secrets: Inmates of the Idaho State Penitentiary Cemetery. Strongly recommended for ages 13+ only due to graphic content, parental discretion is advised.
Sleepless in Stripes
2019 Dates and Times TBD. Due to popular demand and at long last, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is offering guests a chance to stay overnight! Sleepless in Stripes is a simulated prison experience, beginning with check-in, mugshots and even a souvenir “uniform” shirt! Guests will have chowtime in the yard and inmate “rec” time activities, a paranormal investigation hosted by Big River Paranormal, and an overnight stay in our historic cell houses. This is an 18+ only event and photo ID is required at the door. Tickets are $100 each (price includes shirt, mugshot and intake form to take home, and dinner and breakfast) and space is limited to only 30 people. Tickets for this event are SOLD OUT. Stay tuned for additional events like this in the coming months!
Due to the uncomfortable nature of the site, and because a paranormal investigation is included, guests must be 18 or older to attend. Future events of this type may be open to a wider range of participants.
*This is a prison experience! Guests will feel the rough conditions inmates lived through during their overnight stay. A liability release form will be sent to all ticket purchasers via the email address provided to BrownPaperTickets.com. Each participant must complete and sign this form and send it to the Old Idaho Penitentiary by Friday, September 14 at 5:00pm GMT to be guaranteed their requested shirt size and for food restrictions to be noted. All participants must submit a completed liability release form by Thursday, October 11 at 5:00pm GMT.
Date and Times TBD. 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 99 Red Balloons, Bowling for Inmates, Cherry Pit Spit, Pin the Red on the Inmate and Rockin’ Robin! Join the Strawberry Shortcake Walk, listen to music and enjoy food, beer and wine. Random participation prizes will be given out all night and there will be special Best Ginger contests for adults and kids.
Summer Scavenger Hunt
2019 Date and Times TBD. 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! This is an all ages event.
2019 Dates and Times TBD. We invite you to tour the site at night and dare to enter the only haunted cell house in Boise! The event also features special performances of the zombie “Thriller” dance, from Thrill the World, costume contests with cash prizes, actors portraying inmates of the past, our undertaker and historic hearse, music, presentations, games, prizes, palm readers, scavenger hunt, food trucks, coffee and hot cocoa, and alcohol available on Adult Night.