Fun Pearl Harbor Facts

1. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center was built on reclaimed land from Pearl Harbor Bay, and the theaters and sideways have been sinking a few inches each year.

2. One of the best days to come to Pearl Harbor is on Dec 7th, this day has the most activities for visitors to experience, yet it’s one of the slowest days of the year.

3. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is the only Aviation Museum in the country located on an actual WWII battleground.

4. The USS Bowfin is the only submarine in World War II to have a patch on its ship’s battle flag that shows a pier and a bus. The USS Bowfin shot a torpedo at a freighter. While the ship was unloading its cargo in a harbor, the torpedo went under the ship, blew up the pier, and the bus sank in the water. The Bowfin crew added this patch to the other, showing 44 ships it sunk on its nine war patrols.

5. Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is known in Hawaii for being haunted and featured on many TV programs.

6. The USS Missouri fought in WWII, the Korean War, and the Gulf War but did not participate in the Vietnam war.

7. In the Attack Museum in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, look on the floor in the center of the Museum; there, you will discover a drawing of the actual size of the Japanese torpedo used to sink the ships on Battleship Row.

8. On the lawn outside the USS Bowfin Museum, you will discover the only authentic KAITEN -a Japanese manned suicide torpedo on display in the United States. The Japanese built hundreds of these Kaitens, fearing the US invasion of mainland Japan.

9. Sadako Sasaki’s family gave the National Park Service one of the few remaining peace paper cranes folded by Sadako. At the ceremony, a Japanese pilot that had bombed Pearl Harbors and a USS Arizona Survivor shook hands on stage. That was one of the highlights of the ceremony.

10. The US Navy ran the prostitute houses in China Town during WWII; the cost was Just $2.50. One dollar for rent, one dollar for the girl’s services, and $.50 reserved for medication.

11. Every day, the National Park Serves reserves two shuttles to the Memorial (300 seats) for student groups.

12. The National Park Service has two displays at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center that educates the visitor on the Pearl Harbor Shark Goddess. The first display is in the Oahu Court, and the second display is behind the National Park Service ticket counter.

13. Japanese student groups that come to Pearl Harbor are shocked to learn about their country’s sneak attack on Dec 7th, 1941; in school, they are taught very little about WWII.

14. During the US government shutdowns, the Park Rangers are laid off, but when the government reopens, everyone gets their full back pay.

15. After the grand opening of the new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, annual visitation in 2011 went from 1.2 million to 2 million visitors by 2016.

16. Once, the US Navy sailors closed down the USS Arizona Memorial shuttle so that they could watch the Super Bowl game (They claimed it was due to bad weather). There were hundreds of complaints because it was such a nice day, and the next day the National Park Superintendent went to see the Admiral in charge of Pearl Harbor; needless to say, it never happened again,


17. Oil is still leaking from the sunken Battleship Arizona after 81 years, and about a quart of oil slowly rises to the water’s surface throughout the day and can easily be seen by its visitors. Locals refer to this as “the black tears of Arizona.” Over the years, a few visitors have taken pictures of the oil patches showing scenes of horrible faces.

18. When the marble wall in the USS Arizona Memorial’s Shrine Room needed to be replaced, the National Park Services shredded the old marble into little pieces and dumbed them far out in the ocean so no one could use them as some sort of souvenir.


19. Every week, the Executive Directors and their Sales Directors of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites partners meet to discuss ways to work together. On one occupation a few years ago, the discussion centered on coming up with a one-day pass to include the USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour and admission to the USS Bowfin, USS Missouri, and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. When first introduced to the travel agents, they would fail because visitors did not want to spend an entire day at Pearl Harbor. The travel agents could not have been more wrong; the new Passport to Pearl Harbor became the best-seller package.

20. The small Sadako Sasaki Crane display in the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center’s Attack Museum cost $75,000 and was donated by the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce. This display was built to encase the tiny and fragile Sadako paper crane in clear Nitrogen gas. The nitrogen gas is to help preserve the paper crane from unfolding and deteriorating so visitors can view her perfect paper crane for generations.

21. A few years ago, a high diplomatic executive requested the National Park Service to assist the seven Moroccan princesses are coming to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Upon arrival, the Rangers welcome committee was shocked to see that the princesses are all in their early 20s, looked completely different, and were of different nationalities. Later they learned from the girl’s bodyguard that they were not princesses by travel companions for the Prince.

22. The USS Bowfin Submarine was assigned to pick up downed US pilots from an air raid on Japan. one of the pilots they rescued was a future President, George Bush, senior.

23. The National Park Service gets many requests from movie stars, famous athletes, and well-known billionaires to have a private shuttle arranged for them to the USS Arizona Memorial, but all are politely refused. The National Park Service refuses to show favoritism and does not want to deny the public a chance to visit the Memorial.

24. Anyone can bring a US flag to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and have it flown over the USS Arizona Memorial at no cost. Drop it at the National Park Service desk, and they will call you when it’s ready for pick up.

25. During the Christmas holiday period, the Navy offers free tours of Pearl Harbor for military and civilian families with their USS Arizona Memorial Shuttle boats. This incredible, narrated tour of Pearl Harbor is a chance of a lifetime. For information, go to

26. Sterling Cale was known as the “Warhorse of the Pearl Harbor Survivors.” Sterling led a charmed military career. He was the man in charge of taking the bodies off the USS Arizona Memorial after the attack. As a corpsman, he was on Guadalcanal from the invasion to the end of the fighting, he served during the Korean War and the entire Vietnam War, ending his military service in Laos for two years with the CIA. His favorite saying is, “It’s always a great day when you enjoy life above the grass.” Serling wrote a book on his life, and it can be purchased at

27. During WWII and the Korean War, in addition to the nine 16-inch guns, the USS Missouri was equipped with twenty 5-inch guns for land bombardments and ship-to-ship combat. In addition, there were eighty 40mm guns and forty-nine 20mm autocannons for anti-aircraft defense.

28. During the Gulf War, besides the nine 16-inch guns, the USS Missouri was equipped with 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 32 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and four Phalanx Close-In Weapon System rotary cannons for destroying enemy missiles and aircraft.

29. After WWII, 44 sailors that were part of the crew of the USS Arizona and survived the Dec 7th attack received permission from the Navy to be interred within the hull of the Battleship Arizona. The memorial service is held on the USS Arizona Memorial after hours. It includes National Park Service divers placing the urn in the ship, a committal service, rifle salute, TAPS, flag, and plaque presentation to the family.

30. The Sadako crane is so tiny because it was made from gum paper wrapping. After WWII, paper in Japan was scarce and expensive, so when Sadako wanted to fold 1000 cranes, she asked her nurses to find any scraps of paper they could.

31. Families were children between 4-11 years of age should consider purchasing the National Park Service Junior Ranger book for only $3.00 each. Once the book is filled up, the child takes it to the Rangers, and they are sworn in as official; Junior Rangers and receive a certificate and badge. It is the perfect photo opportunity that you will treasure forever.

32. A secret escape door on the Memorial is in an emergency due to a terrorist act.

33. Besides the Navy’s shuttle boats, only the Pearl Harbor Admiral’s yacht is allowed to dock at the USS Arizona Memorial.

34. Before Sept 11, tourist boats from Waikiki and private yachts were allowed to enter Pearl Harbor. After Sept 11, only military ships and officers’ vessels could cruise Pearl Harbor.

35. For a unique and fun experience, visit the Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center, located in the courtyard of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. For just $4.95, you can “View the Attack on Battleship Row,” “Walk the Desk of the USS Arizona Before the Attack.”, and “Explore the USS Arizona Memorial.”

36. Be sure to have your family picture taken with the famous Lone Sailor Statue, located behind the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center’s courtyard.

37. The USS Arizona carried three 2.000-pound anchors; one was used for parking the ship in calm waters, two were used for windy ocean conditions, and the last was used as a spare.

38. During the ammunition magazine explosion on the Battleship Arizona, its 2,000-pound anchor, was thrown 100 feet into Pearl Harbor Bay. Navy divers were able to salvage it, and now this anchor is on display at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.