A February 2006 trip
to Oahu by creekland
Quote: The second stop on our journey—and vastly different than Kauai! "Must do's" here include a visit to Pearl Harbor, and if visiting in winter, the North Shore. The weather is still quite nice, but plan on crowds in many places if planning a visit to Oahu.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 26, 2006
Attraction | "Pearl Harbor/USS Arizona"
To get to Pearl Harbor, get a guidebook. The traffic is heavy and the directions can be tricky, but having a navigator read while someone drives does the trick just fine. Once in the parking lot, head to the LEFT (while looking towards the water) and get in line to get your free tickets to the memorial. Parking was free, the tickets were free, and they offer headsets that are giving a good guided tour of the museum, which I THINK were free too, and if not, they were a well spent $5.
Get there EARLY! The line soon gets very long, and you can have a long wait till your tour. The last tour is at 3pm (or so). Tours last for 45 minutes. While waiting for your tour, visit the museum (and listen to your headset)—it makes the time go by quickly and is ideal for learning the history. There are restrooms and vending machines at this location, and a small gift shop.
Once your tour is called, you get in line to watch a short movie detailing Pearl Harbor, then hop on a shuttle boat to the Memorial itself. You only have 15 minutes there, and it goes by quickly. Look down at the Arizona under the water, see the oil drops leaking, and bring leis if you'd like to drop flowers in the water in memory. Go to the back and see the list of names, checking to see if you share the last name with anyone who perished (we did). All too soon you're on the shuttle craft back. It's naturally very quiet at the memorial out of respect for those who lost their lives. The feeling you get there looking down at the battleship is one I've never felt before, and very hard to describe. You'll most likely feel it, too. I think most everyone does.
In the museum area, there are often survivors of Pearl Harbor who volunteer their time there. Feel free to talk to them. Take some time to look at where the battleships (and others) were.
If you have time, go see the USS Bowfin (sub) and USS Missouri; both are accessible from the same parking lot, but to the RIGHT of where you parked (while looking at the water). Both are well worth the history lesson, though the Bowfin does not allow kids under 4 to tour.
Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
One Arizona Memorial Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96818
Attraction | "Pearl Harbor/USS Bowfin"
Anyway, you can tour it (self-guided) separately for $10, or you can get a combo pass for a self-guided tours of the Bowfin and the USS Missouri for $26 ($16 for kids). We opted for both. We also opted for the headsets that explained the tour, which are HIGHLY recommended, as there are no signs explaining the same things, so you learn almost nothing without them.
BIG NOTE: Kids under 4 are NOT allowed on the submarine. Otherwise, the last tour leaves at 4:30pm and the place closes at 5pm.
If you get to Pearl Harbor early enough, you DO have time to do all three vessels (Arizona, Bowfin, and Missouri), and it's worth it to do all three. The symbolism is really neat: where WWII started, a vessel that did a bit of the fighting, and where it ended. It's a good history lesson.
To get to the sub, go RIGHT (as you're looking at the water) from the parking lot at Pearl Harbor. You'll see it, no shuttle necessary. Pay for your tour (or a museum visit) and go aboard. You can see crew quarters, fore and aft torpedo rooms, the periscope, engineering, mess deck, and other compartments. Allow about an hour, more if you spend a bit of time in the museum. It wasn't crowded at all when we were there—it might depend on the day—but probably most folks just want to see the Arizona Memorial. Why come all that way and NOT see other important WWII crafts? They are REAL, not imitations.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
11 Arizona Memorial Dr
Oahu, Hawaii 96818
Attraction | "Pearl Harbor/USS Missouri"
Battleship Missouri Memorial
Attraction | "Visiting Laie Point"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 27, 2006
Just off Kamehameha Highway
Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Highway
Laie, Hawaii 96762
East Berlin, Pennsylvania