Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor | USS Arizona Memorial Tours

Recurring problems have once again closed the beloved USS Arizona Memorial at Park Harbor. More details will be forthcoming and what we know so far is reported below. However, it is clear that the problematic shoreside dock has failed again. The National Park Service became aware of an undescribed issue this past weekend that caused the Navy boat tours to be suspended. Now that the USS Missouri and USS Bowfin Submarine have reopened, there’s still much to see.

The USS Arizona is the single most popular and in-demand destination in Hawaii year after year and receives nearly two million annual visitors. Those 1,177 soldiers who died on the ship during a Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, will never be forgotten. It resulted in the US entering World War II.

It is being reported that the $2 million in repairs done recently were not adequate to remediate critical issues. During that prior repair, the Arizona Memorial was closed for more than a year due to cracks in the dock. That was in 2018 and it is believed the problems may have resulted from damage caused by high tides the prior year. Then this past September the memorial was closed again for further unspecified emergency repairs.

The National Park Service is in the process of constructing a new dock off-site.

Details about the new dock’s installation have not been made available. The NPS said, “USS Arizona Memorial Programs have been temporarily suspended as the shoreside dock awaits additional repairs. Operations will resume when the National Park Service deems conditions safe enough to do so. Visitors (are) welcome to enjoy other sites throughout the visitor center complex. There is still so much to do at Pearl Harbor! No reservations (are) required, but you do have to wear a mask and leave your bags at home.”

All other aspects of the monument including the Pearl Harbor National Memorial visitor center, its museums, and other services are open.

See the 2020 ceremony live stream.

The 80th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack took place on December 7, 2021. You can watch it below.

More than 2,400 Americans died at Pearl Harbor, and more than 1,000 were injured during the bombing. Over 300 aircraft and 19 naval ships were damaged or destroyed. It marked the entrance of the US into World War II, and FDR said the attack was “A date which will live in infamy.”

The NPS said of the 2020 event, “the goal of the commemoration and supplemental events is to ensure that future generations will understand the valor and legacy of those who perished and those who fought throughout the war. The commemoration also highlights the importance of the peace that brought a reconciliation that continues to create a better future for all.”

Pearl Harbor is open for visitors.

COVID-19 Protocols are in effect at Pearl Harbor and masks are required at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

The USS Arizona Memorial will hopefully reopen soon. The iconic tour is a favorite of ours and yours based on comments and is the most popular activity in Hawaii. The visit consists of a 30-minute introductory film followed by a boat ride to the memorial.

When Arizona tours resume, visitors will reserve tickets online in advance and check within 30 minutes of their tour (not earlier). Reservations are typically accepted starting at 3 pm the prior day. Limited same-day tickets may also be offered.

Pearl Harbor is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day). There is abundant free parking. For current updates, check the NPS website.

The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park has reopened.

The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum is now open from 7 am – 5 pm daily. Reservations are not required and tickets may be purchased online in advance.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial has also reopened.

The USS Missouri Memorial Association is dedicated to preserving the Battleship Missouri and sharing her story and place in history.

Watch the Pearl Harbor attack video.

Construction reopenings have been short-lived since closure in 2018. 

The USS Arizona Memorial was closed in May 2018, for a frustrating, long, dock repair project. The memorial is the most iconic part of Pearl Harbor, which is to this day the number one visitor destination in Hawaii. What happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, resulted in America’s entry into World War II on the following day.

Beat of Hawaii Visits Pearl Harbor.

Your editors attended Pearl Harbor’s 75th anniversary. In a word, we were very moved. We had heard about how this day had impacted our families so many years ago. And how emotional they were when they subsequently were able to visit Pearl Harbor themselves. Jeff’s aunt remembered when time stood still on that day as the news struck across the country.

December 7, 1941, was the infamous day that led to the US entry into World War II. The attack started at 7:48 in the morning as 353 Japanese planes launched from 6 aircraft carriers and struck in two waves.

The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, was only one of two ships that remained sunk, with the others all raised and six returned to wartime service. The Arizona, which had been hit with a nearly 1-ton bomb, exploded and sank with 1,000 sailors aboard. Oil continues to be exuded from the remains and clearly visible below the blue Pacific.

The memorial was dedicated in 1962, and soon thereafter the National Park Service took over the operations of the historic landmark. Millions of annual visitors are still drawn to this top Hawaii attraction.

For us, the highlight of Pearl Harbor is by far the just reopened USS Arizona memorial. We also enjoyed the half-hour documentary film followed by the brief but haunting boat ride out to the eerie memorial itself.

On our last pre-COVID visit, we also liked the new visitor center and the fascinating Pacific Aviation Museum (currently closed). The museum includes two original hangars replete with not repaired bullet holes and the original control tower. Planes and helicopters on display with their stories provide fascinating insights into a time gone by.

The work continues.

Did you know that a single casket had unidentified remains for more than half a century? Subsequently, anthropological and DNA research indicated that commingled remains represented at least 95 individuals. Then in 2015, all of the unknown remains from the USS Oklahoma were part of a comprehensive ID process.

As of this year, 338 individuals have been identified, marking the successful completion of a unique project of such a large scope,  complexity, and age. So far 86% of the unknown soldiers have been individually identified and that is soon expected to reach 90%.

Updated 12/14/21.

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81 thoughts on “Pearl Harbor | USS Arizona Memorial Tours”

  1. Wait… you aren’t going to book a trip to Honolulu to visit a memorial because a page that you follow had an advertisement that you disagree with? Seems the issue isn’t the page that you follow. The Island AND the Memorial have no responsibility toward the said advertisement. YOU are the only one missing out because of your opposition.

  2. On December 7, 2021, I was lucky enough to be the last tour of the day to the Arizona. While there, preparations were being made for the interment of most likely the last sailor to survive the bombing of the Arizona…Lt. Harvey Milhorn. As our ferry came to retrieve us, it brought his remains on board. A VERY somber affair. As we were leaving we witnessed the divers already in the water.

    1. Thanks Jeffery F for the attempted clarification. What the heck?
      On 7 December 1941″ A day that will live in infamy”
      There were Soldiers AND Sailors on board and elsewhere. I lost two uncles that day. One was Army, one a Marine
      They were Americans you knucklehead.
      Thanks for your invaluable comment. Have a spectacular day.
      Mahalo Jeff and Rob for the very moving article on a most somber occasion. You’re incredible.
      Aloha 🌺

  3. The USS Missouri Memorial is open DAILY, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.

    All employees and visitors to the Battleship Missouri Memorial must show proof of full vaccination or a lab generated negative COVID-19 test result taken within the previous 48 hours, as well as valid id to enter. Children under 12 years old are exempt.

    For further information, visit, prior to purchasing tickets.

  4. My Dad & his next younger brother were both at Pearl Harbor. They both spent 20 years in the Navy, and passed away within 6 months of each other in 2007. In 2018, one of my Dad’s younger shipmates passed away. He was someone my Dad always talked about. Thanks to the NPS, I was able to contact his daughter and tell her a story about her Dad on that day. She invited us to her Dad’s ash scattering in January, 2019. We keep in touch now, as our bond goes back 80 years, to December 7th, through Dads.

  5. I’d love to be there but it’d be easier landing at Iwo in Feb ’45 than getting into and enjoying that once truly great vacation site.

  6. For the 80th Anniversary, this year the theme is
    “Valor Sacrifice and Peace” and not “Above and Beyond the Call”…(that was last year’s).


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