An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Old Idaho Penitentiary Events

Visitors at Frightened Felons event.

Frightened Felons event

Photo Credit: Old Idaho Penitentiary

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

2nd Fridays Series

On the 2nd Friday of each month, May through September, the Old Penitentiary will be open late. See below for details about each special event!

Bars & Ballads 

Second Friday in August (14th), the Old Idaho Penitentiary invites you to bring a picnic and don't forget your blanket as local bands play inside the walls. 6-10pm last admission 9pm. This year we welcome Boise Rock School to kick of the party, with main event shows from local musicians: Edmond Dantès and Tracy Morrison. Rockin' Dogs will have their food cart available, Crooked Fence will be selling beer, and the Friends of the Historical Museum and Old Penitentiary will have wine soda and water to purchase (21+ must have a current, valid ID). The yard and buildings will be open for self-guided tours. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children, Event is strongly recommended +10.

September Guided Tours

Join us for the last Second Friday Series installment of the summer! The Old Pen will be open from 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Event is TBD, check back for more details. 

Frightened Felons

Friday, October 30th (Family Night) and Saturday, October 31st (Adult Night), 7:00-11:00pm (last admission 9:30pm) our annual Frightened Felons Event invites 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, follow our inmate death map, give our prison themed games a try, interact with actors portraying inmates of the past, enjoy food trucks, beer from Crooked Fence, wine from the Friends of the Historical Society and hot cocoa & coffee from Dutch Bros. THIS EVENT SELLS OUT EVERY YEAR. Tickets go on sale September 1st, to purchase to go (keywords: Frightened Felons). 

Friday the 13th

Anytime throughout the year the 13th falls on a Friday, the Old Pen will be open late. 2015 Friday the 13ths are in February, March and November. 

November Friday Night Tours

Fridays: November 6th, 13th, and 20th, there will be guided tours on the half hour starting at 6:30pm and the last tour leaves at 8:30pm. The tours will discuss the history of the Old Pen including escapes, executions, and infamous inmates. You are also welcome to do a self-guided tour and explore the Old Pen on your own! Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather! Cost is $10 (all ages but recommended for 10 and up). For more information contact (208) 334-2844.

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 exhibits “Romancing the Pen: ‘Love’ Stories from the Penitentiary” and "In the Name of Love."

Paranormal Investigation

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. Individual tickets are $30, two or more tickets are $25 each. NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old. Next date is TBD.

8th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest 

April is National Poetry Month and in celebration the Old Idaho Penitentiary is sponsoring the 8th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest.  Check back for when poem submissions deadline, near the end of April.Click here for more information!


Second Friday in May. Come celebrate redheads and red fun at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! 6-10pm last admission 9pm; $6 adults (12 and up), $3 kids (3 and up) tickets available for purchase at (keyword: Gingerfest). 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 and Brown Paper Tickets). Food trucks, red beverages, beer, and wine will also be available for purchase.

Singin' in the Slammer 

June Second Friday, 6pm – 10pm (9pm last admission). Sing away your prison blues or just belt your favorite jam. All visitors can enter their name into a drawing where 5 selected crooners compete for $100 in cash prizes. Beer and wine will be available for purchase. There is no food service so you are welcome to bring a picnic dinner! No outside beverages besides water will be permitted inside. This event is for ages 13 and up only. A reminder to parents that some visitors might sing songs you deem inappropriate. We have a very large site and you may choose to explore when such a song is being played.

July Friends and Family Scavenger Hunt

Second Friday in July,the Old Idaho Penitentiary is hosting a scavenger hunt and lock up from 6-10pm (last admission 9pm). 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.

Featured Exhibition

Steven Branting
From Rags to Riches
Brown Bag Lecture
Aug 11th