Outdoor Idaho Adventures: The Old Idaho Penitentiary

With warmer weather on the horizon, I wanted to share one of our recent Outdoor Idaho Adventures!  We took the boys to check out The Old Idaho Penitentiary.

If you’ve never been, it’s great for families to go and check out some of Idaho’s “shady” past.  They say there are ghosts that wander the grounds but we didn’t encounter any last December…thank goodness!

Here’s an excerpt on the history of The Old Idaho Penitentiary from their website that you can check out here:

“About the Old Idaho Penitentiary:
The Idaho State 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 exhibits including the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, a collection of historic weaponry. 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.”

We spent about 90-minutes on-site exploring all the buildings inside and out.  The building that houses the gallows I may not take a younger child to see but my kiddos handled it well and read every piece of information they had posted in all the buildings.

Photos courtesy of The Adams Family

You have to purchase your tickets ahead of time as access is limited due to covid precautions.  Parking is free and they are open seven days a week excluding state holidays.  They are located towards the east end of Boise right next to the Idaho Botanical Gardens.  You can check out more information including directions, hours, and purchasing your tickets ahead of time here: The Old Idaho Penitentiary.

We hope you enjoy your time at The Old Idaho Penitentiary.  Let me know if you enjoyed it and if you have any suggestions for our next Outdoor Idaho Adventure, you can always email me lisa@magic979boise.com.

Happy Adventuring!  Idaho is an amazing place to live, work, and play!