Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor


It’s no surprise that Pearl Harbor is the #1 attraction in Hawaii, visited by more than 1.5 million people a year. Located on the southern coast of Oahu, west of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor is a national historic landmark as well as an active naval station. The December 7, 1941 sneak attack on the anchored U.S. Pacific fleet by Japanese planes destroyed 18 ships, including eight battleships and three destroyers and ended 2280 lives. The Sunday morning attack propelled the United States into the Second World War.

There are three must-see sights at Pearl Harbor: USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and the USS Missouri Memorial. The USS Arizona is the final resting place for 1,177 crew members who lost their lives when the battleship sank after being bombed in the December 7th attack. The sunken ship is accessible by a free Navy launch from the visitor center. The memorial itself is haunting and unforgettable.

A floating white platform straddles the Arizona, visible 6 feet below the surface of the water which still bubbles with oil from the ship’s engine room. The back wall lists the names of the lost Arizona crew. The visit is timed to last nine minutes, the shockingly short time it took the battleship to sink. You may find yourself lingering, being one of the last to leave this somber yet fitting memorial. 808/422-2771. www.nps.gov/usar. Daily 7:30 a.m.-5p.m. Free admission. To avoid a long wait get there early to pick up boat launch tickets which are usually gone by noon and do not leave anything valuable in your car. There are signs warning that the free parking is in a high crime area. Tip: call the Arizona Memorial Shuttle @ 808-839-0911, which will pick up passengers from local hotels and take them to the visitor center for a small charge.

The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park has tours of one of the last World War II submarines. See how an 80 man crew lived below its decks and completed nine successful missions against the Japanese. The Museum is next to the USS Arizona Visitor Center. 808/423-1341. www.bowfin.org. Admission: $10 adults, $4 children 4-12 (no children allowed under 4, for safety reasons,) military, senior citizens $7. Admission to the museum only is $5 for adults, $3 for children.

World War II officially ended on September 2, 1945 with the Japanese surrender on the deck of the USS Missouri. The battleship, now a memorial, has six decks to explore.

Guests taking the one hour guided tour also get to experience the assault on Iwo Jima via a flight simulator. 808/423-2263. www.missouri.com. Daily 9a.m.-5 p.m. Ticket window closes at 4 p.m. Admission: $20 for adults with choice of optional tour and $10 for children , ages 4-12, with choice of optional tour. There is also a more comprehensive 90 minute tour available for an additional $25 for adults, $10 for children 10-12. Children must be at least 10 years old for this tour.




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