Launched one year to the day after the Pearl Harbor attack, the USS Bowfin claimed to have sunk 44 enemy ships during World War II and now serves as the centerpiece of a museum honoring all submariners. Although the Bowfin no less than the Arizona Memorial commemorates the lost, the mood here is lighter. Perhaps it's the childlike scale of the boat, a metal tube just 16 feet in diameter, packed with ladders, hatches, and other obstacles, like the naval
version of a jungle gym. Perhaps it's the World War II–era music that plays in the covered patio. Or it might be the museum's touching displays—the penciled sailor's journal, the Vargas girlie posters. Aboard the boat nicknamed Pearl Harbor Avenger, compartments are fitted out as though "Sparky" was away from the radio room just for a moment, and "Cooky" might be right back to his pots and pans. The museum includes many artifacts to spark family conversations, among them a vintage dive suit that looks too big for Shaquille O'Neal. A guided audio tour is included with admission. The Bowfin could be hazardous for very young children; no one under four is allowed on the submarine though children can visit the museum.