Visiting Pearl Harbor – A Must Do History Lesson

Map of Pearl Harbor

By Lakshmi:

Who?  Anyone visiting the island of Oahu in Hawaii must make their way to get a first hand look at a period when history was redefined.

What? Pearl Harbor and Arizona Memorial located in Oahu.

How? There are many tour companies that offer tours dedicated to these landmarks and more.  We had a rented car and drove to the venue.  Our advice is to avoid doing what we did which is getting there late morning when the parking lots are completely packed and spending a ton of time trying to find a space for your car.  The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center opens at 7:00 am and it would be best to start your day with a visit.  Once you get in, you will need tickets to get to the Arizona Memorial.  Again if you get there late, you may have a long wait for tickets.  The smart thing to do is to reserve tickets online and just pick them up in person  You can reserve your tickets at  There is a small convenience fee of $1.50 charged.

Why?  The attack on Pearl Harbor was the official trigger point for the US to enter World War II.  The visitor center at Pearl Harbor through a variety of multimedia exhibits brings to light the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the consequences of the attack.  We had studied this point in history as kids growing up in India and our kids had learnt of the developments in their middle school years in the US.  Each of us was transfixed with the stories in front of us and it made the attack on Pearl Harbor real to us in a way no history lesson ever had.  Once we had toured the exhibits, we spent time walking around the area imagining that crucial time in history.  The boat ride to the Arizona Memorial is a sober experience, since it is actually a place were so many perished.  The mood is akin to what one experiences at Arlington National Cemetary but amplified since it was an unexpected attack at this very spot that sent so many to a gruesome end.

To learn more about visiting Pearl Harbor, here are two excellent resources.

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