USS Arizona Memorial – Pearl Harbor Tours
A trip to Oahu is not complete without visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. If you want to visit Pearl Harbor there are three ways to make the visit more enjoyable:
1) Arrive Early – Plan to arrive at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center gate by 6:30 a.m. There are a limited number of tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial and they go fast. Doors open at 7:00 am and by 7:30 a.m. the lines are usually gone and so are the tickets. Tickets are free, and one person in your party can get up to 10 tickets.
2) Reserve your USS Arizona Memorial tickets online up to 6 months in advance with a $1.50 service fee.
Pearl Harbor Tip: If you are going to Pearl Harbor on your own instead or with a Pearl Harbor Tour do not set your GPS to Pearl Harbor or you will end up at security gate at Pearl Harbor instead of at the Visitor Center.
To me the obvious choice was to reserve Pearl Harbor Tours. I was picked up in Waikiki and hopped aboard a comfortable tour bus for the Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial City Tour. Before we headed to Pearl Harbor we took a tour of Honolulu and saw sights such King Kamehameha Statue, State Capitol and Washington Place, Iolani Palace and Chinatown.
Next we headed to Pearl Harbor. We were given tickets with a time stamped on them telling us what time we would board the shuttle to go to the USS Arizona Memorial. We had about an hour before the shuttle to walk the grounds and explore the museums.
Audio Tours featuring Jamie Lee Curtis are available for rent. I took advantage of this option and I highly recommend it. It is filled with interesting facts and information that goes along with specific sites along the waterfront as well as the free museums at the Visitor Center. Be sure to spend some time in the museums – they are filled with interesting facts and artifacts from the attacks.
I lined up outside Memorial Theatre about 5 minutes before my tour time. Before going to the USS Arizona Memorial we watched a 23 minute film about the attack on Pearl Harbor. After the film everyone was quiet and somber as we boarded the shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial.
As we approached the USS Arizona Memorial it was very emotional. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 catapulted the United States into World War II. Over 3,500 Americans were killed or wounded that morning, including 1,177 who died when the USS Arizona exploded and sank in the harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial spans 184 feet above the mid-section of the sunken USS Arizona.
You can still see oil in the water. It is referred to as the tears of the soldiers.
After we spent some time on the USS Arizona Memorial we rode the shuttle back and had some time to finish exploring before we returned to the Pearl Harbor Tour Bus. We drove through Punchbowl Cemetery before returning to Waikiki.
Hawaii Discount offers a variety of Pearl Harbor Tours from Pearl Harbor Tours of Honolulu and the USS Arizona Memorial to Pearl Harbor Tours that include Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, Punchbowl and Downtown Honolulu! Hawaii Discount offers a WWII Pearl Harbor Heroes Adventure that includes USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, USS Bowfin, Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Missouri. Hawaii Discount also offers a Pearl Harbor Tour that includes the Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Arizona & Punchbowl. No matter what you are looking for Hawaii Discount has the perfect Pearl Harbor Tours for you.
Tips for Visiting Pearl Harbor:
- Hawaii Discount’s Pearl Harbor Tours take the worry out of your vacation. Relax and take in the sights instead of waking extra early on your vacation trying to get Pearl Harbor Tickets before they are sold out!
- Do not bring any bags. Bags are not allowed due to the security of these national monuments. For a fee you can leave your bags at a storage area. You are allowed to bring your wallet, cell phone and cameras. After entering the Visitor Center I bought a reusable shopping bag at the gift shop to carry my cameras, cell phone and wallet.
- The memorial is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- If you are vacationing on one of the other Hawaiian Islands, you can take a day trip to visit Pearl Harbor. Hawaii Discount offers one day Pearl Harbor Tours from Maui, from the Big Island and from Kauai.
Have you ever been to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial? How would you describe the experience?