Pearl Harbor Tours vs. Tickets
75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor
75 years ago, on December 7, 1941 the world was forever changed when the Japanese launched an attack on the United States base of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was one of the most defining moments of US history: bringing the US into World War II, changing the balance of power of the world and ensuring the Unites States’ future as a global superpower was set in stone.
The attack on Pearl Harbor began just before 8am, as fighter pilot Mitsuo Fuchida shouted “Tora, Tora, Tora,” (meaning Tiger) and was a surprise to everyone at the naval base. Fighter planes, bombers and torpedoes were used, with the attack intended to prevent the US Pacific Fleet from interfering with plans Japan had in Southeast Asia. Within hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese had also hit the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island, Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Japan had set out to prove a point and it was a point well taken by those in Pearl Harbor, with all 8 ships damaged, 4 sunk, over 180 aircraft destroyed, and many thousands of lives lost. The following day, the US declared war on Japan.
At Roosevelt said: December 7, 1941 is “a date that will live in infamy”.
It’s important to know the history of this battle when visiting Pearl Harbor as it is the backbone of this intriguing Hawaiian destination. Click here to learn more about Pearl Harbor History.
Find out more about Pearl Harbor tours below.
Visit Pearl Harbor Tickets Online
When planning a Pearl Harbor tour, you need to ensure you plan ahead. It is one of the world’s most visited sites and certainly the most popular on the island of Oahu, with more than one million visitors every year.
Pearl Harbor remains an active US Navy base to this day, with a number of memorials and museums dedicated to the fateful day, 75 years ago, when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese during World War II.
Three of the most popular sites include the USS Arizona Memorial, dedicated to over 1,100 lost lives; Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park; and the USS Missouri Memorial; however Pearl Harbor tours will also take you to a number of other important sites (some of which are listed below).
Pearl Harbor is open every day of the year, except New Year’s Day (January 1), Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (December 25). The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open from 0700 to 1700 (5:00 pm) and the last program to the Arizona Memorial begins at 1500 (3:00 pm).
If you are planning on visiting Pearl Harbor, you are best to sign up for a guided tour so you can ensure entry into all sites and local, quality knowledge of the region and its history. Some sites, including the Battleship Missouri, the Oklahoma Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum, all of which are on Ford Island, are not accessible by car. You must be part of an authorized shuttle or tour to visit these sites. Click here for more details and to find out more about getting your Pearl Harbor tickets.
USS Arizona Memorial
Pay tribute to those who gave for lives at the iconic USS Arizona Memorial. The site is dedicated to 1,102 (of 1,177) sailors and marines who were killed during the attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941. The USS Arizona Memorial sits above the sunken war ship and the site is only reachable by boat.
Take a Pearl Harbor tour where you will watch a video on board the boat to get a full glimpse into the tragedy of the time, before paying your respects with a moment of quiet reflection at the Memorial.
2016 marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and as this is a very popular tour and tickets sell out fast, we recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.
Just a short distance from the USS Arizona Memorial, you’ll find the Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, dedicated to the USS Bowfin submarine. Nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger”, the Bowfin was launched on December 7, 1942: one year to the day after the attack by the Japanese.
The Bowfin completed 9 patrols before retiring at this spot, where it is now a Museum. With 10,000 square foot interior and more than 4,000 submarine-related artifacts, including missiles, you can experience what life was like underwater during the war. The Bowfin Submarine Museum is a must-see when you visit Pearl Harbor.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Experience the last American battleship ever built and the last to be commissioned by the United States with a visit to the USS Missouri Memorial. Just a short distance from the USS Arizona Memorial on Ford Island, no Pearl Harbor tour is complete without stopping here – at the site where the Japanese surrendered at the end of WWII.
Nicknamed the “Mighty Mo”, there are numerous tours available, allowing you to climb aboard the ship to explore this 58,000 ton, 900 feet long mammoth. For more information on the history of this important battleship, click here.
2016 marks 75 years since 429 marines and sailors lost their lives on the Battleship USS Oklahoma. December 7, 1941 saw the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, with torpedoes destroying the ship and many lives.
The memorial is located outside the Battleship Missouri and is a place to remember those who lost their lives on this deadly day. When booking your Pearl Harbor tickets, include a visit to the Battleship Missouri and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
Pearl Harbor is home to the Pacific Aviation Museum, located on Ford Island, and featuring an exciting array of vintage aircraft that is guaranteed to amaze you. The museum occupies two hangars and the Ford Island Control Tower and includes flight simulators, a gift shop and a café.
To visit the museum you need to book an authorized Pacific Aviation Museum tour. Individuals are unable to visit on their own due to high security measures.
Plan Ahead to Visit Pearl Harbor
Commemorating 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, the site remains the most visited on the island of Oahu and there are many memorials, exhibits, attractions and sites to explore.
When organizing your Pearl Harbor tours, make sure you plan early. Tours sell out fast, so book with plenty of advance notice to ensure you don’t miss a spot for your chosen activity to avoid any hassle and disappointment.
You will find an abundance of options with authorized Pearl Harbor Tours which provide a local and knowledgeable guide or driver and historical narration, transportation, tickets and fully approved admissions to all of the chosen sites. All authorized Pearl Harbor Tours also include the full Arizona Memorial program.
If you wish to explore the region on your own, you can do so by city bus, taxi or car with parking available at most sites. Sites located on Ford Island are not accessible unless you are part of an authorized tour group. See Plan Your Visit for more information about all self-tour options.
Things to Know Before You Visit Pearl Harbor
Tickets for Pearl Harbor tours can sell out months in advance, depending on when you’re planning to travel. Do some research into the peak seasons, and if you are visiting Pearl Harbor during a busy period, we advise booking ahead. To avoid tickets selling out, you can book through Authorized Pearl Harbor Tours, who have National Park Service permission to provide transportation and tours of the site.
Admission/tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are free, however if you want to book tickets in advance, you need to pay. If you purchase a tour, your advance tickets are guaranteed.
If you plan to visit Pearl Harbor on your own, you can purchase advance tickets online before they sell out or you can try to get walk-in tickets at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. These tickets are available on a first come, first served basis and all members of your party must be present to receive a walk-in ticket. Please note that walk-in tickets are often secured by visitors who arrive before 7:00am and the wait for walk-in tickets if you do not arrive early enough can be up to 7 hours.
Tickets for the Battleship Missouri, Pacific Aviation Museum, and the Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park are available on Pearl Harbor Tours.
The Arizona Memorial program lasts 75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes). The movie is approximately 25 minutes and the remaining 50 minutes is the round trip boat ride and time on the Arizona Memorial.
Tours provide additional free time to visit the museums and exhibits. See your chosen tour for full details.
Food and Beverages
Snacks and drinks are available at concession stands at the Visitor Center and at the nearby Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.
If you are on the Arizona Memorial program (movie, boat, memorial), only bottled water is permitted. Food and drinks are permitted in the visitor center, but please remember to adhere to the no-bags rule of the Pearl Harbor Security Policies.
What to Wear
Dress comfortably. Hawaii is warm, sunny and has high humidity so we recommend wearing sunscreen and a hat when visiting Pearl Harbor. Pack a light rain jacket on the off-chance of rain and ensure you wear comfortable shoes – you will be walking a lot during your visit. Sandals are permitted.
When visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, we encourage you to dress respectfully. This is a place of honor and the men still lie within their ship at the memorial site. We advise against wearing bathing suits, revealing clothing or profane t-shirts. Rangers have the authority to prohibit entry to anyone wearing inappropriate clothing.
Pearl Harbor is wheelchair-accessible with ramps or lifts at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, as well as the Navy shuttle boats and the Arizona Memorial.
For hearing impaired, the 25-minute movie is fully captioned and there is an induction loop for use with hearing aids. There is signage in braille and many of the exhibits have tactile models. Click here for a braille-ready file (BRF) of the park brochure.
Please see our Pearl Harbor Security Policies for current information. No bags are allowed, so you need to pack light.
Foreign language: brochures are available in over 30 languages and audio tours are also available (for a fee). Ask at the information desk.
You will find a bookstore near the front entrance of the park and a gift shop at the nearby Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.
If you have any further questions when planning to visit Pearl Harbor, view our FAQs.
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