Top 9 Experiences You Can’t Miss at Pearl Harbor


By: Tara Tyrrell

When you plan your trip to Pearl Harbor, try to factor in as many of these as possible.

1. Take a guided tour of the city and the Pearl Harbor memorials, so that you can get the best of both worlds. This is a great introduction to Pearl Harbor and is often very detailed.

2. Spend some time looking around the Pearl Harbor Visitor Bureau where you’ll find two museums that are free of charge. You can explore maps, artifacts, images, and videos that tell you the story about the fateful day, as well as events before and after the attack.

3. Be sure to tour the USS Arizona Memorial. After watching a 23-minute film about the attach, visitors ride on board a Navy vessel that takes you to the memorial, located on Battleship Row. Experience the Arizona’s famous “black tears,” the oil that still leaks from the ship 75 years later.

4. Take a fully guided tour of the Pacific Aviation Museum. While you can visit on your own, we recommend taking a guided tour so that you can get the true experience and learn from people in the know. This is an ideal tour for the aviation buff.

5. Take a walk along the water’s edge where you can explore the memorial walkway that includes numerous photographs, diagrams and facts about the attacks on that very spot.

6. Pay your respects to the “Mighty Mo.” The Battleship Missouri is now a museum. Walk across the Surrender Deck and see the dent left by a Kamikaze plane.

7. The Bowfin Submarine was nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger” and was launched one year to the day after the attack by the Japanese. She completed nine patrols before retiring at Pearl Harbor, where she’s now a museum.

8. See Pearl Harbor from the air. You can do this via helicopter, which is an amazing experience that includes from 30 to 60 minutes of flight time taking you around the island, with Pearl Harbor included. If you want a more in-depth experience and to really step back into history, you can tour in a World War II-era SNJ-5C fighter plane.

9. Finally, be sure to chat with the locals. While you’re there, take the time seek out Pearl Harbor survivors, who volunteer their time to tell their fascinating stories. Also talk with the park rangers, people working behind the counters, and even the folks selling tickets. You’ll be amazed at the stories they can tell you about their lives.

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