Hawaii, Locations

A Practical Guide To Pearl Harbor. What To Do…

Pearl Harbor: A Brief Outline…

“December 7, 1941 – A date which will live in infamy – The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of Japan…Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”    -President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his speech delivered to Congress Dec. 8, 1941.

  • 2,008 U.S. Navy Personnel K.I.A.
  • 218 U.S. Army Personnel K.I.A.
  • 109 U.S. Marines K.I.A.
  • 68 Civilian Casualties
  • 3 Total-Loss U.S. Navy Ships
  • 188 U.S. Aircraft Destroyed

A Day at Pearl Harbor. Where To Start.

Pearl Harbor became world famous on December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, successfully sinking and killing many American ships and aircraft along with their crews. Since the frightful morning of December 7th, Pearl Harbor has become a place for people from all over the world to pay their respects.

But what exactly is there to do at Pearl Harbor?

Let’s start with the main tours:

  • Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
  • USS Arizona Memorial
  • Battleship Missouri Memorial aka Mighty Mo
  • USS Oklahoma Memorial
  • USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park
  • Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Visitor Center (Entry is FREE)

At the visitor center you’re free to walk around, purchase souvenirs and food, and visit the ticket stand for each tour. A breath taking view of the harbor hugs the back of the visitor center where you can occasionally sight docked ships.

USS Arizona Memorial (FREE)

The USS Arizona is dedicated to the 1,177 sailors and marines who payed the ultimate sacrifice on the morning of December 7, 1941. Entry is free, however, tickets are limited to 1,300/day so arrive early; especially during holiday season.

Pearl Harbor memorial

USS Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor
USS Arizona Memorial
USS Arizona
Base of Gun Turret #3, one of the numerous components still leaking oil.

Did you know?! Elvis Presley had a hand in raising the funds needed for the USS Arizona memorial? 

Battleship Missouri Memorial

“Mighty Mo” is a US Navy battleship honoring the state of Missouri. It was also the site of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

Entry is $29 for adults and $13 for children ages 4-12.

USS Missouri

With the purchase of a Mighty Mo pass you can grab a bite to eat, shop for souvenirs, take pictures with the iconic “End of WWII” kissing statue and with Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and finally, pay respects to the USS Oklahoma.

USS Missouri, Nimitz














USS Oklahoma Memorial

The USS Oklahoma memorial is on land directly outside of the USS Missouri Memorial entrance. The USS Oklahoma is on land because the battleship, although capsized, wasn’t actually lost during the attack on Pearl Harbor. After many efforts to rehab the battleship, the USS Oklahoma was eventually sold to a scrap company in California, where the ship was finally lost after encountering stormy seas.

However, the men of the USS Oklahoma were not forgotten. As seen outside of the Mighty Mo, the 429 sailors and marines of the USS Oklahoma stand as if in formation. Forever immortalized by black granite blocks holding up white marble slabs with the names of each lost crewman engraved on the marble, the crew of the USS Oklahoma will never be forgotten.

Entry is free (with purchase of USS Missouri tour).

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum

Unlike the other tours, the USS Bowfin is a submarine and not a battleship. The USS Bowfin didn’t sink during the attack on Pearl Harbor (as it hadn’t been commissioned yet) but instead helped avenge it, hence her nickname “the Pearl Harbor Avenger.” Due to her avenging missions, she now rightfully lies within Pearl Harbor at her final resting place.

Entry into the USS Bowfin costs $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 4-12. Inside the USS Bowfin you can experience life inside of a submarine with a full walk through, including the deck.

USS Bowfin

USS Bowfin
The USS Arizona Memorial and Mighty Mo from the USS Bowfin deck.

The Pacific Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum includes the two WWII hangars, 37 & 79 which cover over 75 years of Pacific aviation history. Each hangar is over flowing with refurbished aircraft as well the story and history behind each one. This self-guided tour is well worth the entry fee!

Not only do you get to learn about WWII era aircraft, but you also get to see the famous Pearl Harbor air control tower and well as the take off strip.

Entry to the Pacific Aviation Museum costs $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 4-12.

Discounts, Entry Fee’s, Etc.

Entry fees to each tour are listed within each description. However, military and senior discounts are available upon purchase with valid proof.

As you can see, there are many things to do at Pearl Harbor. From paying your respects to the crew of the USS Arizona, to learning about WWII era aircraft at the Pacific Aviation Museum, a visit to Pearl Harbor is more than worth the cost. Not only do you learn about the start of WWII in America, but the proceeds go toward the National Park Service (NPS) and help keep Pearl Harbor a place where generations to come can pay their respects.

Please make Pearl Harbor one of your stops while in Oahu. You won’t regret it.

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