News from Pearl Harbor today. The USS Arizona Memorial reopens today, September 28, 2019. 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 the boat ride to the memorial and has reopened just in time for Hawaii tourism to resume on October 15.
“The National Park Service is proud to re-open access to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial Visitor Center and the USS Arizona Memorial and offer the opportunity for the public to experience the sites and learn about the important stories associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor. We encourage the public to visit the memorial to pay their respects to the thousands of Americans and their families who served, suffered and sacrificed during that fateful period in world history.”
The memorial is currently in a phased reopening. Visitors should reserve tickets online in advance and check within 30 minutes of their tour (not earlier). Reservations are currently being accepted starting at 3 pm the prior day. Limited same-day tickets will also be offered.
The US Navy requires the use of face coverings for all visitors while transiting to and from the USS Arizona Memorial. Safe distancing will also be in place, and no more than fifty passengers are being permitted per boat. For current updates, check the NPS website.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum remain closed at this time. The entire memorial has been largely closed since March 2020.
Construction reopening was shortlived from August 2019.
At long last, the final construction was completed just over one year ago. 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.
What else to see (normally) at Pearl Harbor
There are two free museums, exhibits, a bookstore, and the virtual reality center. The Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor are iconic parts and we’ve enjoyed them all. Those all have admission fees.
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.
Pearl Harbor: Hawaii’s most popular attraction
The USS Arizona Memorial draws more than 1.8 million visitors annually. It was built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, where 1,177 crewmen were killed on December 7, 1941.
Pearl Harbor History: 77 years old
We were at Pearl Harbor on its 75th anniversary. In a word, we were very moved. Both of us 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. Eight US battleships in the harbor were damaged and 4 were sunk in addition to the loss of 188 aircraft. 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 injured.
The USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, was only one of two ships which 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 clearly visible below the blue Pacific.
The closed 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. 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.