In a perfect world, we would never have to worry about site closures and inclement weather. Unfortunately, these are things that we occasionally do have to deal with. It can feel especially disappointing to arrive at a place like Pearl Harbor and find the USS Arizona Memorial closed. Unlike the other exhibits and memorials at Pearl Harbor, the memorial dedicated to the men of USS Arizona is located offshore, out in the harbor. But trust us, your day is far from ruined.
While the placement of the memorial makes perfect sense for honoring the sailors who died on December 7, 1941 aboard the battleship, it also makes it vulnerable to the whims of time and weather. In the event of strong winds or unusually choppy water, the US Navy shuttle boat rides to USS Arizona Memorial may be suspended for the day. Weather isn’t the only issue that can hinder access to the memorial. Maintenance and facilities repairs can also result in a suspension of access.
Why is the USS Arizona Memorial Closed?
The Navy, which operates the shuttle boats, can decide to suspend service to the USS Arizona Memorial to protect the safety of guests. In the event that access to the USS Arizona Memorial is halted, tours continue to operate normally, with adjustments as deemed necessary by the authorities.
There are some instances where repairs and maintenance on the memorial cause access to the memorial to be halted. In those cases, the shuttle boats still run, and take visitors for a narrated harbor tour that gets as close to the memorial as possible without actually boarding it. Then there are the days when the weather causes a complete suspension of shuttle boat operations.
There’s Still Plenty To See
It’s definitely disappointing, but even though you might not be able to get close to the USS Arizona Memorial, there is still much to see at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Most importantly, you’ll have access to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Here you can see artifacts from the attack, including newspaper clippings, photographs, and items that belonged to the men stationed at the naval base.
The Road to War and Attack! exhibit galleries, located to the left of the entrance, provide a fascinating overview of the events leading up to the assault and the day of the attack itself. There is a wealth of information to explore at these two galleries, and there’s a lot more to see and experience as well.
Attractions of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is a rich resource to learn about different aspects of the attack on Pearl Harbor. From the two exhibit galleries and the central Aloha Court to the bookstore and gift shop, there is plenty to see and enjoy.
Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater
Even when access to the memorial is suspended, the timed program continues as normal. Your ticket for this program includes a screening of a fascinating 23-minute documentary film about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.
USS Arizona Bell
The USS Arizona Memorial provides you with an incredible view of the sunken remains of the mighty battleship, but there are other relics of the vessel on display here. The USS Arizona bell is located just outside the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater, to the left of Aloha Court before you get to the two galleries.
The bell is one of several pieces that were salvaged from the USS Arizona. Though it shows signs of rust, the bell is still in great shape with the “U.S.S. Arizona 1916” inscription perfectly clear.
USS Arizona Anchor
Instead of going left from the Visitor Center entrance, if you head straight ahead from the Tickets & Information booth you’ll come to the USS Arizona’s anchor. In better condition than the bell, the anchor serves as another reminder of the brave men and women who were affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Other Ways To See the USS Arizona Memorial
Even when you’re not able to step aboard the USS Arizona Memorial, you can still catch some views while on shore. One is from the Contemplation Circle, at the northwest corner of the national memorial. The memorial can also be seen from the Remembrance Circle.
Does your tour include access to the Battleship Missouri on Ford Island? From the decks of the Mighty Mo, you have a terrific view of the USS Arizona Memorial.