Visiting Pearl Harbor
Long before Pearl Harbor was a strategic naval base, this majestic natural harbor was called Wai Momi—Waters of Pearl—by early Hawaiians for the abundant pearl-producing oysters. This National Historic Landmark, Heritage Site of Hawai‘i, and home base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet has poignant memorials that bring to life the December 7, 1941, attack, the aftermath, and WWII. Visit pearlharborhistoricsites.org and recreation.gov for information and ticket options.
USS Arizona Memorial/World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
On December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona was bombed and sank within minutes, taking with her 1,177 crewmen, a stunning loss of life that represents over half the Americans killed during the worst naval disaster in U.S. history. The visit starts with a moving 23-minute documentary dedicated to the attack. A 150-passenger U.S. Navy operated boat then takes visitors out to the USS Arizona Memorial, the iconic white structure suspended over the remains of the ship. It’s an unforgettable experience to visit this solemn memorial and see the names of those who perished that day etched in marble in the Shrine Room.
Battleship Missouri Memorial
On September 2, 1945, WWII came to a close when Japan signed its official and unconditional surrender on the decks of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Just a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial completes a visitor experience that begins with the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor and the ending of WWII.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
The USS Bowfin, nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” was launched on December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the Pearl Harbor attack. Explore the USS Bowfin and experience what it was like to live and work aboard a WWII-era submarine, visit the Bowfin Submarine Museum with over 4,000 submarine-related artifacts, and don’t miss the Waterfront Memorial that honors the 52 American submarines lost during WWII.
Pacific Aviation Museum
Housed in two historic seaplane hangars and the control tower on Ford Island that survived the Pearl Harbor attack, the museum showcases aviation’s vital role during WWII and today. Hangar 37 features a 12-minute film about the attack along with authentic aircraft from the day of infamy and fascinating exhibits. A visit to Hangar 79 will reveal windows still riddled with bullet holes left by the attack, along with displays of modern jets and historic helicopters.
The Home of the Brave Tours: Pearl Harbor and Beyond
Home of the Brave Tours was launched by the Tomlinson family in 1991 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Now celebrating its 25th year, this in-depth tour was inspired by firsthand accounts of Pearl Harbor survivors and is the only tour of O‘ahu’s battlefield sites attacked on December 7, 1941. Learn fascinating historical facts about the events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack and WWII while visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Army Barracks, Fort Shafter, and National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The tour ends at the Home of the Brave Museum, a private collection featuring memorabilia donated by veterans and their families. After the tour, head to Home of the Brave’s Brewseum, a 1940s style beer hall built by the Tomlinson family.