What is the Passport to Pearl Harbor?
May 12, 2017
When you do some online research about Pearl Harbor and the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, you may come across mention of a “Passport to Pearl Harbor.” Don’t worry, you don’t actually need a passport to get into Pearl Harbor, but just as a passport grants you access to other countries, the Passport to Pearl Harbor gives you unhindered access to every feature at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument to guarantee you a day filled with history, learning, exploration, and pride. The Passport to Pearl Harbor is for visitors who have their own transportation. Transportation is not included.
Your Passport to the Past
With the Passport to Pearl Harbor, you’re not just allowed entry, you’re given the key to a figurative time machine. The moment you step into the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, you feel like you’re back in 1941, on that “Date which will live in infamy.”
To help you best understand the events of December 7th, 1941 right off the bat, your passport includes an audio tour of the Visitor Center and its included exhibits. “Road to War” and “Attack!” feature a collection of relics and artifacts from the lead-up to and the day of the attack, including news clippings and items of note pulled from the various ships and downed aircraft. Whatever you’re viewing, your audio accompaniment helps decipher its place on the morning of the attack.
Perhaps Pearl Harbor’s best-known feature, the USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the men lost on a ship that served proudly in the US Navy before being sunk by the Japanese. The USS Arizona sits on the bed of the harbor and the Memorial is directly above. As you gaze down into the wrecked battleship, an audio guide tells you the story of the ship and the over 1,100 sailors who perished when she sank.
In stark contrast to the somber mood over the Arizona is one of hope and triumph aboard the Battleship Missouri. As your Acoustiguide tour explains, the USS Missouri (BB-63) wasn’t actually present at the Pearl Harbor attack but served as the ship upon which Japan signed the documents of surrender, ending World War II. What your audio tour can’t do is give you a feeling of what it was like to live aboard one of these vessels; that can only be experienced as you walk through the mighty battleship.
Just like the Missouri, the USS Bowfin (SS-287) wasn’t a part of the events in 1941. The submarine—which now serves as a museum and park dedicated to World War II subs—was launched on the first anniversary of the attack, earning it the nickname “Pearl Harbor Avenger.” Your passport not only grants you access to this important element of the war, it also provides you with a fascinating audio history of the submarine.
There is much to see at Pearl Harbor and with your passport, you can see it all. Be sure to fit in time for the USS Oklahoma Memorial, which pays tribute to the 429 men who died when she sank in the harbor. As your last stop on this trek through time, walk through the Pacific Aviation Museum, complete with a self-guided audio tour, to view some of the aircraft that played an integral part in World War II and other conflicts.
With your passport, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is completely open to you, as are the numerous audio tours that help set the stage for the memorials you experience and the artifacts you see.
*Important Information About Arizona Memorial Tickets*
The Passport to Pearl Harbor does not include tickets to the timed program at the Arizona Memorial. Over 1,300 free walk-up tickets are handed out each day for the USS Arizona Memorial program and tour on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to arrive early for these walk-up tickets. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7 AM.