An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

2016 Calendar

Photo Credit: Kelly Knopp

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

December 14, 12-5pm (last admission 4:15pm). December 14th is the Old Pen's Birthday! This year marks our 43rd anniversary of being open to the public as a historic site. Come celebrate with us, for just $1! We will be offering a few Guided Tours throughout the afternoon as well, on a first come-first served basis.

Cold Cons: Winter Scavenger Hunt

January 13, 6-9pm (last admission 8pm). 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!

Romancing the Pen

February 14, Times TBD. 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 exhibit “Romancing the Pen: ‘Love’ Stories from the Penitentiary” Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, fireside chats with experts, and self-guided tours. Presentations are indoors, first-come first served, and have a limited capacity (times TBD). 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!

Paranormal Investigation

March 16, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Cemetery Tours

March 26-30, Times TBD. Experience a unique tour of the prison and the rarely seen 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 eternally laid to rest. Also, discover why more than half the cemetery is riddled with Unknown markers or 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. Tickets are $15 each. Strongly recommended 13+ due to graphic content, parental discretion is advised.

Friday the 13th: Walrath & Powell

April 13, Times TBD. The Old Pen comes to life every Friday the 13th! This year marks the 66th anniversary of the double execution of Ernest Walrath and Troy Powell at the Idaho State Penitentiary. More information on this event coming soon!

Paranormal Investigation

April 13, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Paranormal Investigation

May 11, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Gingerfest V

June 8, 6-10pm (last admission 9pm). Gingerfest is turning 5! 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”, “99 Red Balloons”, and more. Random participation prizes will be given out all night and there will be special “Best Ginger” contests for adults and kids (details will be available on the Old Pen Facebook page).  Food trucks, red beverages, beer, and wine will also be available for purchase.

Paranormal Investigation

June 22, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Friday the 13th: Summer Scavenger Hunt

2018 dates and times TBD. The Old Idaho Penitentiary is hosting our annual summer scavenger hunt, and this year it lands on a Friday the 13th! 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.

Paranormal Investigation

July 27, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Paranormal Investigation

August 10, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

32 Cells III: Origins

August 17, 6-10pm (last admission 9pm).The Swell Artist Collective and the Old Idaho Penitentiary have partnered up to present 32 Cells. This art show will feature 32 works of art done by local artists inspired by the origin stories of Old Idaho Penitentiary inmates and guards. Artwork will hang on prison cell doors for viewing. All artwork will be available for purchase. Event features: Self guided tours and music. Beer, wine and food will be available for purchase. Due to the graphic nature and subject matter of this show guests must be at least 21 years of age with valid ID.

Paranormal Investigation

September 7, 9pm-2am. Join Big River Paranormal 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. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Dudes & Disco

September 14, Times TBD. Boogie down to the Old Idaho Penitentiary as we celebrate the decades that bookended our site's opening and closing: the 1870s and the 1970s! We'll have costume contests, an Old Pen and 70s trivia-infused game show, photo ops, beer and wine and of course, a rockin' dance floor.

Sleepless in Stripes

October 13, Times TBD. Midnight madness is coming... details to be announced later this year.

Frightened Felons X

October 26 (All Ages Night) and October 27 (Adult Night), 7-11pm (last admission 9:30pm). It's the 10th Annual Frightened Felons! We invite 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, costume contests with cash prizes, actors portraying inmates of the past, our undertaker and historic hearse, music, presentations, prizes, scavenger hunt, food trucks, coffee, hot cocoa, and beer and wine on Adult Night!

November Friday Night Tours

November 2 and 16, 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! Purchase tickets now at BrownPaperTickets.com. Tickets at the door are subject to availability. Recommended for Ages 13+.

Behind the Scenes Tours

November 9, Times TBD. 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.

$1 Day

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!

Featured Exhibition

Museum Dome removal
Museum Project Update
Brown Bag Presentation

Dec 12th