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The best thing to do at Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona Memorial

The best thing to do at Pearl Harbor is to see the USS Arizona Memorial and watch the film beforehand that shows what happened that day in 1942.  The USS Arizona Memorial is a memorial built out in the middle of Pearl Harbor.  The USS Arizona was one of the ships attacked in 1942 and the only one to still lay in its final resting place below the water.  The memorial straddles the sunken ship, and you can peer into the water to see what remains of the vessel.  Access to this memorial requires a ferry ride, and tickets for the ferry are free if you arrive before 8 am.  The ferries run at specific times, and your time will be denoted on your ticket.  Your time will be scheduled for usually a half an hour or an hour after you get your ticket.  While you wait for your scheduled time, there is plenty to see and do.  Audio tours, check out war relics/equipment, go to the museum, board a floating submarine...

This man was there...

If you wait by the theater for your scheduled time, for us, there was a gentleman telling stories of what happened that day and of his time in the war.  He was here on December 7th, 1942 when the attack happened and it was really interesting to hear his firsthand account. 

The Theater/Film

Before you board the ferry that takes you to the Arizona Memorial, you get to watch a 30 minute film which shows everything that happened during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and what led up to it.  This is an excellent refresher for those that haven't gone on Wikipedia recently, and shows real footage from that fateful day. 

Gas/Oil from the sunken USS Arizona below the water. It was said by a park staff member that the USS Arizona still has full fuel tanks, and a small leak in the system results in about 1 to 2 gallons of leakage per day, enough to leak for the next 50 or so years.

Pearl Harbor FAQ

Pearl Harbor Address:  1 Arizona Memorial Place Honolulu, Hawaii 96818

  • Is Pearl Harbor free? 
    Yes, if you get there before 8:00 am, you get into the park for free, and you can get free tickets to take the ferry to the Arizona Memorial across the Harbor.  We got there around 7:30 and we were fine, tickets to the film and the ferry were free, and we only had to wait 30 minutes until our ticketed scheduled time slot.  In this time you can wander around and look at some of the exhibits/memorials.  After 8 o'clock you have to pay to get to the Arizona memorial, it isn't that expensive, 5 or 7 dollars I think, refer to the official website for exact prices.
  • Is parking at Pearl Harbor free?
    Yes, parking is free.
  • Where do you park at Pearl Harbor? 
    The address; 1 Arizona Memorial Place Honolulu, Hawaii 96818 will take you straight to the parking lot. 
  • When was the attack on Pearl Harbor? 
    December 7th, 1941, 7:53 am 
  • How far is Pearl Harbor from the airport?
    Literally right next to it.  Our flight out was right after we went to Pearl Harbor, and it took us no time at all to get to the airport afterwards. 
  • How long does it take to see the Arizona Memorial and Film that's shown before the Ferry ride?
    The film is about a half an hour long, you leave the small theater and hop on a ferry boat, head across the harbor to the Arizona memorial and take the ferry back when you are ready.  The entire experience takes an hour.  
  • Are there a lot of people at Pearl Harbor?
    We were expecting a ton of people since we were arriving on Saturday morning and also trying to get in the morning rush with the free tickets.  Expecting mobs you would see at Disney World or some waterpark, we were pleasantly surprised that there was only like a hundred people in the whole park, and we got right in and got tickets easily and without waiting much.
  • What is there to do at Pearl Harbor?
    See a film about the attack, take a ferry to the sunken USS Arizona & Memorial, take an audio tour of the whole park, see some old war relics, check out a museum, board a floating submarine (costs money).
  • What is the best thing to do at Pearl Harbor? 
    Definitely the best thing to do is to get tickets for the film and Arizona Memorial.  A great experience and completely free (if you arrive before 8am).
Names of those who died on the USS Arizona

A suicide torpedo, piloted by Japanese forces in WW2