Pearl Harbor Visitors' Center

Pearl Harbor Visitors' Center

Description

The events of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 left and indelible mark on the United States and the civil psyche of Hawaii. It is difficult to imagine this peaceful tropical island erupting into a war zone and the fiery hulks of the U.S Pacific fleet sinking sitting docked unaware. A visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitors' Center, the centerpiece of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and its interpretive exhibits gets you deeper into the sites, and history of the historic battle. It is also the place to get tickets to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri, Pacific Aviation Museum, and the U.S.S. Bowfin submarine.

At a Glance:
Highlights: A memorial park, and museum complex on the waterfront of Pearl Harbor commemorating the Battle of Pearl Harbor. From here, shuttles can be taken to visit the various attractions including the boat shuttles to U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
Activity level: Easy, but there can be much waiting in lines
Options: Come early and brave the lines for tickets, or slide in on a pre-booked tour package. IF planning months in advance, go online and pre-book a ticket to the U.S.S. Arizona and avoid the hassles of waiting in lines.  
Cost: Free

Operated by the National Park Service, this visitors center can get up to 2,000 visitors per day. This makes it the most popular attraction on the island, so expect crowds if you choose to go for a visit. The first come first serve line for the various shuttle tickets begins as early as 5:45 a.m., but the Center does not open until 7 am. For those wanting to brave the lines the tickets you receive for standing in line early are actually for boat trips several hours later creating a "waiting" situation that may not fit your vacation plans.

Fret not, as the Pearl Harbor Visitors' Center itself is the attraction that is most easily visited no matter what time of day you go. Beyond the morning lines for tickets and boat shuttles, the crowd steadily rotates through the facilities. There are several museum exhibit buildings and a memorial depicting the battle on-site. Large murals, interpretive videos, and memorabilia depict a Hawaii before and after that fateful day. A walk through these exhibits and a look out at the memorial near the waterfront that shows all the sites of the battle through out the island on a 3-D model of the Oahu will only take about 45 minutes to an hour. IF choosing to do the U.S.S. Arizona, and additional hour plus wait times for boat lines will be needed.

Local's Tip:
These monuments are interesting for some, but not necessarily a "must-see" for all. The crowds can be large here, especially in the first several hours of the day. IF the U.S.S. Arizona IS on your agenda, book a couple of months or more ahead online and save yourself the headache of waiting in the long morning line. IF you would like to visit with less hustle and hassle, try later in the afternoon and make it an hour long stop on your way to other adventures.

* The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

*When visiting the Monument, no bags, purse, backpacks, fanny packs, or large camera bags are allowed. There is a bag check area where you can leave your bags in secure holding for $3 per bag.

Contacts:
Phone: (808) 423-7300
Web: http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

Address:

1 Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, HI 96818

Directions:

  • Travel from Waikiki & Downtown Honolulu:
    • Honolulu is a large metropolitan area. Please plan for traffic. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is approximately a 45-minute drive from Waikiki. Take Ala Moana Blvd./Nimitz Highway or H-1 West to begin. While on H-1, look for exit 15A, marked "Arizona Mem./Stadium". Note: Do not take the "Hickam AFB/Pearl Harbor" exit. This will take you to the active military base, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, not to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Once you take exit 15A, continue on HI-99 (Kamehameha Highway) and turn left at the 4th traffic light onto Arizona Memorial Place. At the base of the hill, turn right to find parking in one of our available lots. Please park before unloading.
  • Travel from West Oahu - Ewa, Kapolei, Waianae
    • Take H-1 East to begin. Take exit 13A toward Aiea onto Moanalua Road; stay in the far right lane and take the "Stadium/Aiea" exit. Continue on Moanalua Road and turn left at first stoplight onto HI-99 East (Kamehameha Highway). Continue on HI-99 (Kamehameha Highway) and turn right onto Arizona Memorial Place. At the base of the hill, turn right to find parking in one of our available lots. Please park before unloading.
  • Travel from East Oahu - Kaneohe, Kailua
    • Take H-3 West. Take exit 1C towards Halawa/Camp Smith/Aiea/Stadium, then turn left on Kahuapaani Street. Follow signs for Stadium/Honolulu. Turn right on Salt Lake Blvd. Continue following signs for Stadium. Turn left on HI-99 East (Kamehameha Highway). Continue on HI-99 (Kamehameha Highway) and turn right onto Arizona Memorial Place. At the base of the hill, turn right to find parking in one of our available lots. Please park before unloading.
  • Travel from North Oahu - North Shore, Haleiwa
    • Start on HI-99 and continue on HI-80. Continue on HI-99 South. Take H-2 South toward Honolulu. Head toward Honolulu and take exit 1A onto H-1 East. Take exit 13A toward Aiea onto Moanalua Road; stay in the far right lane and take the "Stadium/Aiea" exit. Continue on Moanalua Road and turn left at first stoplight onto HI-99 East (Kamehameha Highway). Continue on HI-99 (Kamehameha Highway) and turn right onto Arizona Memorial Place. At the base of the hill, turn right to find parking in one of our available lots. Please park before unloading.

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