December 7, 2016 will mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entry into World War II.
In honor of this historic anniversary, there will be an 11-day schedule of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day events. which are all listed on the special website www.pearlharbor75.com. If you are on Oahu this December, many of these events are open to the public.
Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial remain the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii, with over 1,600,000 visitors annually.
The addition of the Battleship Missouri Memorial in 1999, the opening of the Pacific Aviation Museum in 2006 and a new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in 2010 has further enhanced the experience at this historic area.
The best time of day to visit the Memorial remains early in the morning before the tour buses arrive.
- The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Interpretive programs, including a 23-minute documentary film about the attack and the boat trip to the USS Arizona Memorial, begin at 7:30 a.m. The last program each day begins at 3:00 p.m. The Memorial is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
- The Visitor Center operates as partnership between the National Park Service and the non-profit Pacific Historic Parks (formerly called the Arizona Memorial Museum Association.)
- 1300 free walk-in-tickets are available daily on a first come first served basis at the Park Visitor Center. All people in your party must be physically present to obtain same-day, walk-in tickets. Tickets will not be distributed for those not on site. In addition, each day at 7:00 a.m. an on-line ticket inventory is released for the next day. There is a $1.50 fee per ticket for ordering advance tickets.
- Allow 75 minutes for the tour. This does not include time waiting for your tour to begin.
- Use that time to explore the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center with its amazing Exhibit Galleries: "Road to War" and "Attack." Within the galleries you'll find displays of personal memorabilia, historic photographs, artifacts of the battle, and several interactive exhibits. The new Visitor Center also has an expanded Bookstore, numerous Interpretive Wayside Exhibits; and a lovely waterfront promenade. Be sure pause at Remembrance Circle, an exhibit which pays tribute to the men, women, and children, both military and civilian, who were killed as a result of the attack on December 7, 1941.
- An audio tour for the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center is available through their partner association, Pacific Historic Parks. The tour is available in several languages, and costs $7.50 per headset.
- No purses, handbags, backpacks, camera bags, diaper bags, or other items that offer concealment are allowed in the Visitor Center or on the Memorial tour. Strollers with pockets and compartments must be empty before being allowed in the Visitor Center. Personal cameras are allowed.
- Baggage storage is available for $3 per bag near the entrance to the Visitor Center and visitors are encouraged to use it.
- Visitors are strongly encouraged either to leave prohibited items at their lodging or lock them in their car trunk before arriving at the parking lot. Theft of items from rental vehicles is common in Hawaii; however, bicycle security patrols the USS Arizona Memorial parking lot.
- In preparation for your visit, I invite you to enjoy our gallery of 24 photos of the USS Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
A visit to the USS Arizona Memorial is a solemn and sobering experience, even for those who were not alive when the attack occurred. You are literally standing over a grave site where 1177 men lost their lives.
The best tourist is an informed tourist who respects the past and its role in establishing the present and preserving our future.
For additional information on Pearl Harbor and the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, check out our feature Before You Visit Pearl Harbor.