Oahu: Official USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Audio Tour
- Duration: 2 hours
- Optional audio guide
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was the 9/11 of its day, remembered as a defining moment of the Second World War. But Pearl Harbor is about much more than its most tragic moment. Here's a brief history to prepare you for your tour!
The large bay was originally called Wai Momi, or "Waters of Pearl." According to Hawaiian legend, it's home to the shark goddess, Kaʻahupahau.
First by the Ewa chief, Keaunui, who reshaped the estuary to make it accessible. Then, in 1869, the US deepened the waters leading into the harbor while Hawaii was still a kingdom.
The kingdom made way for the Republic of Hawaii in 1893, which let the US establish a naval base at the harbor six years later. It didn't become the 50th state until 1959!
US intelligence is rumored to have expected the "surprise" attack, but either way, the naval base was woefully unequipped to defend against any kind of air-raid.
The Pearl Harbor attacks killed 2,403 Americans and Hawaiians, and sunk much of the US' naval might. Defiantly, it's still home to the bigger-than-ever US Pacific Fleet!
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open daily from 7:00AM to 5:00PM, except for Thanksgiving Day, December 25th, and January 1st. Expect it to be busy at any time! If travelling on a budget then arrive early to snap up one of the free walk-in tickets, otherwise it's recommended that you book in advance!
Pearl Harbor can be accessed by City Bus and taxi, but the former is slow (up to 2 hours) and the latter expensive. Many cheap, quick transportation services don't have clearance to the tourist site itself, so the best way to reach Pearl Harbor is undoubtedly with a certified tour company.
The driver had a lot of information and was funny. Unfortunately it was raining so touring the city we did not get out of the bus. The palace was not open due to Covid. Pearl Harbor was interesting and the Park Ranger on the Arizona Memorial was very informative and you could tell he liked his job and willing to share his information.
I was misled from your website thinking this included tickets to the Arizona. I think you should specify that as a disclaimer that is very visible so others like me don’t miss out on that experience! Your site says USS Arizona all over but when we went to see it we were turned away!! Very upsetting and frustrating!!
Audio tour comes with a paper guide but you also need to pay attention to the sites to find all the points of interest. We did not get that direction, we figured it out on our own and missed some of the points we passed before we figured it out.
It was extremely beneficial to have an audio giving details and information while we walked around Pearl Harbor! The survivors commentary were especially impactful & moving!! Excellent & necessary addition!!
Lots of fun! Joey the guide was great! I would recommend not trying to take pictures/ videos with the doors off! Too windy or maybe I’m just not skilled enough with using my phone! I enjoyed it very much!