Planning a Day in Pearl Harbor
The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is the #1 most popular
visitor attraction in Hawaii. The information on this page will help
you plan an Oahu day trip that includes visiting the
USS Arizona Memorial and three of the next most popular attractions
in Pearl Harbor: the USS Bowfin Submarine, the USS Missouri Battleship,
and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Kathleen Walling Fry
The visitors in this picture are standing in the center
of the Waterfront Submarine Memorial in Bowfin Park. In
the distance you can see the USS Missouri Battleship,
the famous red and white striped tower on Ford Island,
and the USS Arizona Memorial. The new Pacific Aviation Museum
is located just beyond the red and white tower.
Introduction to Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is located on the south coast of the island of Oahu
and it is the largest harbor in Hawaii. It is also a United States National
Historic Landmark. Pearl Harbor is most famous for being the target of
a surprise attack by Japanese fighter planes on December 7, 1941.
On December 8, 1941 the United States declared war on Japan and on
December 11, 1941 Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
On September 2, 1945 the Japanese officially surrendered to the United States
in a formal ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri Battleship which,
at the time, was anchored in Tokyo Bay.
Most Popular Attractions in Pearl Harbor
There are four main visitor attractions in Pearl Harbor, the
USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine,
the USS Missouri Battleship, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
The visitor centers and museums for the Arizona Memorial and the
Bowfin Submarine are located next to each other, on the shore
of Pearl Harbor, not far from the Aloha Stadium. A shuttle bus
transports visitors from the Arizona/Bowfin area to Ford Island
so they can tour the Missouri Battleship and visit the
Pacific Aviation Museum. The bus stop for the Ford Island
shuttle is located between the USS Arizona Museum and the
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum. There is no extra charge for the
shuttle if you have purchased a ticket for the USS Missouri Battleship
Tour or the Pacific Aviation Museum.
The Cost of Visiting Pearl Harbor
If you want to visit all four of Pearl Harbor's main
attractions the admission fees will total about $40.
The cost will be a bit more if you rent the self-guided headset tours at the USS
Arizona, USS Bowfin, and USS Missouri. They typically
rent for about $2-$5 each. The audio tours are optional, but I rented
them for all three attractions. I enjoyed all of the audio tours but I
especially appreciated having the self-guided audio tour of the
USS Missouri Battleship. Interesting features and historic spots on
the battleship are marked with numbers. When you see a number you can
key it into your handset to learn all about it. In some cases,
you will hear actual historic radio news coverage of historic events.
USS Arizona Memorial, Boat Transfer, and Museum (free)
Bowfin Park Outdoor Exhibits and Submarine Memorial (free)
USS Bowfin Submarine Tour and Indoor Museum ($10 admission)
USS Missouri Battleship Tour ($16 admission)
Pacific Aviation Museum ($14 admission)
City Bus ($2 each way, about 1-1/4 hour each way)
TIP: 4-day $20 city bus passes are available at Waikiki's ABC stores
Logistics of Visiting Pearl Harbor
Most Pearl Harbor visitors see the USS Arizona
Memorial and the Bowfin Submarine first,
because they are located next each other on the
Oahu mainland. Next they typically
take the shuttle to Ford Island to visit
the USS Missouri Battleship and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
The USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri Battleship
are actually located right next to each other, in the water
just off of Ford Island, but you travel to the Arizona Memorial by boat,
and you travel to the USS Missouri via a shuttle bus that
takes you across the Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island.
Where to Eat at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
Between the USS Arizona Museum and the USS Bowfin Museum there is
a 1940's canteen style open-air cafe with several food stalls.
Inside the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island there is
a nice little cafe that sells things like stir-fry dishes,
salads, hamburgers, and other sandwiches
Inside the USS Arizona Museum there is a self-serve,
automat-style vending machine area. I think there might
be another one near the USS Bowfin Museum.
Shopping at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
There are interesting museum shops at all four spots:
the USS Arizona Museum, the USS Bowfin Museum,
the USS Missouri Battleship, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Security Measures At All Pearl Harbor Attractions
Strict security measures prohibit purses, handbags, fanny packs, backpacks,
camera bags, diaper bags, luggage and any other items that offer concealment.
Visitors may bring a camera and cam-recorder. A storage facility, operated
by a private vendor, is available for visitors coming to the USS Arizona
Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the Battleship Missouri and
the Pacific Aviation Museum. The facility can be found at the entrance to
the USS Bowfin Submarine Park. There is a nominal storage fee. The storage
facility is in operation daily 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors may use the
same bag storage and parking stall for all three tours.
Security measures are strictly enforced at all visitor destinations on
Pearl Harbor. Federal law enforcement officers and security bike patrols
monitor the parking lots. However it is not recommended to secure items
of value in your car. Be safe: do not travel with valuables and use the
USS Arizona Memorial and USS Bowfin Submarine
The visitor's center for memorial to the sunken USS Arizona Battleship and
the USS Bowfin Submarine, Museum and Park are located next to each
other on the shore of Pearl Harbor, near the Aloha Stadium.
USS Arizona Memorial
This memorial is the final resting place for many of the
USS Arizona Battleship's 1177 crew members who lost their lives
when their ship was sunk by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
The Arizona Memorial commemorates the site where World War II began for
the United States. It is open from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm
and I highly recommend arriving early to avoid a long wait.
Visiting the memorial is free, and since it is the
most popular visitor attraction in Hawaii, the lines can
be very long during peak periods. Sometimes all of the
tours are sold out by noon. When
you arrive at the museum you will have an opportunity to
rent a headset audio tour for about $5. The Arizona Museum audio
tour is interesting, because it is narrated by actor Ernest Bourgnine
and real-life survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor,
but if you don't want to spend the money you can enjoy the
museum without it. You
will be invited to tour the USS Arizona indoor museum while
you are waiting for the tour you have been assigned to.
If you will have an exceptionally long wait you can also
visit the Bowfin Submarine Museum while you are waiting for your
Arizona tour time slot. When your tour begins, you will first
watch a very moving 25 minute film about the attack on Pearl Harbor
and the sinking of the USS Arizona. Then you will board a boat
for a short, scenic cruise across Pearl Harbor. When you arrive at the
memorial you will be given 10 or 15 minutes to walk around
on the memorial before you are transported back to the
USS Bowfin Submarine
The USS Bowfin Submarine
was launched for the first time
on December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor. It was nicknamed the
"Pearl Harbor Avenger". The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
and Park is located right next door to the USS Arizona
Memorial Visitors Center. There are three different attractions in
Bowfin Park. There is a free outdoor museum on both sides of the
indoor museum with missiles, memorials, and gunnery exhibits.
The 10,000 square foot indoor museum is filled with
interesting submarine-related exhibits. Visitors can also walk
through the actual USS Bowfin Submarine, which is docked in the
water just outside the museum. The outdoor museum
is free but there is a $10 admission charge that covers both
the indoor museum and walking around inside the submarine.
You can also rent a headset audio tour of the submarine
for about $2. See also
USS Bowfin Introduction and
USS Bowfin Photos.
TIP: The Bowfin Museum was COLD the day I was there
USS Missouri Battleship and Pacific Aviation Museum
The USS Missouri Battleship Tour and the Pacific Aviation Museum
are located on Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor. There
is a bridge from Ford Island to the Oahu mainland, but only
authorized military and tour vehicles are permitted to enter.
After you purchase your tickets to either attraction you can take the
free shuttle bus to Ford Island. The bus stop for the shuttle
is located between the USS Arizona Museum and the USS Bowfin Museum.
USS Missouri Battleship
This 108-foot United States battleship is most famous for being
the site where Japan signed the formal instrument of surrender,
effectively ending World War II in 1945.
The ceremony was conducted by General Douglas MacArthur. The ship was retired
in 1992 and public tours have been offered since 1999. For photos and
more information see
USS Missouri Introduction and
USS Missouri Photos.
Pacific Aviation Museum
The first phase of the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Pearl
Harbor opened to the public on December 7, 2006. The museum is located in
Hanger 37, near Ford Island's distinctive red and white striped submarine
tower and low-rise air traffic control tower. It can only be
reached by boarding one of the bus shuttles that run between the USS Arizona
Memorial and Ford Island.
Other Pearl Harbor Attractions
Pearl Harbor's Ford Island was named after Doctor Seth Porter Ford, a physician who
owned the island in the mid 1800's. Before the 1800's, the island was
called Mokuumeume by the Hawaiians.
After Ford Island was purchased by the United States military, it was
turned into a Naval base and airfield. The area along the south side of
Ford Island is known as "Battleship Row".
There are plaques on Ford Island to mark the spots where the
eighteen battleships were sunk during the Japanese attack on
Admiral Clarey Bridge
The bridge connecting Pearl Harbor's Ford Island with mainland
Oahu is called the Admiral Clarey Bridge and it was named after
Admiral Bernard Clarey. The bridge is 4,700 feet long and it
was opened in May of 1998. Before 1998 Ford Island could only
be access by ferry or aircraft.
The Aloha Stadium is the home of the Pro Bowl Football
Game and the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. It is located
near the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites and it can be
seen from the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri
Battleship. The boat in this picture is transporting
visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial.
X-Band Radar System
It's hard to believe this $900 million, 28-story
radar system can be transported across the ocean on a ship.
Here are some photos I took of the system when it first
arrived in Hawaii in January of 2006:
X Band Radar System Docked in Pearl Harbor.
More Photos and Information About Pearl Harbor
Aerial Photos of Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor Historic Trail
Companies Offering Group Tours of Pearl Harbor
Home of the Brave Tours
Duck Amphibious Vehicle Tours
E Noa Tours
Polynesian Adventure Tours
Roberts Hawaii Tours
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Islands of Hawaii
Hawaii for Visitors
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