Frequently Asked Questions

Tours

There are occasions when the boats do not visit the Arizona Memorial. This can happen as a result of weather conditions, boat mechanical problems, or safety issues at the memorial. If we know in advance that this is happening, then we will do our best to notify you before your tour.

 

Boarding the Arizona Memorial is only one part of a visit to Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor visitors center, museums, movies, and exhibits are all part of the experience.  We feel that it is still worth visiting Pearl Harbor.

 

Tour companies do not provide refunds if the Navy boats do not take guests to the Arizona Memorial. It is out of the control of tour companies.

 

Sometimes, during closures that are not related to wind or boat maintenance, the boats will go near the memorial, but not board the memorial. In these cases, guests may still board boats to the memorial and float past it. They will also be able to see the battleship’s remnants. But they won’t be able to disembark the boats and walk on the memorial. Since there is no extra fee for the boat ride, there are no refunds if this happens. Existing cancellation policies apply.

Transportation to and from Pearl Harbor and the driver guide’s narration are private. The program at Pearl Harbor is subject to the rules of the National Park and Navy and is not private.

Tours do not offer airport drop offs so please plan accordingly.  You can either take a taxi/uber from Pearl Harbor straight to the airport (please let your driver know) or you can get dropped off in Waikiki and arrange transportation to the airport from there.

Many people will look at the cost of the inter-island tours and think that it is cheaper to book their own flights. It may be cheaper, but there are some important advantages to booking an inter-island tour package.

 

When you book an inter-island tour package, if your flight is delayed, we will adjust your tour to accommodate a new schedule.

 

You may book your own flights and want to meet the tour, either at the airport or in Waikiki. However, if there is a flight delay and you miss your pick up, you will forfeit the tour. It would be considered a no-show, which is non-refundable.

 

Additionally, if your tour is delayed due to traffic or other delays, the tour company is not responsible if you miss your flight. However, if you have booked an inter-island tour package, the tour company will take responsibility to return you to the airport in time for your flight or adjust your flight time.

 

Inter-island Tour Airport Pick up

 

When you book an inter-island tour, your tour will be scheduled for when your flight lands. When you book your flights on your own and choose an airport pick up you will be picked up after the bus has finished picking up guests in Waikiki.  That may work out to a short wait, but depending on your flight arrival time, you could be waiting at the airport for an extended period.

 

As you can see there are many benefits to booking an inter-island tour package. So why do we offer airport pick up? There are many guests who arrange a layover in Honolulu after visiting a neighboring island. Those guests cannot book an inter-island tour because they will not be on a round trip flight between islands. We can help make the most of a layover with a tour.

If you made an order and have not yet received an email with your confirmation, please let us know. We would be happy to resend your confirmation.

 

There are a few reasons why you might not have received your tour confirmation.

 

  1. (Most Common) It is in your spam folder.
  2. You entered your email address wrong. This happens often. To check this, see if you received a receipt after ordering. If so, then we should have your correct email address.
  3. We have not completed your confirmation yet. Some reservations take longer depending on availability and scheduling.

 

Has it been 24 hours? We would love to have your confirmation back to you immediately, but occasionally it takes some time. If it has been 24 hours, please contact us and we will get back to you right away.

 

Contact us by emailing aloha@pearlharbor.org

Guests staying in Waikiki are picked up at their hotel or at a nearby hotel. Tour pick-up locations are within a 5-minute walk from your hotel.

 

After you book your tour, we will email you a confirmation with the specific pick-up location and time. Your confirmation will also have instructions regarding your pick-up including the location, time, and vehicle description.

 

If you have trouble walking and require additional accommodations, please advise us before booking. You may write “wheelchair” in the booking notes field. When doing so please specify if you are able to walk up a few steps or require a wheelchair lift.

 

For Inter-Island tours, the tour pick-up point will be upon arrival at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). Again, your tour voucher will have specific instructions about the Tour pick-up.

Most Pearl Harbor Tours depart from Waikiki.  If you are staying in a private residence or at a hotel outside of Waikiki there are other options.

 

Sometimes it makes sense to drive or get a ride to Waikiki and start your tour from there. Most guests either park at the Honolulu Zoo or at Ala Moana Shopping Center. If you plan to go shopping or eat at the Shopping Center after your tour, Ala Moana Shopping Center is a good choice. The pick-up will be across the street at the Ala Moana Hotel or the nearby Ilikai Hotel.

 

Tour companies are NOT allowed to meet guests at Pearl Harbor.

 

Kahala and East Oahu

 

The best option for those staying on the windward side of Oahu (Kailua, Kaneohe) or on the East side (Hawaii Kai) is to take a tour from Waikiki. Simply state in the notes during checkout that you will meet us at the Twin Fin Hotel - Public Parking is available at the Honolulu Zoo on Kapahulu Ave.

 

Ko’olina & Aulani Disney Resort

 

If you are staying at Koolina, including the Disney Resort Aulani, Waikiki is out of your way. But you are in luck. We now have tours available from Koolina.

 

Remember Pearl Harbor Tour from Ko Olina (Thursday & Saturday)

Pearl Harbor Excursion from Ko Olina (Wednesday & Sunday)

 

North Shore

 

You can drive or take a taxi to Waikiki to start the tour. If you would like to be picked up at the Ala Moana Hotel or Honolulu Zoo, please indicate so on the checkout page.

 

Booking a tour when not staying in Waikiki

 

If you are staying in a vacation rental outside of Waikiki, you can indicate so on the checkout page. You can drive or take a taxi to Waikiki to start the tour. If you would like to be picked up at the Ala Moana Hotel or Honolulu Zoo, please indicate so on the checkout page.

 

What if I haven’t booked a hotel yet?

 

You can still book your tour. It is not necessary to wait until you have hotel reservations. In the meantime, you can list any hotel. For example, the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  Once your hotel arrangements are finalized, you can contact us to make the change to your reservation.

 

If you end up changing your plans, you can cancel your reservation. Most of our tours have a simple cancellation policy.  Only inter-island tours are non-refundable because they include flights.

 

Inter-Island Tours

 

We also offer tours from Maui, Big Island (Kona), and Kauai.  The Inter-Island tours include round-trip flights, airport pick-ups, and everything that the other tours offer.

 

Staying on Maui?

Staying on The Big Island of Hawaii?

Staying on Kauai?

In general, it is always wise to book tours and activities in Hawaii ahead of your arrival. Too many visitors wait until they’ve left home to make reservations only to find tours are sold out.

 

Today research can be done easily in advance. We have all the answers to your questions about Pearl Harbor.

 

Cancelling is Easy

 

We have a very simple cancellation policy. As soon as you have your flights to Hawaii you might as well reserve your Pearl Harbor Tour. If your plans change, you can simply rely on our cancellation policy.

 

If something comes up, we are here to help. Maybe you want to add additional guests, change dates, or make another change.  Contact us and we will work with you to make your trip a great experience.

 

Keep in mind, tours with flights are non-refundable, but those are also the most important to book in advance. They are most likely to sell out or increase in price if you wait.

 

Low Prices

 

Some people wait to book until they arrive thinking that they will get a better price. There are no last-minute rates on Pearl Harbor Tours. The price that you pay on pearlharbor.org is the same or lower than the rate that you will pay at your hotel or elsewhere.

 

If a company claims to offer discount Pearl Harbor Tours, you should be suspicious. It most likely involves a timeshare presentation or an unauthorized, uninsured shuttle company.  We offer the best rates on Pearl Harbor Tours.

 

Another Reason to Book Ahead

 

There is something that happens when you come to our islands. We call it paradise paralysis. You begin relaxing and don’t get around to all of the things that you had in mind. You just lay at the beach and an entire day goes by and you never get around to booking your Pearl Harbor Tour.

 

If you have an agenda ahead of time with your tours booked, you will be able to avoid paradise paralysis. You will be sure that you see the sights that you want without any stress on your holiday. Book in advance!

Pearl Harbor is located on Oahu, but if you are staying on a neighboring island, we have Pearl Harbor tours from MauiKauai, and the Big Island to Pearl Harbor.

 

These tours include round-trip airfare and pick-up from Honolulu International Airport, which is only 10 minutes from Pearl Harbor. Often referred to as One-day Tours or Inter-Island Tours, a Pearl Harbor Tour from Maui, Kauai, or Hawaii, the Big Island is the best way to see this important site.

 

Inter-island tours are primarily on jets with a flight time of 25 – 40 minutes.  There are no boats or ferries offering tours between the islands.

 

Lunch is not included however there are places to eat on site. The narrated portion of the tours begin after you are picked up at Honolulu International airport.

 

There are no one-day Pearl Harbor tours available from Hilo. If you are staying in Hilo or near the Volcano on Hawaii, the Big Island, you will need to drive to Kona for a one-day tour.  Tours on the Big Island depart from Kona.

 

Currently, Pearl Harbor tours are not offered from the islands of Molokai or Lanai. However, visitors to these islands can arrange a private tour on Oahu that includes airport pick-up.

This is a good question and as you might expect which Pearl Harbor Tour depends on what you are interested in seeing.

 

If you are really into history, choose the tour that includes the most sites.

 

If Pearl Harbor is a site you feel like you have to visit but doesn’t interest you very much, choose a short tour.  But be ready to have your mind changed as Pearl Harbor is a moving place with fascinating sites and stories.

 

One easy way to see the differences in the tours is to look at the Pearl Harbor Tour Comparison Chart.

A tour of Pearl Harbor does NOT include:

 

  • Gratuity – All tours in Hawaii do not include gratuity unless stated otherwise. Tour guides work for tips, so please consider the effort that they put into your safety and entertainment as you depart your tour.
  • Food & Beverage – Some tours include lunch, however, most do not. Be sure to check the inclusions on the tour pages to see if your tour includes food and beverages.
  • Photos – At various locations throughout your tour you will have the opportunity to take a professional photo. You can purchase those photos as a souvenir. They are not included. However, if you would like your guide to take your photo with your camera, just ask and he/she will be happy to do so.
  • Baggage storage – You should avoid bringing any bags to Pearl Harbor because they will be in storage for the entire time and you will have to pay the storage fee. See more about Pearl Harbor Baggage Policy.

 

Please review the specific Pearl Harbor Tours to see which sites are included.  Admissions to the sites are included in each Pearl Harbor Tour. Things that are included can be found on each tour page’s What’s Included section.

Generally, guides do not accompany visitors on the USS Arizona Memorial or the shuttle boat to the memorial. It is a place for solemn remembrance of the men who died for their country.

 

The National Park discourages guides from accompanying visitors to the memorial to keep the volume down and allow visitors to pay respect without distraction.

You can find the details of our cancellation policy here.

Touring Pearl Harbor could mean a lot of things. For our purposes, we are referring to the sightseeing tours of the historical sites and museums at Pearl Harbor. Remember, Pearl Harbor is an active Navy Base.

 

The most popular thing to see at Pearl Harbor is the Arizona Memorial. A visit to the memorial is part of every program as well as a 23 minute film about the attack. This program is 75 minutes long. The shortest tour to Pearl Harbor is the 5 hour Pearl Harbor Excursion Tour. All of the other tours include this program, but add other sites such as the USS Missouri, Bowfin Submarine, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Those Pearl Harbor Tours take from 6 to 13 hours.

 

Pearl Harbor can also be visited as part of an island tour. For those who are only mildly interested in WWII history, but want to see the island, we recommend the Pearl Harbor & Oahu Island Tour. That tour spends approximately 3 hours at Pearl Harbor.  Other similar Combo Tours are available.

 

For more information on How Long Does it Take to Tour Pearl Harbor? look at the individual Pearl Harbor Tours.

It was once possible to take a boat tour to Pearl Harbor and see the Arizona Memorial from the water. Now commercial vessels are not allowed in the harbor. The change in policy was made after September 11, 2001. At that time security of all military bases was heightened.

 

The rules remain in effect and the only way to see the Arizona Memorial from the water is on the Navy boat shuttle that is part of the Pearl Harbor program. That is included on every Pearl Harbor Tour.

 

If you have a friend who owns a boat that is harbored in Pearl Harbor, you may sail in the harbor, but those boats are not allowed near the Arizona Memorial.

 

Even when boat tours were allowed in Pearl Harbor, they did not stop at the Arizona Memorial to let people out. Most visitors made another trip to Pearl Harbor to join the official tour that boarded the memorial.

 

While tour boats in Pearl Harbor aren’t allowed, you may ride this boat to visit the Arizona Memorial.

Visiting

You can bring a stroller to Pearl Harbor. Please keep in mind that you cannot take it everywhere. Strollers are allowed in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, but not in the theaters or on shuttle boats to the USS Arizona Memorial.

 

While you are in the theater you can park your stroller outside and pick it up when you get back from the Arizona Memorial. While there is no guarantee that it will be monitored while you are gone for those 75 minutes, it will be stored in an area where the Park Rangers are stationed.

 

If you bring a stroller to Pearl Harbor, do not try to stuff your stroller full of items. Security policies do not allow bags. Strollers, however, can hold items in the built-in storage areas. If you have a diaper bag in your stroller you will not be able to enter with that bag, however, you can put diapers in your stroller. You can also put food, wipes, and powder in your stroller.

If you are looking to visit Pearl Harbor at your own leisure, you can purchase the Passport to Pearl Harbor. It is a self guided tour allowing you to enjoy Pearl Harbor anytime between 7:00 AM - 5:00 PM. We recommend giving yourself at least an hour for each Museum, however you can adjust your time to suit your interests.

 

The Passport includes:
- Admission to the USS Missouri Battleship
- Admission to the Pacific Aviation Museum and Audio Tour
- Admission to the USS Bowfin Submarine and Audio Tour
- The Audio Tour for the Arizona Memorial

 

The Passports do not include the boat ride ticket to the USS Arizona Memorial. Please visit the National Park Service at: recreation.gov. to reserve your boat ride tickets.

Cameras are allowed at Pearl Harbor. You can take photos everywhere EXCEPT on the Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island.

 

Cameras allowed at Pearl Harbor include video cameras. However, if you bring a camera that is larger than standard, security may need to inspect it. You will also be questioned about filming commercially, which is prohibited without a permit.

 

Keep in mind you can only take what you can fit in your pockets and a camera that you can carry in your hands. While cameras are allowed at Pearl Harbor, camera bags are prohibited. So if you are into using different lenses, you will need to choose your favorite before heading to Pearl Harbor.

 

Right now selfie sticks are still allowed, but that may change. We’ve seen plenty of people bump into each other with selfie sticks. If you use them, be careful.

 

Take the Camera with you. Leave the bag at your hotel.

Sorry, but purses fall under the category of bags. The rule is any bag or container that provides concealment.

 

You can put essentials into a small clear plastic bag to take with you. This is a bag that has been accepted by security.

 

We highly recommend wearing clothing with pockets for your essentials.

 

If you have a medical need, notify the staff at the security checkpoint.

 

Here is an example of an approved clear stadium style bag

 

A storage facility operated by the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is available in the immediate area of the entrance to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. There is a nominal storage fee of $7 per small bag and $10 for larger pieces. The storage facility is in operation daily from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors may use the same bag storage for visits to all Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. We highly recommend that you do not bring bags.

There is no official Pearl Harbor dress code, but rangers reserve the right to ask visitors to leave if they are dressed inappropriately.

 

What is inappropriate dress?

 

Bathing suits and profane t-shirts are inappropriate. Shirts are required and showing excessive skin is inappropriate.

 

Remember that Pearl Harbor is a site of a tremendous loss of life in service to our country. Many of the men of the USS Arizona are still on the ship. You don’t need to dress as if you are going to a cemetery, but you should be respectful.

 

Sandals are permissible. Flip flops, or as we refer to them in Hawaii, slippahs, are also acceptable.

 

Suggestions for what to wear at Pearl Harbor

 

If you read the Pearl Harbor Dress and Attire Policy, you are aware that you cannot take bags or purses. Instead, clever visitors wear clothing like cargo shorts with pockets to hold their belongings. While this policy could be changed, it is currently allowed.

 

We also suggest you bring a jacket.  Often people imagine that Hawaii has only one temperature, but it can get chilly and can rain. You do not want to miss out on the outdoor exhibits if it is raining. A rain jacket will make your trip more comfortable. Also if you find the theater cold you may put on your jacket.

 

Military

Military visitors to the National Monument are within the boundary of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and military regulations relating to military dress are enforced by Navy personnel. Per the Pacific Commander, military visitors in uniform are required to dress in Class “B” or better in order to gain access to the shuttle boats to the USS Arizona Memorial. Battle dress uniform is not allowed on the USS Arizona Memorial, though it is allowed throughout the visitor center and at sites on Ford Island. Military visitors are welcome to wear civilian clothes when they visit.

Pearl Harbor Visitors Center

 

The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is very accessible for visitors with disabilities.

 

There is reserved accessible parking in the front lot, which is a short distance from the entrance.

 

The restrooms, movie theater, exhibit galleries, bookstore, information desk and drinking fountains, Navy shuttle boats, and all three rooms of the USS Arizona Memorial are all fully accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.

 

The facilities are spread out and benches are located throughout the area to allow those challenged by walking an opportunity to rest.

 

Please note: Pearl Harbor does not offer wheelchairs, except in emergencies.

 

If you require a wheelchair, we suggest you arrange one from a third-party rental company before your visit.

 

For visitors with hearing impairments, the documentary shown in the theater is fully captioned (in English). There is an induction loop for use with hearing aids.

 

Visually impaired visitors will find signage in braille in addition to tactile models of various interpretive resources throughout the site. Please click here for a braille-ready file (BRF), which is a digital copy of an embossed braille booklet transcribed from the park brochure.

 

Medical Concerns

 

There are no doctors or nurses on-site. EMS is available and a hospital is nearby.

 

If you have read the security measures, you are aware that no bags or items that offer concealment are allowed at Pearl Harbor. However, if you have a medical need, such as medicine that you need to bring to the park, notify the staff at the security checkpoint. In addition, please let your tour guide and a park ranger know if you have any special needs.

 

Arizona Memorial

 

The Arizona Memorial is wheelchair accessible and there is a ramp from the Navy shuttle boat to the memorial.

 

Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

 

The museum and park are completely wheelchair accessible. There are two wheelchair-accessible restrooms on-site. The historic submarine is not accessible. In fact, it can be difficult to explore for those with limited mobility. The stairs are quite steep and designed for young sailors.

 

Guide dogs, hearing dogs, and assistance dogs are welcome in areas of the Museum and Park.

 

Battleship Missouri Memorial

 

The Battleship Missouri is wheelchair accessible.  The Battleship Missouri Memorial has wheelchairs available for visitors to check out at the main entrance.

 

There are two elevators to the battleship. Visitors in wheelchairs can explore the main deck and the surrender deck. Some parts of the historic ship are inaccessible to wheelchairs because they require steep ladders or high thresholds.

 

Restrooms, Slider’s Grill, and the Victory Store are all accessible to wheelchairs.

 

For hearing-impaired visitors, an AcoustiGuide script is available at no additional charge.

 

Pacific Aviation Museum

 

Wheelchairs can access all parts of the Pacific Aviation Museum including the hangars, shop, restaurant, and restroom.

 

How to book a tour with Handicap Accessibility

 

Simply make a note when you get to the checkout. Tell us if you are bringing a wheelchair, if it is collapsible and you can step into the vehicle, or if you require a lift. Tell us if you have a hearing or vision impairment.

 

We do not have wheelchairs for rent, but there are many third-party wheelchair rental services on Oahu.

 

We can arrange ADA vehicles with a wheelchair lift. You will also find that our tour guides are very helpful to those who need extra assistance.

What most people mean by Pearl Harbor tickets is the 75-minute National Park program that includes a 23-minute historical film and a round-trip boat ride to board the Arizona Memorial.

 

To clarify, those are Arizona Memorial tickets. Pearl Harbor has many tickets in addition to the Arizona Memorial including tickets for the Battleship Missouri, the Pacific Aviation Museum, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum.

 

How do I get all of these Pearl Harbor Tickets?

 

Tickets to each site are included on Pearl Harbor Tours that include those sites.  For example, if you purchase the Remember Pearl Harbor Tour it visits both the Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri. Tickets/admission to both sites are included with the tour.

 

If you just want to get Arizona Memorial tickets, you can buy a Pearl Harbor & City Tour, which includes round-trip transportation from Waikiki and the Arizona Memorial Tickets. The City Tour portion is on the way back from Pearl Harbor.

 

If you have your own transportation and do not want to go on a tour, you can purchase tickets in advance with the Official Passport to Pearl Harbor. The Passport to Pearl Harbor includes admissions and audio tours of all the museums on site. The USS Arizona Memorial is not included with the Passport to Pearl Harbor. The boat ticket required to visit the USS Arizona Memorial is free, and can be acquired by joining a standby line on the day you arrive, or purchased online for a $1 fee at recreation.gov.

Arizona Memorial tickets are included with all of our Pearl Harbor Tours. There is a special system for authorized tour companies to reserve your tickets in advance so you do not have to wait in line at Pearl Harbor.

 

Some guests prefer to visit Pearl Harbor on their own. They arrive before 6 am to ensure that they have a chance to get some of the limited tickets that are reserved for those without advanced reservations.  Individuals may also reserve tickets in advance on recreation.gov. Keep in mind this does not include a guide or transportation.

 

You may have heard rumors about waiting in line for hours in the sun or rain. This was true before the reservation system was implemented. Every day hundreds of people would line up and wait until Pearl Harbor opened its doors and handed each person a ticket one at a time.  Often, visitors who showed up at 7:15 am would find out that all of the tickets for the day were gone.

 

Fortunately, that is no longer necessary thanks to Arizona Memorial ticket reservations. It does still happen though that someone may arrive in the busy summer season at 7:15 am and find out that the walk-up Arizona Memorial Tickets have all been handed out.

 

For that reason, we strongly suggest making a tour reservation in advance and ensuring that you get your Arizona Memorial tickets and can enjoy the entire Pearl Harbor Experience.

So you arrived at Pearl Harbor ready to experience one of the most important days in our nation’s history only to find out that it is super crowded and there are no tickets to Arizona Memorial left. If it makes you feel any better, you are not the first person to go through this. It is quite common.

 

The number of tickets to Arizona Memorial is limited. It involves a movie about the attack in a theater with limited seats and a boat ride to the Memorial itself that has only 150 seats. Then the amount of space on the memorial is limited. There is just not enough room for all the people who want to visit.

 

I’m sorry to start with the I told you so, but by booking a tour in advance, you can ensure that this problem won’t happen to you.  So if you aren’t yet on Oahu, be sure to book a tour. Even if you will be there tomorrow.

 

More likely you are reading this and you have arrived at Pearl Harbor and walked up to the ticket booth. The ranger told you that they have already given out the tickets to Arizona Memorial for the day.  Now what?

 

These are your options in the order that I see fit.

 

  1. Ask the ranger if you can join a program if there are no-shows.  Sometimes visitors arrive at Pearl Harbor hours before their program and leave early. For example, they show up at 08:00 and pick up their tickets for a program at 10:30. After looking at the exhibits for an hour, they decide that they don’t want to wait and they leave. You might be lucky enough to get their tickets. To do so you need to ask a ranger specifically if there have been any tickets returned. Tell them that you will check back in 20 minutes. Then walk around.
  2. Ask a tour guide if you can join his tour. Don’t ask if you can buy a ticket. That is against the rules. But they can add you to their tour if they had a no-show. They also might be in contact with other tour guides who have extra tickets.  Most guides return their tickets to the ticket booth if they don’t need them, but it is worth a try.
  3. If the first two don’t work, consider coming back the following day on a Pearl Harbor Tour. If that’s not possible, continue with the options below.
  4. Visit the exhibits. You don’t need tickets to go inside the museums and to walk the grounds. The exhibits are excellent and satisfy the needs of many non-history-buffs. You can spend over an hour enjoying the exhibits. You are at Pearl Harbor, just not at the Arizona memorial.
  5. Tour the other sites at Pearl Harbor. I’ve never seen the Bowfin Submarine, Battleship Missouri, or Pacific Aviation Museum sold out. You have an awesome view of the Arizona Memorial from the bow of the Battleship Missouri.
  6. Again, we preach prevention. Book a pearl harbor tour to ensure you don’t run into the problem that there are no tickets to Arizona Memorial. If it’s too late, we wish you luck.

There are a number of reasons for the increasing number of visitors and for the growing Pearl Harbor popularity.  We’ve been working with Pearl Harbor visitors since the 1990s.  At the time there was only the bowfin submarine and the Arizona Memorial. Now there are more sites and the Pearl Harbor memorials are getting more and more popular.

 

The Battleship Missouri moved to Pearl Harbor in 1998 and became one of the Pearl Harbor Memorials in 1999. It helped to close the war because it was the site of the Japanese surrender.

 

The movie Pearl Harbor brought a big increase in visitors. It was a big blockbuster movie and made Pearl Harbor history more common knowledge. Movies' filming locations are a huge draw for tourists in any destination.

 

September 11, 2001, increased patriotism and increased Pearl Harbor visitors.

 

The Pacific Aviation Museum helped to round out the Pearl Harbor experience for visitors. The stories that the guides tell at the aviation museum are fascinating and have drawn more visitors.

 

Hawaii is a beautiful place with a lot to see and the Pearl Harbor memorials are the number one site in the state for visitors. That does not mean that you have to fight the crowds. Tours are designed to avoid the hassle that you have going at it alone. See our Pearl Harbor tours to make the most of your visit to the Pearl Harbor memorials.

This might be hard to believe, but the USS Arizona Memorial Admission is Free.

 

The reason that it is free is that the Arizona is a cemetery. The men who died on the Arizona are still there.

 

It may sound too good to be true. And as they say, it usually is. One must be very lucky to get boat tickets. There is a limited number of free boat tickets available each day. Most tickets are reserved in advance. Tour companies can reserve tickets in advance allowing them to sell tours and guarantee that you will have an Arizona memorial Admission ticket.

 

When reserving in advance, tour companies pay a reservation fee. That fee is included in the tour price.  For most people, it is worth the cost of the tour to have transportation, guide narration, and guaranteed tickets. Most people only visit once and trying to save money on Arizona Memorial Admission only to have a 4-hour wait is not the way real travelers want to spend their vacation.

The historic sites at Pearl Harbor keep getting better. First, it was only the Arizona Memorial. Then the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum was built. Shortly after the Clarey Bridge to Ford Island was completed, the USS Missouri came to Pearl Harbor and docked at Ford Island.  The newest museum is the Pacific Aviation Museum. The Oklahoma memorial is the newest memorial at Pearl Harbor.  All of the historic sites at Pearl Harbor have new exhibits that will keep you busy during your day at Pearl Harbor.

 

If you are looking for a tour that visits the historic sites of Pearl Harbor, then we recommend the Complete Pearl Harbor Tour. It visits all of the sites and admission is included along with transportation and a tour guide.

The short answer is yes. Usually, you are able to drive yourself to Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor has a parking lot where you can park a private car. There are a few things to note before making this decision.

 

  • Tour companies are NOT allowed to meet guests at Pearl Harbor.
  • Tours to Pearl Harbor include both transportation and a professional narration.  The guide will help you to make the most of your experience at Pearl harbor.
  • Tours include Arizona Memorial tickets. Often those who drive themselves arrive at Pearl Harbor and wait in line to receive a ticket that for 3 hours later, or worse, tickets are sold out.
  • Parking at Pearl Harbor is limited and may not be available when you arrive.
  • If you are interested in visiting the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the Oklahoma Memorial or the Pacific Aviation Museum, you should take a tour. Only authorized drivers and vehicles are allowed to drive across the Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island where those sites are located. Unless you have military ID and authorization, you will not be able to drive yourself there. If you do not have base access, you will need to take the FREE shuttle to get there. Shuttles depart from the PearlHarbor Visitor Center every 15-20 minutes from 8:00am to 2:50pm seven days a week. The first stop is the Battleship Missouri and then the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum so please plan to visit in that order.

Pearl Harbor is completely accessible for wheelchairs, but wheelchairs are NOT available for rent.

 

When you make a reservation, advise us that you have a wheelchair so we can schedule a vehicle appropriately.

 

When you make your reservation, please advise:

 

  • If you are able to walk up the three steps of the vehicle or if you will need a wheelchair lift.
  • If you are bringing a collapsible wheelchair and sitting in a seat.

There is baggage storage available outside of the visitor center entrance.  The storage fee per bag is $7 for small bags and $10 for larger bags, including luggage.

 

Bags are not permitted at Pearl Harbor. This means no items that allow concealment including:

 

  • backpacks
  • purses
  • fanny packs
  • camera bags or large cameras
  • Luggage
  • diaper bags

 

We encourage visitors to not bring bags to Pearl Harbor. There is often a line to put your bag in storage and to retrieve it. You cannot have your bag at any of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. Some visitors miss the Arizona Memorial Program because they are waiting in line for baggage storage. Of course, this is disappointing and refunds are not given in such circumstances.

 

You are allowed to bring in clear stadium bags.  Here is an example of an approved clear stadium style bag.

 

Tour buses do not permit guests to leave bags in the vehicle unless the bus is a full-day private charter remaining on standby waiting for guests to finish their programs.

We recommend that you absolutely book your Pearl Harbor Reservations before you arrive in Hawaii. Pearl Harbor is the busiest attraction in Hawaii and the tickets are limited. The boat that takes visitors to the Arizona Memorial only has a capacity of 150 people at a time.  There are thousands of visitors who want to go to Pearl Harbor every day. Many arrive only to find out that they are too late and should have made Pearl Harbor reservations in advance.

 

Don’t make this mistake. Book Pearl Harbor Tours that include admissions, tickets, guides, and transportation to ensure that you do not miss the sites.  Even tour companies sell out tickets in advance because the tickets are limited.

We have some tips if you plan to bring kids to Pearl Harbor that will make your experience even better.

  1. Watch movies before visiting. Watch the movie Pearl Harbor. Watch Battleship. Watch Tora, Tora, Tora. If you can convince your kids to watch documentaries, even better.  By watching movies, the history behind the attack on Pearl Harbor and the events that took place will make more sense.
  2. Bring sunscreen and hats. Much of Pearl Harbor is outdoors. You will have moments of direct sunlight. Avoid ruining a vacation with sunburn by protecting your skin.
  3. If your kids are young enough that they need to be carried you might find a front carried baby sling preferable to a stroller because you cannot take the stroller with you in the Arizona Memorial program.
  4. Read our current Pearl Harbor Security Policies before going.  You can avoid wasting money and time.
  5. Go with a tour. Tours are the most efficient way to move through Pearl Harbor. With kids it is important to keep things moving and get back for naps or rest as soon as you can. Our Pearl Harbor Tours are designed to make the most of your time and keep everyone busy. We recommend Remember Pearl Harbor – Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri for families traveling with kids.  The reason is that this is not a long tour, but it visits the most popular memorials.
  6. Be aware of the USS Bowfin age restrictions.  Children under 4 are not allowed on or in the submarine.

Everything about Pearl Harbor is family-friendly. The deciding factor with families is how long the kids can spend touring. Some families prefer to spend the entire day at Pearl Harbor and relax at the beach on the following day.  They take the Complete Pearl Harbor Tour to make sure they see it all.

 

Others opt to skip some of the sites at Pearl Harbor and focus on the main two the USS Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri on the Remember Pearl Harbor Tour.

 

If you are concerned that your baby won’t be able to handle more than a few hours on a tour then you should choose the Change to Pearl Harbor Excursion, which is the shortest tour.

 

Additional hints for family-friendly Pearl Harbor tours:

 

  • Watch Movies about Pearl Harbor before you travel or even better, bring them on the flight with you. Tora, Tora, Tora and Pearl Harbor are the most popular.  From Here to Eternity is also a classic.
  • Read books about Pearl Harbor and WWII history before arrival. It will make your visit more enjoyable.
  • Look for Pearl Harbor Survivors at the visitor center. There are very few left and they are not there every day, but if you are lucky you can meet one.
  • Be prepared to buy some souvenirs. For many, Pearl Harbor is a once-in-a-lifetime visit. Your children will remember it for years to come with the right souvenir.

All of our tours of Pearl Harbor include:

 

  • Round-trip transportation from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor (Tours from other islands include round-trip transportation from Honolulu International Airport).
  • Live historical narration by an expert guide.
  • Tickets for the Arizona memorial program (include a movie about the attack and a boat to the Arizona Memorial)
  • Free time at Pearl Harbor to shop in the bookstore, browse the exhibits, get snacks, and take photos.
  • Additional services provided by guides: take your photo, answer historical questions, and provide suggestions for enjoying your visit.

 

Please note that if you don’t take a tour of Pearl Harbor you must pay for your parking and arrange your own tickets (all members of your party must be present to obtain Pearl Harbor tickets at the Visitors Center.

Generally, guides do not accompany visitors on the USS Arizona Memorial or the shuttle boat to the memorial. It is a place for solemn remembrance of the men who died for their country.

The National Park discourages guides from accompanying visitors to the memorial to keep the volume down and allow visitors to pay respect without distraction.

The USS Utah Memorial is located on the West side of Ford Island. The Arizona Memorial and the Battleship Missouri Memorial are on the East side of Ford Island.  The USS Utah Memorial is not included on any tours to Pearl Harbor.

It can only be visited by those with Military IDs who drive themselves to Ford Island.

We hope that despite its location on the far side of Ford Island, people do not forget the lives that were lost on the Utah.

Pearl Harbor is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm.  It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

There are no special holiday hours observed at Pearl Harbor.

While not as big as the Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony, there are Memorial Day Events at Pearl Harbor.

 

Generally, it begins with a flag-raising and bell-ringing ceremony. In the past, survivors have been on site, but that may not happen again.

 

There have been flag ceremonies, book signings, and Memorial Day events at Pearl Harbor in the past. For a first-time visitor to Pearl Harbor, it is not a day that we recommend visiting. It is busier because people anticipate special ceremonies.  The crowds may cause delays as you walk through exhibits and sites at Pearl Harbor.

Yes, the general public can visit Pearl Harbor for the December 7th Ceremony. The ceremonies are different every year so you should check back if you plan to go.

 

Many visitors who go to the December 7th Ceremony have expressed regret because they were unable to get tickets to visit the Arizona Memorial.  If you have never been to Pearl Harbor, then it might not be the best time to visit.

 

However, if you have been to Pearl Harbor before then it may be interesting to you. Just don’t expect to do the normal program.

 

It is a very busy day at Pearl Harbor. TOURS DO NOT OPERATE on Pearl Harbor Day.

 

The other sites at Pearl Harbor (Battleship Missouri, Pacific Aviation Museum) operate as normal.

 

If you want to see dignitaries, survivors, and politicians, the December 7th ceremony will be good for you.

Yes, you can. There is a cruise ship that does travel between the Hawaiian Islands. It is Norwegian Cruise Lines NCL. It is possible to cruise with them. You will have a chance to visit Pearl Harbor as well.

 

They are notorious for overcharging for activities and putting you on large buses with 50 other people. Most of our Pearl Harbor tours are in small groups for a better experience.

 

You may have been wondering about chartering a boat to travel between islands. This is common in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. It is not common in Hawaii. Why?

 

Our seas are far more treacherous. There is a reason that we are famous for surfing. It is that we have big surf.  We also have plenty of wind and strong currents.  Sailing in Hawaii is great, but it is difficult and not as comfortable as in other places in the world. For that reason, there is not a thriving charter boat industry.

Pearl Harbor Hours are 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The programs at the Arizona memorial are 7:30 am to 3:00 pm.

 

You may arrive at Pearl Harbor after 3:00 pm, but you will not be able to go to the Arizona Memorial. You will be able to see it from the land and visit the exhibits and bookstore.

 

If you arrive before 7:00 am (many people do) you can stand in line waiting for the gates to open. It is better to arrange a tour in advance to make the most of your time. Tours work within Pearl Harbor hours to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

 

Keep in mind that Pearl harbor is closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1. It is open all other days of the year unless weather or political conditions cause a closure. If you are uncertain, check with your tour company.

Pearl Harbor is on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. The nearest airport is Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

 

Tours to Pearl Harbor are available from other islands for those staying on Maui, Big Island, and Kauai.

Attack

Actually, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was not only by air. They also employed midget submarines, which were largely unsuccessful.

 

However, the attack was mainly by air. The mastermind of the attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, decided that an air attack would provide the greatest damage to the US Pacific Fleet with the lowest risk to the fleet of the Japanese Imperial Navy. He was correct in that regard.

 

He also surmised that an air attack would be less likely to be detected than ships because the zeros could travel faster. Again correct.

 

So why didn’t Japan invade?

 

That was not part of Yamamoto’s strategy. His purpose was to annihilate the US Pacific Fleet so badly that the morale of the American people would be damaged and the US would quickly capitulate. In this regard he was wrong and the outcome was different.

There were a total of  2,335 military personnel killed, including 2,008 navy personnel, 109 marines, and 218 army. Added to this were 68 civilians, making a total of 2403 people dead. 1,177 were from the USS Arizona.

 

Wounded came to 1,143 with 710 navy, 69 marines, and 364 army, as well as 103 civilians.

 

The total Japanese personnel losses were 55 men.

Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941. Cmdr Mitsuo Fuchida gave the order To To To at 0749 hrs to deploy into attack formation.  The famous attack order Tora Tora Tora was made at 0753 hrs and the attack began.

 

The first attack group struck Pearl Harbor at 0755 hrs.

The Pursuit Officer on duty was Lieutenant Kermit Tyler, an army air forces pilot.  It was his second day on the job and he thought that the planes spotted on radar were US Army air force B-17 heavy bombers on their way to Hickam Field from California.  He made the famous statement, “Don’t worry about it”.  It was a fatal mistake.

First, we don’t call it the “battle of Pearl Harbor”, because it was a surprise attack and almost completely one-sided. We will consider the question, “how long was the attack on Pearl Harbor?”.

 

The attack began with the order to attack (“To To To”) at 0749 hrs. By 0800 hrs the majority of US fighter planes were destroyed. They had been lined up on the airfields to prevent sabotage.  The torpedo planes inflicted most of the initial damage on the ships at Pearl Harbor. The torpedo attack lasted about 11 minutes and was followed by bombers. It was a bomber in the first wave of the attack that hit the USS Arizona’s magazine causing the devastating explosion.

 

The second wave of the attack arrived at 0840 hrs.  There were 167 aircraft in the second wave and no torpedo planes. A major goal of the second wave was to attack Ford Island and Kaneohe Naval Air Stations and Hickam Field. The second wave of the attack was not able to inflict as much damage as the first.

 

By 0950 hr the first wave of the strike force was arriving back at their carriers. At the same time, the second wave was completing their attack and departing Oahu.

General

No. Pearl Harbor is not a National Park.

 

The Arizona Memorial, the Oklahoma Memorial, and the USS Utah Memorial are part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

 

National Parks and National Monuments differ, but they are both operated by the National Park Service, part of the US Department of the Interior.

 

Tours to Pearl Harbor are authorized by the National Park Service. The tours that we offer are only official tours. Beware of some companies that do not have official status with the National Park Service.

We don’t have phone support, but please don’t misunderstand this as any lack of interest! We’d love to answer your questions.

 

After experimenting with different approaches, we’ve found that starting with email enables us to provide the fastest response. We focus on providing fast and high-quality responses by email, so you’re always talking to a human that can help first-hand.

 

When you receive a confirmation for your tour reservation, you will have access to a phone number to call us regarding your reservation.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us here.

Pearl Harbor is located on the Island of Oahu in the State of Hawaii.

 

You may ask where is Pearl Harbor located in the world. It is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Pearl Harbor is near Honolulu International Airport (HNL). It is a 20-minute drive from Waikiki (depending on traffic).

Yes, the USS Arizona oil leak continues to be seen in the water.  The sunken USS Arizona is located below the Arizona Memorial. After over 70 years it has not stopped.

 

On Pearl Harbor Tours you will board the Arizona Memorial. When you look down at the battleship below the water, you will see the rainbow oil colors on the surface.

 

There have been studies done to determine whether the leaking oil is an environmental hazard. After the studies, the Navy determined to continue to allow it to leak rather than attempt to stop it or remove the ship.

 

Microbiologist, Ralph Mitchell had corroding metal put on ice and sent to his laboratory at Harvard. He was studying the bacteria that were feeding off of the USS Arizona Memorial Oil leaking out.  He determined that the bacteria was speeding up the corrosion of the monument.  Funding issues prevented more studies and any action from resulting.

This is a good question because the answer has changed over the years.  The original plan was that the USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the men who died on the USS Arizona. That seems fitting. The problem is that there were many other heroes of Pearl Harbor who died for their country.

 

The Arizona Memorial was the first monument to be constructed as a memorial at Pearl Harbor. While it represented nearly half of those killed at Pearl Harbor, there were others who did not have a memorial. Thus, after time has passed, the USS Arizona Memorial Commemorates all of the military personnel who died at Pearl Harbor.

 

Now there is a monument to the men of the USS Utah, the USS Utah Memorial. And the beautiful USS Oklahoma Memorial for the men of the USS Oklahoma.  Both are located on Ford Island, but the USS Utah Memorial requires military ID to visit.

History

The Battleship USS Missouri was anchored in the middle of Tokyo Bay. Those attending the Surrender Ceremony arrived by ship.

 

There were more than 250 allied warships in Tokyo Bay when the surrender was signed. In fact, Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces, set the date of the surrender to September 2, 1945, to give enough time for more allied representatives to attend.

 

Today the USS Missouri is docked at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii.  She is docked at Ford Island. On part of the USS Missouri tour, you will stand on the surrender deck.

The battleship Nagato was one of the only Japanese ships at the surrender ceremony on September 2, 1945.  She was the only battleship from the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN)to make it to the end of WWII.

 

Commissioned in 1920 she was one of the last of the Japanese battleships. They had to put a freeze on battleship development due to the Washington Naval Treaty.

 

Nagato was at many important battles during the war. She was the flagship of Kido Butai, the strike force that attacked Pearl Harbor. In fact, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was on the battleship Nagato when he gave the final order to attack Pearl Harbor.

 

When the surrender ceremony took place on the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, Nagato was there in Tokyo Bay.  Some of the fleet was concerned about an attack from rebellious sailors on Nagato as they entered the Bay. Fortunately, no such attack took place.

 

After the war, Nagato was taken by the United States as a war prize. She was old and damaged so she was of no use as a capital ship. Instead, she was used as target practice. In July 1946, Nagato was sunk during an atomic bomb test at Bikini Atoll.

The USS Arizona is the resting place to hundreds of sailors. The Navy decided to leave them and the ship there after an inspection a few months after the attack.  It was determined that there was so much damage that the ship was a total loss and could not be salvaged. Though, it should be noted that some parts from the Arizona were taken for use on other ships during WWII.

After deciding that the ship could not be salvaged, was not a navigation risk and would be left where she was, the Navy had a decision about what to do with the men who perished on board. It was decided that the men would be considered buried at sea because it would be too difficult to remove them in a respectful manner.

The decision to leave the USS Arizona underwater at the bottom of Pearl Harbor was made after much deliberation. The same decision was made for the USS Utah. The USS Oklahoma was similarly sunk in the attack, but raised and put in drydock in 1943.  In 1944, the USS Oklahoma was decommissioned. She eventually sunk to the bottom of the ocean as she was towed to the US mainland. All of the other ships sunk or damaged during the attack were returned to service.

Several individuals and organizations raised funds to build the Arizona Memorial. National Park rangers at Pearl Harbor are often asked, “Did Elvis Presley pay for the Arizona Memorial”. The answer is that he did not pay for the entire memorial but did contribute.

 

Elvis Presley held a benefit concert at Bloch Arena to raise money for the Arizona Memorial. This concert raised over $64,000, which was more than 10% of the final cost.  The concert was on March 25, 1961, three years after Ralph Edwards, host of the TV series This is your life, raised $95,000.

 

At the age of 26, Elvis performed the following songs at the benefit concert:

 

01. Heartbreak Hotel
02. All Shook Up
03. A Fool Such As I
04. I Got A Woman
05. Love Me
06. Such A Night
07. Reconsider Baby
08. I Need Your Love Tonight
09. That’s Allright
10. Don’t Be Cruel
11. One Night
12. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
13. It’s Now Or Never
14. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
15. Hound Dog

 

Another rumor regarding Elvis and the Arizona Memorial is that he was paid for the benefit concert. That is false. In fact, Elvis, along with his manager Colonel Parker made an additional contribution to the efforts to build the memorial.

 

The Arizona Memorial was dedicated the following year on May 30, 1962.

Right now you are thinking I must be kidding. Actually, I’m not.

 

There is a good chance that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was given cocaine before his famous “Day of Infamy Speech“.

 

On December 7th and 8th, FDR was suffering from a sinus infection. His doctor and friend, Ross T. McIntire was with him to treat the problem.

 

Dr. McIntire’s intent was to improve his patient’s ability to breathe by decreasing the swelling of the nasal mucosa. He wanted to decrease swelling without causing crusting.

 

It is not known exactly the procedure that McIntire used to decrease swelling in FDR’s nose. He had been seen using cotton swabs. It is likely that he also irrigated the sinuses by putting a needle up the nose into the sinuses. Then saline would be injected into the sinus cavity.

 

At the time, it was common for doctors to use cocaine in these treatments. Cocaine was illegal in the United States, but it was legal in medicine. Cocaine would shrink the tissue, giving the patient quick relief. It also numbed the area making the insertion of the needleless painful.

 

Again, we do not know if Dr. McIntire used cocaine when treating FDR’s Sinus infection that was troubling him during his “Day of Infamy Speech”.

 

If he had used cocaine, it would have been highly diluted. Most likely, not having a noticeable effect or measurable impact on the President.  Furthermore, he it is believed that FDR used cocaine he would not have been told.

 

There are two reasons why President Roosevelt would not be told of the treatments. First, it was common to not tell patients who were administered cocaine. It was believed that by not telling them they would be less likely to become addicted.

 

Second, it was a political topic and Dr. McIntire would not have wanted to put that controversial political exposure on the president.

 

We may never know if FDR used cocaine. But we do know that it was a great speech.

Construction on the memorial began in 1960.  The USS Arizona Memorial was built over the next two years and dedicated on Memorial Day May 30th, 1962.

The construction was managed by Walker-Moody Construction Company assisted by The Pearl Harbor Public Works Center.

While it is meant to look like it is gracefully floating above the sunken USS Arizona, the memorial is supported by concrete columns driven 80 feet into the silt of Pearl Harbor.

 

Many ask “did Elvis Presley build the USS Arizona Memorial?

 

Others are surprised to find out that the design for the memorial was made by Austrian-born American, Mr. Alfred Preis.

This is a good question because different sources report different numbers. It seems that there is confusion about how many died on the USS Utah. Some say that 58 enlisted men and 6 officers died on the Utah. That is a total of 64. Other sources say a total of 58.

 

The correct answer is 58 men died on the Utah. That number includes officers. Four of the 58 men were buried on land, but 54 of them are still entombed inside the ship.

 

Some people say that an infant is also entombed inside the ship and that is true. However, Lynn Wagner was not killed on December 7th, 1941. She died two days after birth. Her father had her ashes were on board with the hope to spread them at sea. When the ship went down, the ashes stayed.

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