The Old Idaho Penitentiary was once a prison the state’s most dangerous convicts. It opened in 1872 and today visitors can tour the buildings and grounds for a look inside cell blocks, death row, the gallows and more. There are 30 buildings in total with special exhibits for families to explore. Exhibits include the J. Curtis Earl Memorial Exhibit, which focuses on the development of weapons overtime, from medieval armor to fire arms. The Idaho Crime, Boise Time exhibit educates visitors on why Boise was selected as the city for the penitentiary. Marked Men is an exhibit that is housed in the former Barber Shop and it centers on the history and meaning of prison tattooing.
It is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. with guided tours offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. During the summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day, the penitentiary opens at 10 a.m. for visitors. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors ages 60 and older, $3 for kids ages 6 to 12 and free for children ages 5 and under.