Fighting In The Pacific
Conquest of Japan
The U.S. fought island to island in bloody fighting with the heavily entrenched Japanese who fought to the death for honor and emperor. The Japanese had gained control of large areas of the Pacific when they simultaneously attacked Malaya, Guam, Wake Island, Hong Kong, and the Philippines on the same day they attacked Pearl Harbor.
Through 1942 the Americans held on in the Pacific with hard-fought naval battles against aircraft carriers in the Coral Sea and at Midway Island while the Japanese began planning attacks on Australia and Thailand. It would take nearly two years for the U.S. to ramp up their industrial might to battle both the Japanese in the Pacific and Germany in Europe. At the same time, Japan lacked an adequate industrial base, pilot training programs, and resources such as oil and steel to restock their losses. By 1943 the Allies had begun the long movement across the Pacific seizing one Japanese island base after another.
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How To Plan Your Visit To Pearl Harbor
8 weeks in advance, make your reservation for the USS Arizona Memorial. If you were unable to get tickets, make your reservation at 3 pm the day before your visit. Be ready right at 3 pm!
I recommend making your reservation for one of the first time slots. We toured the memorial at 9 am and still had plenty of time in the day to visit the other historical sites. Plus, it can be challenging to get parking midday, so an early morning visit avoids this problem.
Below is how we recommend visiting the four sites during your visit, based on crowd levels and the shuttle route:
The National Park Service recommends getting to the visitor center an hour before your tour. We got here about 45 minutes before our tour . We spent 30 minutes in the exhibit galleries before getting in line for the USS Arizona Memorial Program.
Visit the USS Arizona Memorial.
Visit the other historical sites. Ride the shuttle to the Battleship Missouri. While at the battleship, you can walk to the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
Ride the shuttle to the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Ride the shuttle back to the visitor center. Visit the USS Bowfin submarine.
Visit any exhibits at the Pearl Harbor Memorial that you did not get to earlier today.
Outdoor exhibits at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Uss Arizona Memorial And Battleship Missouri Or Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Tour In Hawaii
- Immerse yourself in the history of Pearl Harbor with this tour of some iconic sites and downtown Honolulu
- Ride a US Navy shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial on the glittering Pearl Harbor
- Enjoy flexibility with your choice of touring either the USS Missouri Battleship or the Aviation Museum
- Enjoy an entertaining, professionally narrated tour conducted by your experienced local guide
- Begin and end the day at ease with vehicle services from your Waikiki/Kahala hotel, cruise ship terminals, or the airport
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Why You Should Visit The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum With Kids
You havent really visited Pearl Harbor until youve visited this museum. Each of the four Pearl Harbor Historic Sites the USS Arizona, the Battleship Missouri, the USS Bowfin Submarine and Park, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum share a different and unique aspect of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack.
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to more than 50 aircraftand exhibits. Plus, youll be able to see windows that were pierced by bullets during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Its an easy way for kids to really understand that they are stepping into a piece of history.
I really do think this is one of the best museums in Honolulu for families. Check the latest rates and more information.
Pacific Theater Of War
World War 2 in the Pacific
From 1942 to 1945 the Pacific Theater of War would become some of the bloodiest confrontations of World War 2. The Japanese would come up against the Allied Forces of the U.S. Navy, Marines and Army including forces of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Admiral Chester Nimitz was appointed Supreme Naval Allied Commander in the Pacific in conjunction with General Douglas MacArthurs Army and Marine units.
The Americans would invade or destroy strategic Japanese bases in the south Pacific with the intent of getting close to the Japanese main islands in order to launch massive air attacks, impose submarine blockades and eventually invade Japan.
In battles across the Pacific during the span of the war some 161,000 Americans died with 248,000 wounded. The U.S. lost nearly 250 warships and 21,255 aircraft. As horrific as the losses were for the U.S., Japan suffered the loss of some 2.1 million soldiers and civilians along with 341 warships and 45,125 aircraft. The dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end.
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Bob Hope: An American Treasure Exhibit
Once you exit Hanger 37, youll see an Army truck in front of a little building. This is the Bob Hope: An American Treasure exhibit.
Opened in March 2020, this is an extensive exhibit covering the life and career of famed entertainer, Bob Hope, who made an extraordinary impact on the morale of military members in WWII.
Adults will probably find this a bit more interesting than younger kids, but its a great opportunity to talk about the U.S.O. and entertaining the troops during WWII and beyond.
This is a traveling exhibit, so Im not sure when it moves to another location.
The Pearl Harbor Attack
The majority of the U.S. Pacific battleship fleet was left in ruins as the ships in the harbor were primary targets for over 350 Japanese planes that attacked in two waves that day. All eight of the fleets battleships were damaged or sunk along with four destroyers, three cruisers, an anti-aircraft training ship , one minelayer, and several auxiliary ships for a total of 20 vessels damaged or destroyed. Many of the major ships were relaunched due to the shallowness of the harbor making recovery easier. Unfortunately, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 wounded.
Along with the battleships, the Japanese also attacked Naval Air Stations throughout Oahu. Aircraft and hangars at Ford Island, Wheeler Field, Hickam Field, Barbers Point, and Kaneohe Naval Air Station were strafed and bombed. Of the over 400 U.S. aircraft in Hawaii 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged. Eight Army pilots managed to get airborne and six were credited with downing at least one Japanese aircraft each during the attack.
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Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum was founded in 1999 and resides in several historic hangars on Ford Island. The museum opened on December 7th, 2006, and hosts a variety of aviation exhibits including important planes and relics of the War in the Pacific. During the 2020 pandemic shutdown the museum made many upgrades to the exhibits and amenities. Visitors to the museum gain access via a designated public shuttle bus from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center or in an approved tour vehicle.
Ticket Packages And Tours
If you want to see everything there is to see at Pearl Harbor, you will need a full day to explore all the exhibits. In this case, consider buying the discounted passport package for $72 that includes the Arizona Memorial movie, boat ride, and audio tour, the U.S.S Missouri and Bowfin, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
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Want To Combine With Other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
Most people choose to explore several Pearl Harbor attractions in one day. The easiest one to pair with the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is the USS Battleship Missouri. Thats because its also located on Ford Island and youll take the same shuttle.
And if you think that your family would prefer to do a guided Pearl Harbor tour, this one is the top-rated tour to take. It also includes transportation from Waikiki so its perfect for people who arent renting a car or dont want to deal with driving to Pearl Harbor. Check latest rates and more information.
Are you staying in Waikiki but dont have a rental car? There are lots of ways to get from Waikiki to Pearl Harbor that are easy and stress-free.
Tours Of Pearl Harbor
If you were unable to get a reservation to the USS Arizona Memorial, or if you dont have transportation to Pearl Harbor, here are several tours to consider.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. This hotel is located right on Waikiki Beach and it has been recently renovated. Its a massive hotel with many room types. We stayed in a deluxe oceanfront king with a Diamond Head view and we chose this hotel just to get this view. As of 2021, the hotel gets decent reviews on Booking.com. Most of the bad reviews date back before the renovation. The room we had was modern, roomy, and everything looked brand new. We were very pleased with our experience here.
View from our hotel room
If you have any questions about how to visit Pearl Harbor, let us know in the comment section below.
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Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Admission & Self
The aviation Museum is located on historic Ford Island in Honolulu, HI, which was also at the center of the attack. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor is steeped in history. Purchasing aviation Museum tickets is an excellent way to support Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, a nonprofit organization that is a top World War II attraction in Honolulu.
If youve always been fascinated by WWII attractions and want to help save a piece of history, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, HI, is providing the opportunity. If youre looking for an aviation museum where you can learn about a variety of historical aircraft, make Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor your destination. Take your family on a trip through history and gain a greater respect for our nations airmen and airwomen with a visit to Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.
Once visitors are done with Pearl Harbor museum, tour takes you around the city. The USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most visited destinations in Hawaii and a definite must-see during your vacation to Oahu and Pearl Harbor. The recently expanded Pearl Harbor visitor center includes two new galleries themed on Road to War and Attack.
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum General Admission
General Admission covers over 75 years of Pacific aviation history and includes full access to 50+ aircraft and all exhibits, including Hangars 37 & 79, the Museum Store, Laniakea Café and more. Take our experts along for a personal tour and enjoy free Pearl Harbor audio tours available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin. One headset is included with each General Admission ticket and can be found at the Museum Front Desk.
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Pearl Harbor 1940s Liberty Luau
Take in a classic Hawaiian celebration, a luau on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor. Enjoy this very unique 40s, 50s and 60s themed USO show with fine dining in a historic building on an active military base. This is not to be missed.
The newly updated museum is open 5 days a week from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission starts at $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and under are free. Choosing the Complete Pearl Harbor Experience is a great way to see everything over an entire day with a guide. If you are planning to go on your own, Passport to Pearl Harbor will give you the best deal if you plan to visit the other museums as well. A general admission ticket gives you access to hangars 37 and 79 and includes a self-guided audio tour headset . There are also military and resident discounts available.
The new and improved flight simulators are an additional $10 which is quite a thrilling acrobatic flight!
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Why Should Tourists Visit The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum On Their Oahu Vacation
Pearl Harbor is a place that matters. As time marches on it is easy to relegate the horrors of World War II to the pages of history. What visitors need to understand about Pearl Harbor is that the story continueswith you.
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum hopes their guests are inspired by the heroes, the sacrifices, the innovations and the spirit of our Greatest Generation, and apply those same characteristics to the issues we face today.
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Legends Of Pearl Harbor
Experience the Legends of Pearl Harbor coming to life on this short one-hour tour! In addition to all the exhibits offered in our General Admission ticket, Legends of Pearl Harbor offers guests the chance to learn the history and thrilling heroism of the December 7, 1941 attack, as well as board a legendary C-47 Transport plane and enter Lt. Ted Shealys Restoration shop. This behind the scenes peek at our restoration operations, plus an intimate tour with our expert Docents, creates an unforgettable and deeply-moving experience youre sure to remember forever. This tour also offers a free gift upon arrival, while supplies last.
Touring The Battleship Uss Missouri
General Admission includes a guided tour, which greatly enhances the experience.
Guided Tours are by retired military veterans and volunteers who are eager to share the many Mighty MO stories with you. Youll also hear the unforgettable Surrender Story.
There are concessions, vending machines and rest-stops on both the pier and the ship but restrooms are only located on the pier. The ship is moored on Ford Island, so visitors must take the shuttle located near the Bowfin Museum.
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Best Things To Do In Pearl Harbor
There are four main things to do on a visit to Pearl Harbor: visit the USS Arizona Memorial, tour the Battleship Missouri, tour the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and visit the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
The USS Arizona Memorial is what brings most visitors to Pearl Harbor. This memorial is part of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which is operated by the National Park Service, and it is free to visit.
The other three sites are not operated by the National Park Service and they have entrance fees. These sites round out the visit for those who want to learn more about the events that took place not only at Pearl Harbor, but in subsequent battles in WWII and beyond.
Next, I cover each of these four historical sites in more detail.
How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to Your Places, click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
Are The Pearl Harbor Sites Worth It
$83 per person is a lot to spend, and it really adds up if you are a family traveling with kids over the age of 12. So, is everything worth it?
The USS Arizona Memorial is absolutely worth it. This is the main attraction in Pearl Harbor, and it is free to visit, so this is not to be missed.
The Battleship Missouri has the biggest ticket price but I also think that it is worth it. To stand at the spot where WWII came to an end, to tour the ship and gaze up at the massive gun turrets, and learn what life is like aboard a ship like this is a memorable, eye-opening experience.
In my opinion, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is probably not worth it for everyone. Its worth it for those who want the full experience, have an interest with WWII history, and are interested in airplanes.
Tim is an Aerospace Engineer, and when we visited Pearl Harbor, Tyler was one month away from starting college, with plans to major in Aerospace Engineering, so the Aviation Museum was worth the visit for our family. But for most people, this is the site that I recommend skipping, if you want to save money and/or time.
The USS Bowfin is small and quick to visit. Its also located next to the visitor center so you dont have to ride the shuttle to get here. I think it is worth it, but if you only want to tour one ship, the Battleship Missouri gets my vote.
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The Rebirth Of Pearl Harbor
Senator Daniel Inoye
Much of the credit of creating an aviation museum at Ford Island goes to Hawaiis Senator Daniel Inouye. Senator Inouye had been an elected representative of the state of Hawaii working in Washington D.C. for 58 years He died in 2012 at the age of 88. He was a staunch supporter of honoring the servicemen who fought in World War II and he had good reason to be. He was one of them! Inouye was an aid station volunteer during the Pearl Harbor attack and went on to fight in Italy in the infamous 442 Regiment were he lost his right arm.He received the Medal of Honor for his heroic battlefield actions.
During his time as a senator he brought in funding for the Arizona Memorial in the 1960s and was instrumental in championing the rebuilding and rebirth of Ford Island in 1999. The first section of the museum, hangar 37, opened in 2006 and features a variety of aircraft exhibits with many relating directly to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hangar 79 features jet aircraft and the building shows bullet hole damage from the 1941 attack.