A dazzling white marble structure sits atop and perpendicular to the underwater remains of the World War II ship USS Arizona. The ship’s deck lies six feet below the water’s surface in the position it has rested since December 7, 1941.
The 184 foot memorial is a solemn testimony to the 1,177 Marines and sailors who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This historical site includes an onshore visitor center and the USS Arizona Memorial itself. In the visitor center are a bookstore, museum, exhibits, two theaters, a small snack bar, public telephones, and restrooms. Guests view a 23 minute documentary about the Pearl Harbor attack before visiting the Memorial.
What To Expect During Your Visit
The Memorial attracts about thousands of visitors daily and 4500 (free!) tour tickets are passed out each day. If you plan to visit during peak times (such as summer) try to visit early in the day as the allotment of tickets can sell out early. Sunday is typically the slowest day of the week, and thus a good time to visit for shorter wait times. You should expect to spend at least 2-4 hours on your visit, including wait times.
Guests should be prepared for rain, especially if they visit from November to March, the rainy season. Temperatures year round range from the 80s in the daytime to the 70s during the night, so dress accordingly and don’t forget the sunscreen. Shirts and shoes are required. Flip-flops and bathing suits are not allowed.
The Memorial is wheelchair accessible. Children under the age of twelve must be accompanied by an adult. Infant strollers, carriages, baby backpacks, and diaper bags are not allowed beyond the visitor center. Infants must be carried.
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Even purses and backpacks (basically anything providing concealment) must be checked for $3 at the USS Bowfin Park. It is not advisable to leave valuables in your rental car, so pack lightly if possible. You may only bring with you your camera, camcorders, and cell phones while visiting these sites.
There are no restrooms on the Memorial, so plan to make a quick stop at the restrooms located next to the main entrance. Snacks and concessions are available for purchase, however many are cash only, so bring a little cash with you or use one of the ATMs located on site.
Hours of Operation -The USS Arizona Memorial is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Days. The visitor center and memorial open at 7:00 in the morning and close at 5:00 in the late afternoon. The first program begins at 8:00 AM with the last of the thirty daily programs beginning at 3:00 PM. Check the official website for updates.
Admission Cost – Although visiting the memorial and parking is free, there is a $7.50 fee for renting an audio head-set with a recorded narrated tour. These are available in seven languages from the front lobby of the visitor center. Some guests pay a $3 fee to store their bags and packs in a private vendor’s storage facility located near USS Bowfin Park. There is an additional cost to visit the adjacent USS Bowfin Submarine Museum or the nearby USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum.
How To Get There
From Waikiki: If driving west on H-1, turn at Exit 15A, the USS Arizona/Stadium exit. Proceed on HI-99 or Kamehameha Highway to Arizona Memorial Place. After turning right at the bottom of a hill, the parking lot is to the left. The Memorial can also be accessed via the Bus #42 or #20 from Waikiki.
From Ko Olina/North Shore: Eastbound travelers on H-1 should take Exit 13A, and then the Stadium/Aiea Exit to HI-99.
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Although nothing can compare to visiting in person, here’s a video in case you are curious what it’s like to visit the USS Arizona Memorial: