Things To Know About Pearl Harbor
Planning Your Visit
The nearest airport to Pearl Harbor is the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), which is located in Honolulu, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) east of Pearl Harbor. From the airport, visitors can take a taxi, rental car, or public transportation to reach Pearl Harbor.
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is also home to a number of exhibits, a bookstore, and a snack shop, which are open during the same hours as the visitor center. However, it's important to note that the hours of operation are subject to change, so visitors are advised to check the official website or call ahead before planning their visit.
If you're interested in exploring the area around Pearl Harbor, you may also want to check out our article about places to stay near Pearl Harbor, which provides more detailed information on the different types of accommodations available in the area, including hotels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts.
Keep in mind that Hawaii is a popular tourist destination, and accommodations can book up quickly, especially during peak travel times. So, it's a good idea to book your accommodations in advance to ensure availability and get the best possible rates.
There are many things to do near Pearl Harbor and in the surrounding areas of Oahu. Here are some popular attractions and activities to consider (list 3 things to do nearby from our article):
- USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park: This museum features the USS Bowfin, a submarine that was launched in 1942 and completed nine patrols during World War II. Visitors can explore the submarine and learn about the experiences of the crew.
- Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor: This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of aviation in the Pacific region. It features exhibits on World War II aircraft, as well as a flight simulator and a restoration shop.
- Waikiki Beach: This famous beach is located in Honolulu and is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.
For more ideas on things to do near Pearl Harbor, check out our article about things to do near Pearl Harbor, which provides more detailed information on attractions, activities, and events in the area.
However, there is a fee for the USS Arizona Memorial program, which includes a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor and a boat ride to the memorial itself. You can view prices and reserve your tickets in advance here.
What To Expect
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial site offers several activities and exhibits for visitors to explore. Here are some of the things you can do:
- USS Arizona Memorial program: This program includes a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial, which is built over the remains of the battleship USS Arizona, where 1,177 crew members lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The program also includes a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor, which provides historical context and background information about the events of December 7, 1941. You do need to purchase a reservation for this program here.
- Exhibits: The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center features several exhibits, including the Road to War and Attack galleries, which provide a comprehensive look at the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath.
- Guided Tours: The National Park Service offers guided tours of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial program. These tours provide additional insight and historical context for the events of December 7, 1941. You can visit our page on guided tours to learn more.
- Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center: This center offers a virtual reality experience that allows visitors to explore the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri, and other locations at Pearl Harbor in a 360-degree immersive environment.
- Junior Ranger Program: The Junior Ranger program is a fun and educational activity for children, allowing them to learn about the history of Pearl Harbor while earning a Junior Ranger badge.
There are many other activities and exhibits to explore at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial site, and visitors are encouraged to take their time and explore at their own pace.
Guided tours are led by National Park Service rangers or authorized tour operators.
Guided tours may include a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as visits to other significant sites in the area, such as the USS Missouri, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Some tours may also include transportation to and from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, as well as other amenities such as lunch or admission to other attractions.
You can view our list of the best guided tours here.
- USS Arizona Memorial program: The program itself takes approximately 75 minutes, including a 23-minute documentary film, a 10-minute boat ride to the memorial, and time to explore the memorial itself.
- Pearl Harbor Visitor Center exhibits: Visitors can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours exploring the exhibits, depending on their level of interest.
- Additional sites: If you plan to visit other sites in the area, such as the USS Missouri, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, or the Pacific Aviation Museum, you should plan to spend additional time at each of these sites.
Currently the USS Utah is not accessible to the general public. It can only be visited by those with Military ID who drive themselves to Ford Island. Learn more about the USS Utah HERE.
Memorial Site Guidelines
If your camera is a larger camera, the security team may inspect it.
No commercial filming is allowed unless you obtain a permit.
There are restrictions on what types of bags are allowed at Pearl Harbor National Memorial, including the USS Arizona Memorial program and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. This is in order to ensure the safety and security of all visitors.
The bag policy at Pearl Harbor is as follows:
- Bags are not allowed on the USS Arizona Memorial: Visitors are not allowed to bring any bags, purses, or backpacks into the memorial itself. This includes camera bags, diaper bags, and other types of bags. Visitors may carry their wallets, cameras, and cell phones, but these items must be carried in a clear plastic bag provided by the National Park Service, or left in secure storage at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
- Bags are allowed at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center: Visitors are allowed to bring bags, purses, and backpacks into the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. However, all bags are subject to search by security personnel. Visitors should be prepared to have their bags searched before entering the Visitor Center.
- Prohibited items: There are several items that are not allowed at Pearl Harbor National Memorial, including weapons, explosives, fireworks, and other dangerous items. Visitors should check the National Park Service website for a full list of prohibited items before visiting.
It's recommended that visitors pack light and leave unnecessary items at home or in their car to make the security screening process faster and more efficient.
Pearl Harbor History
Today, the USS Arizona Memorial is a national monument that honors the memory of those who lost their lives on board the ship. The memorial is built over the remains of the sunken battleship and is visited by millions of people each year. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the sailors and soldiers during the attack on Pearl Harbor and throughout World War II.
The attack led to the immediate entry of the United States into World War II, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt declaring war on Japan the following day, December 8, 1941. Germany and Italy then declared war on the United States on December 11, 1941, and the United States became fully engaged in the war effort. The United States' entry into the war greatly increased the resources and manpower available to the Allies, which played a significant role in the eventual defeat of the Axis powers. Thus, the attack on Pearl Harbor is considered to be a major turning point in World War II.
Officially, 2,403 U.S. personnel were killed on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.
Cordell Hull was an American politician who served as the 43rd United States Secretary of State from 1933 to 1944 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He is best known for his role in the establishment of the United Nations and in the development of the Bretton Woods monetary system. Hull also played a pivotal role in promoting progressive legislation, such as the Social Security Act, during his tenure in Congress.
Hull was a vocal advocate of the United States taking a leading role in international affairs of the world, and he had worked hard to create an agreement with Japan in an effort to avoid war. Unfortunately, these efforts failed and the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred.