Visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial was one of the highlights of my trip to Oahu last month. You can honestly spend the whole day at Pearl Harbor viewing exhibits, but we just wanted to stay for a few hours. We decided to visit the most popular exhibit, the USS Arizona Memorial. The exhibit was amazing and it’s hard to believe that it’s free!
You can reserve your USS Arizona tickets online up to two months in advance, or reserve next day tickets online at 7:00am each day. We couldn’t decide on what day we were going, so we just chose to wait in line. We arrived at 7:00am and there was already a huge line. At around 7:45am we got our tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial, and our tour time was 1:45pm. We decided to make the most of our afternoon and visit a few other places. We ate lunch at the infamous steak shack on Waikiki beach and went for a short swim.
Next we went to our hotel to get ready to go to the Aloha stadium and back to Pearl Harbor. I wish we had more time at the Aloha stadium, but we managed to get a few good souvenirs.
Before visiting the USS Arizona exhibit, you have to watch a 20 minute video. The video painted the perfect picture of life in Japan and the US in the time leading up to the attack at Pearl Harbor. It described why the attack happened and the details of the attack. After the video ended, the mood was very somber. We then took a short and very quiet boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial is actually located above the USS Arizona battleship where over 1,000 soldiers lost their lives. Parts of the ship can still be seen above water.
After we left the memorial, we walked around to see the outdoor displays and the indoor visitor center museum. We spent about two hours at Pearl Harbor and really enjoyed the experience. If I go back to Oahu some day, I will definitely check out more of the exhibits at Pearl Harbor.
If you’re planning your trip to Pearl Harbor, I suggest starting with the National Park Service website: https://www.nps.gov/valr/planyourvisit/index.htm