For many travelers to Oahu, visiting Pearl Harbor is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even if you’re not a big history buff, it’s still a place of great significance. Now that the repairs and maintenance have been completed, we’ve come up with some tips on how to get the most out of your time aboard the USS Arizona Memorial.
Go During the Off Season
If you have some flexibility as to when you can plan your Pearl Harbor tour, consider scheduling it for the off season. While Hawaii is a popular tourist destination all year, it’s most crowded during the Northern Hemisphere summer and the holiday season.
The idea is to spend your time aboard the USS Arizona Memorial when it’s less crowded. The smaller the crowd, the more likely you are to be able to really focus on the experience of seeing the rusting hulk of the sunken battleship and reading the names inscribed on the marble wall of the Shrine Room.
Sit on the Outer Edge of the Shuttle Boat
When boarding the US Navy shuttle boat for the boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial, try to find seats on the outer edge for the best views. There are many photo opportunities from the shuttle, and it really doesn’t matter whether you sit on the port or starboard side, since the boat turns, providing the same views for both.
Use Your Time Aboard the USS Arizona Memorial Wisely
The USS Arizona Memorial program lasts 75 minutes. Twenty-three of those minutes are spent watching the documentary film, and another slice of time encompasses your boat rides to and from the memorial. That only leaves about twenty minutes to pay your respects and contemplate the events that took place on December 7, 1941. Use the time wisely to make sure you see and take in everything the memorial represents.
Take some of the time to contemplate the wall of names of the fallen men of USS Arizona. Look overboard and you can see the Black Tears of the Arizona, droplets of oil that have been leaking from the fallen battleship since she sank.
Put Your Phone Away
We live in an age where we’re tempted to pull out our smartphones at every turn. We want pictures to commemorate everything. There are some times, however, where your eyes are is all you’ll need to create and hold onto the memory. Rather than spending your time aboard the USS Arizona Memorial peering through the lens of your phone, put it away and just take in the experience.
Take in the View
Yes, your focus is going to be on the USS Arizona Memorial and the sunken battleship below, but take a moment and look to the northwest of the memorial, where you’ll get a stunning view of the Battleship Missouri moored nearby. Many Pearl Harbor tours include a visit to the Battleship Missouri, but the view from the USS Arizona Memorial is simply incredible.
From the opposite side of the memorial, you get a nice view of the USS Bowfin submarine, near the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.