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

Friday the 13th - Freaky Friday

It's Friday the 13th at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! Join us for an evening exploring the macabre and violent sides of the Old Pen. This 13+ only event takes place between 6 and 10 with last admission at 9:00pm. We will present ghost stories, "Voices from the Past," tales of the Hanged Ten (the ten men executed at the Old Pen) and guided tours throughout the evening. Tickets for this event are SOLD OUT. Friday the 13th Visitor Compensation Letter

Frightened Felons

Friday, October 27th (All Ages Night) and Saturday, October 28th (Adult Night, 18+ Only, ID required), 7-11pm (last admission 9:30). It's the 9th Annual Frightened Felons! We invite you to tour the site at night and dare to enter the only haunted cell house in Boise (expanded this year with more frights per cell!). With special performances of the Zombie "Thriller" Dance, costume contests with cash prizes, actors portraying inmates of the past, our undertaker and historic hearse (presented by Cloverdale Funeral Home), music, presentations, prizes, scavenger hunt, food trucks, coffee, hot cocoa, and beer and wine on Adult Night! Food trucks this year include Dutch Bros, Foxy Franks, Genki Takoyaki, il Segreto Wood Fired Pizza, and Crooked Fence will be pouring the beer! Adult Night (Saturday) is SOLD OUT. Tickets for All Ages Night (Friday) are available for purchase at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3081798.

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.

$1 Day

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!

Cemetery Tours

2018 dates and 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.

Gingerfest V

2018 dates 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 “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 on the Old Pen Facebook page).  Food trucks, red beverages, beer, and wine will also be available for purchase.

Scavenger Hunt

2018 dates and times TBD. 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.

Paranormal Investigation

2018 dates and times TBD. 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. Tickets are $35 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

32 Cells

2018 dates and times TBD.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 escape attempts from the Old Idaho Penitentiary. 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 Tours

2018 dates and 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.