Last week I was blessed to get to spend some time on the beautiful island of Oahu. This was my second trip to the island and I was thrilled to get to have time on this trip for a visit to Pearl Harbor. I had not done too much research on visiting Pearl Harbor and assumed that you would need to pay to do any and everything there. I found out from my friend who I was traveling with that the first 2,000 people to arrive can get Pearl Harbor free tickets to go to the Arizona Memorial.
We got to Pearl Harbor around 6:45am and there less than fifty people in front of us. We were given the free tickets for the Arizona and decided to purchase tickets to go on the USS Bowfin submarine museum and the Battleship Missouri. AAA members will receive a discount on the Missouri tickets.
When you receive your ticket for the Arizona memorial it will have a time stamped on it. Before loading onto the boat to head to the memorial you will be lead into a theatre to watch a short film on the Pearl Harbor attack. Afterwards you will head out to the Arizona. You are able to purchase audio equipment for your visit, I chose not to but its only about $8 so its worth it if that would interest you. Your time at the memorial is very limited so I would encourage you to make good use of your time there.
A few minutes after we got into the memorial a young man started telling stories about the Arizona but I decided to finish exploring and take all the pictures I wanted before I stopped to listen to him. I’m glad that I chose to do what I wanted first because as soon as he was finished speaking he said it was time for us to reload onto the boat. The memorial rests above the Arizona and it was a shock to me that you can still smell the oil from the ship and will see it in the water below.
After we finished at the Arizona we loaded onto a shuttle and headed to the Battleship Missouri. I have visited the Midway in San Diego and it was a similar experience but I did really like that the Missouri offers a 30 minute tour as part of your ticket admission. Our tour guide was really knowledgable and after he finished the tour we were able to explore the ship on our own. Visiting the Missouri after the Arizona is quite special because you can see where the United States involvement in WWII began and where it ended. The Missouri is where Japan surrendered putting an end to the war.
We explored for a little under an hour and headed back to where we started so that we could explore the USS Bowfin. You do have an option to purchase a ticket for an aviation museum. Before your visit I would encourage you to visit the Pearl Harbor website so that you have an idea of what you want to do before you get there. I would also encourage you to allow about two hours to visit the Missouri and around thirty minutes to visit the Bowfin.
You are not able to bring bags into any of the Pearl Harbor locations. I had an extremely small purse and was made to put it back in the car. Anything that would be large enough to conceal a weapon is forbidden. Also I would encourage you if you can to bring snacks with you or pack a cooler in the car as the food options are very limited. By the Arizona and Bowfin you can get a hot dog or nachos and drinks. Over by the Missouri you can get shave ice and a few other snacks.
Have you visited Pearl Harbor?