A traveler’s guide to visiting the USS Arizona Memorial

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Categorized as Oahu Vacation Information

Anyone staying in a Oahu vacation rental should consider taking a trip to the USS Arizona Memorial if they haven’t been before. Located in Honolulu, this area is at iconic Pearl Harbor, the naval base that suffered a terrible tragedy on Dec. 7, 1941, signaling the involvement of the U.S. in World War II. Today, this national monument serves as a symbol of appreciation for all those who have fought to preserve our freedom, as well as a reminder to observe the history and integrity of servicemen and women who lost their lives on that unfortunate day. There are also many incredible opportunities to learn more about our military history by touring the facilities and exhibits here. Take a look at this guide to making the most of your visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.

Security measures

While the USS Arizona Memorial is a historical landmark, there is still an active military base being operated within this location. Because of this, no bags of any kind are allowed on the premises, including purses, backpacks, luggage, fanny packs or any type of container. While other personal items such as wallets, cellphones and cameras are permitted into the memorial, if you do bring a bag, you’ll have to keep it in your rental car or leave it at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center storage facility for a cost of $3 per bag.

“Day-off tickets are issued on a first come, first serve basis.”

Admission and entrance

Admission into the USS Arizona Memorial is completely free, but it’s highly recommended that you reserve tickets in advance through their website. Entrance works on a first come, first serve basis, and only 1,300 walk-in tickets are available each day. You can reserve tickets up to two months in advance, and if you decide to test your luck with the walk-in tickets, you should try to get there as early as possible to guarantee entry. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center opens at 7:00 a.m., and tickets can only be obtained in person. Visitors can expect that weekends, holidays and especially sunny days will be completely busy, which is why reserving tickets online in advance is always a smart decision. Upon receiving your ticket, you may also have to wait a few hours before receiving the tour, as admittance is provided through groups, not all at once.

Respect the facilities

While touring the premises is certainly a means for inspiration and learning opportunities, it’s important to remember that the primary purpose of the USS Arizona Memorial is to respect, honor and remember the fallen soldiers and personnel who died during the Pearl Harbor attack. With this in mind, making sure you’re wearing a respectable attire, avoiding talking too loudly to your group or on the phone and generally having awareness of being modest are important to preserving the history here. Essentially, this is not meant to be a trip of overt entertainment and excitement, and more of a tour of reflection and recognition for anyone who has served to protect our country from harm.

The tour

The official tour of the USS Arizona Memorial is approximately 75 minutes long. First, you’ll enter the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, where there are a number of attractions to check out before you embark on your tour, such as strolling through the bookstore or looking at all the various exhibits. Once the tour begins, you’ll first be taken to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater, where you’ll be treated with a 23-minute documentary that details the importance of the naval base prior to the attack, as well as a review of the series of events that unfolded on December 7.

The memorial features many pictures of the USS Arizona during its prime. The memorial features many pictures of the USS Arizona during its prime.

After the film is over, visitors are then escorted on a Navy-operated shuttle boat ride to the official USS Arizona Memorial. There are three primary areas available to tour upon arrival, which include the Entry Room, Assembly Room and the Shrine Room. You can walk around each facility at your own leisure while also taking a look into the waters below, where the sunken USS Arizona still remains. The Shrine Room is where you’ll find the large marble wall where all the names of the 1,177 sailors and marines who died there are honored, as well as brave men and women who survived the attack.

Other available tour guides

In addition to seeing the underwater remains of the USS Arizona, there are a few other sites available to tour around the memorial. Once you arrive back at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, you can check out the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, where you can learn more about the famous submarine nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” which sunk an estimated 44 enemy ships during its war patrols. 

You can also take a tour of the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and additional tickets for this can be purchased at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. A ticket will grant you shuttle boat access over to Ford Island, where there are multiple tours available, ranging from audio and visual experiences to self-explorative opportunities. These tours will enlighten you to all the historical and technological achievements the USS Missouri experienced during the war. Ford Island is also the home of the USS Oklahoma Memorial, a battleship originally built during WWI that was also sunk during the Pearl Harbor Attack. Anyone interested in learning more about our nation’s history during one of its most enduring conflicts will need to take a trip out to any one of these informative memorials during their time spent at a Oahu vacation rental

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