The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is one of the most popular attractions on Oahu. More than one million people visit it each year. The USS Arizona is a sunken battleship and the resting place of 1,102 marines killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. At the time of the attack there were 1.4 millions of gallons of fuel aboard the USS Arizona, and up until today it is leaking from the sunken battleship, forming oil droplets on the ocean’s surface. Some people call them “black tears.”
Admission to the Pearl Harbor visitor center and the USS Arizona Memorial is free, however, you need to get a ticket to board a US Navy shuttle boat that takes you to the Memorial. Around 4,500 tickets are available daily, but they are usually all taken around noon, so if you come in the afternoon, it might be too late. On the ticket is shows the shuttle boat departure time, and usually you’ll have to wait an hour or two and sometimes even longer before it’s your turn (depending on how many visitors there are that day). So if you come in the morning and get a ticket with an assigned time in the afternoon you will have enough time to explore other visitor attractions at Pearl Harbor.
While waiting you can explore the visitor center where you will find interesting exhibits and information about the Pearl Harbor attack. There is also a bookstore and a snack shop. Right before you board the shuttle boat that will take you to the Memorial, you will be taken to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater where you will watch a 23-minute documentary film about the attack.
One important thing to keep in mind when visiting is that purses, bags and other personal belongings are not permitted at Pearl Harbor. You can only bring a camera.
Many visitors come to Pearl Harbor with a tour group. Pearl Harbor tours include roundtrip transportation from Waikiki hotels, tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial (so you will not have to wait in line) and a local tour guide who will provide narration. Some tours include admission to other Pearl Harbor attractions, such as the USS Missouri battleship, the USS Bowfin submarine and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Other Pearl Harbor tours include a visit to other island attractions, such as downtown Honolulu, the Dole Plantation, Oahu’s North Shore and more.