An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Visit the Old Idaho Penitentiary

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Old Idaho Penitentiary

Photo Credit: Clay Almquist

Old Idaho Penitentiary logo 


The Old Idaho Penitentiary opened its doors in 1872 to some of the West’s most desperate criminals. Today, visitors can experience over 100 years of Idaho’s unique prison history with a visit to Solitary Confinement, cell blocks, and the Gallows.

The site features thirty historic buildings and special exhibitions including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit of Arms and Armaments. Events and programs provide families, school groups, and visitors an opportunity to relive the Old Pen's exciting past of daring escapes, scandals and executions.

Idaho's Merci Train is not currently on public display. Please call us at (208) 334-2844 with any questions regarding this artifact.

The Old Idaho Penitentiary is located in the Old Penitentiary Historic District and is open year round.

Photography Guidelines: Personal, single-camera use is permitted. We do not allow large backpacks, camera bags, tripods, lighting and shade covers, drones, clothing changes and other professional photography equipment on site during business hours. Any private photography (including senior or family portraits, video shoots, etc.) must be scheduled in advance. Please contact us at (208) 334-2844 for appointment options and fee schedules outside of our normal business hours.

  • Do you want to volunteer for our Halloween event? Please e-mail us for the most up-to-date information on Frightened Felons.  
  • Need to contact someone at the Old Idaho Penitentiary? Check our staff list.

Featured Exhibition

SOLD OUT - Paranormal Investigation
Paranormal Investigation

Jul 27th to Jul 28th