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

6th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest 

April is National Poetry Month and in celebration the Old Idaho Penitentiary is sponsoring the 6th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest.  Poem submissions can be turned in now through Friday, April 24th at 5p.m. Click here for more information!

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!


Second Friday in May (8th), come celebrate redheads and red fun at the Old Idaho Penitentiary! 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Our second annual redheaded festival is sure to be a smash, activities included games with a chance to win gift baskets filled with lots of red/ginger goodies. Get your redheaded photo booth mug shots taken. A special exhibit about inmates incarcerated during the "Red Scare" was also be on display. Check back for more details.

Paranormal Investigation

Friday May 22nd, 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. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, April 22nd, to purchase to go (keywords: Paranormal Investigation). NOTE: Participants must be at least 18 years old.

Crooked Fence Anniversary Party

Second Friday in June (12th), the Old Pen will be hosting Crooked Fence's 3rd Anniversary Party 6-10pm (last admission 9pm). With all their best brews and music from Cash'd Out and Marshall Poole. For more information and to purchase tickets, please contact Crooked Fence. For those who enjoy our annual June, Singin' in the Slammer karaoke it will be an additional party highlight in our Trusty Dorm. This is a 21+ only event.

July Guided Tours

Second Friday in July (10th), the Old Pen will be open from 6-10pm last admission 9pm. Event is TBD, check back for more details.

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. 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 $5 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

Typically the last full weekend in October (Friday and Saturday 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 October 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."