Seeing Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is a must-see for many, but there are things to know before you go.

Consider whether you want to see only the USS Arizona Memorial, or the USS Bowfin and USS Missouri as well. You can also visit the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island. Allow approximately 1 hour 15 minutes for the USS Arizona tour, which includes a 23-minute documentary of the Pearl Harbor attack and a ferry ride to the memorial itself.

You can now reserve USS Arizona Memorial tickets online for a certain day for a $1.50 processing fee. If you don't reserve tickets ahead of time, plan to arrive early—same-day tickets for the USS Arizona Memorial are free and given out on a first-come-first-served basis. They can disappear within an hour, and your entire party must be present to receive same-day tickets. Take some time to enjoy the upgraded visitor center, which houses two exhibits using state-of-the-art technology to tell the story of the attack on December 7, 1941.

Strict security measures prohibit any sort of bag (purses, backpacks, diaper bags, camera cases—even small ones), although cameras are allowed. Strollers are allowed in the visitor center but not in the theaters or on the shuttle boats. Baggage storage is available for a small fee. Also, don't forget your ID.

Children under four years of age are not allowed on the USS Bowfin for safety reasons, and may not enjoy the crowds or waiting in line at other sights.

Older kids are likely to find the more experiential, hands-on history of the USS Bowfin and USS Missouri memorable. The Pacific Aviation Museum's vintage planes are an added bonus attraction if you have the time.

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/valr.

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