Old Idaho Penitentiary Events
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.
Friday, May 19th 9pm-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. Tickets must be purchased in advance at Brown Paper Tickets; tickets go on sale on Wednesday, April 19th. Tickets are $35 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.
Friday, June 9th 6pm – 10pm (last admission 8:30pm). 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). Food trucks, red (and non-red) beverages, beer, and wine will all be available for purchase. Food trucks, ice cream, red beverages, beer, and wine will also be available for purchase. $6 adults, $3 kids (3-12)
Friday, June 16th 9pm-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. Tickets are $35 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.
Friday, July 14th 6pm-10pm (last admission 9 pm). 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, tickets at the door.
Friday, July 28th 9pm-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. Tickets are $35 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.
Friday, August 11th 9pm-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. Tickets are $35 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.
Friday, August 18th, 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 former inmate bio's and prison history. 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.
Behind the Scenes Tour
Friday, September 8th 6pm-10pm (last admission 9 pm). 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. Tickets are $10 each.
Friday the 13th- Freaky Friday
Friday, October 13th. Anytime throughout the year the 13th falls on a Friday, the Old Pen will be open late. Details and times TBD.
Friday, October 27th and Saturday, October 28th 7-11pm (last admission 9:30). 2017 will be our 9th 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, interact with actors portraying inmates of the past, visit our undertaker at the historic hearse, food trucks, coffee & hot cocoa, beer & wine. Tickets will be available on September 1st at Brown Paper Tickets (keywords: Frightened Felons).
November Friday Night Tours
Fridays: November 3rd, 10th, and 17th, 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! $10 per person at the door. All ages, but recommended for 10 and up.
December 14th is the Old Pen's Birthday as a historic site. Come celebrate with us, for just $1! We are open from 12-5pm (last admission is at 4:15pm).
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 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! Admission fees are 2-for-1 all day!
2018 dates & 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.