Ultimate Pearl Harbor Guide (Infographic)
If you’re travelling to Oahu, Hawaii, you cannot forget to visit one of the most historic places, not only in the island region, but in the whole of the United States of America: Pearl Harbor.
Yearly, over 1.8 million travelers visit Pearl Harbor with travelers coming from all over the world. Visitors can either choose to experience Pearl Harbor on their own or by booking an arranged tour. Many regard this site as one of the most historic places in the country, a place where one can pay their respects to fallen soldiers of the surprise attack that persuaded the United States to join World War II.
Back in History:
On the 7th of December 1941, the Japanese led a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. This significant event killed 2,402 Americans and launched the U.S. into WWII. Over 1.8 million visitors come to this historic location every year to pay their respects.
What to see in Pearl Harbor?
USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL
The USS Arizona Memorial is the most well-known landmark at Pearl Harbor. The memorial sits directly over the wreck of USS Arizona itself, a sunken warship where 1,120 sailors and marines were killed during the bombing. In the site, parts of the battleship still project above the water, while a white floating building, about 197 feet long and accessed by Navy shuttle boats, contains a large semi open-air room, where visitors gather. Located at the end of the memorial is a shrine with the names of the fallen soldiers engraved on a wall of Vermont Marble.
The visitor center of the USS Arizona was built in 1980 to commemorate the sacrifice of the fallen heroes, as well serve as a memorial where visitors can offer their respects and prayers. It can accommodate up to 4,500 guests daily. Visitors will watch a documentary film about the historic event and then ride a shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial. Tickets are limited though, and the one benefit of joining a tour is not having to worry about getting to Pearl Harbor so early in the morning to reserve a ticket.
Docked just down the shore from the USS Arizona Memorial, is the USS Missouri, a historic landmark in Hawaii where the Japanese officially surrendered, and therefore prompting the end of the Second World War.
There are two tours that are offered daily: one is a basic tour on the decks with information on the history of the ship, the other is a more extensive tour that goes into the engine room and explores the inner workings of the vessel.
An admission fee is charged to visit the USS Missouri, but a number of passes cover multi-sites at Pearl Harbor and are a good option if you plan on seeing more than just the Missouri and the Arizona Memorial.
The USS Bowfin was fully operational during World War II and later restored and docked at Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Visiting the USS Bowfin is a great way to experience how it felt to be stationed inside a submarine during World War II.
Guests can wander around the vessel, or climb the command tower and gain a 360-degree view of Pearl Harbor through a periscope. Many photographs and other memorabilia illustrate life aboard a submarine are also featured in the Museum building, which also covers all aspects of submarine history. Artifacts and models that trace the history of U.S. Navy submarines and submarines in general are also displayed.
The Aviation Museum, located on Ford Island is also one of the highlights for the visitors of Pearl Harbor. It is accessible through a shuttle bus from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
It features two hangars displaying aircraft related to World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Aircraft range from those in pristine condition to those that still show destruction caused during the war.
The tour begins in Hangar 37 and starts with a 12-minute video on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Afterwards, you can take your time exploring the aircraft and photos on display. The second hangar, Hangar 79, showcases the “MiG Alley Korean War Exhibit.” Also, on site are combat flight simulators that allow you to try your hand at taking off from a runway and landing on an aircraft carrier.
How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Pearl Harbor?
Before your visit to Pearl Harbor, It is important to do a little research in regards to how much you want to see and how you want to go about seeing it.
Booking a Day Trip
If you don’t want to worry reserving tickets or having to get to Pearl Harbor early to reservation then organized Day trips to Pearl Harbor are a great way to have a stress free day. We here at Go Hawaii Tours offer a full day and half day tour, with each tour geared towards certain memorials. An Ideal way for visitors to see Pearl Harbor in an organized and efficient manner.
Do It Yourself
Make sure you book in advance or arrive early to secure a tour. If you plan on visiting a combination of sites or all of the sites, including the USS Missouri, the Submarine Bowfin, and the Aviation Museum, a tour or multi pass is your best option.