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, is home to poignant memorials that recall the day of infamy, 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. A visit here entails a moving 23-minute documentary followed by a short ride aboard a U.S. Navy operated vessel to the USS Arizona Memorial, the iconic, white structure suspended over the ship’s remains. It’s an unforgettable experience to visit this solemn memorial and witness 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 aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Just a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial completes a visitor experience that encompasses the Pearl Harbor attack and the war’s end.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
The USS Bowfin, nicknamed the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” was launched December 7, 1942, exactly one year after the Pearl Harbor attack. Explore the USS Bowfin to learn about life 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 historic seaplane hangars and the control tower on Ford Island that survived the 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 period aircraft and fascinating exhibits. Hangar 79 still has windows riddled with bullet holes along with modern jets, historic helicopters, and an aicraft restoration shop.