USS Arizona Memorial

The USS Arizona Memorial as seen from a US Navy shuttle boat. Taken on a bright sunny day on Oahu.

Pearl Harbor is a vast network of bays and waterways. Visitors are surprised when they do not see any modern warships in front of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. This is because the Navy’s destroyers, cruisers, transports, and submarines are hidden away in the restricted areas of Pearl Harbor. However, sometimes, a super large tanker, hospital ship, or aircraft carrier will dock within the site of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

The Navy owes the land under the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and the ocean surrounding the USS Arizona Memorial. In 1968, the Navy appointed the National Park Service to operate the Visitor Center and be the caretaker of the USS Arizona Memorial. The Navy treasures the USS Arizona Memorial and shows its devotion daily in many different ways.

Every day, the Navy supplies the boats and sailors that shuttle the visitors to and from the USS Arizona Memorial. Their crews are immaculately dressed in their whites and safely transport young and old to the Memorial. It is estimated that the Navy spends at least a million dollars yearly on gasoline and maintenance of its Arizona shuttles.

During the Christmas holiday, the Navy offers free tours of Pearl Harbor for military and civilian families. This is an incredible, narrated tour of Pearl Harbor, a chance of a lifetime. The passengers have the opportunity to cruise Pearl Harbor, see the Navy’s mothball fleet, check out the harbor’s entrance, learn where their destroyers and submarines are docked, circle Ford Island and get up close to the USS Arizona, Battleship Row and hear all the stories of December 7, 1941.

Arizona Memorial Monument

The assembly room on the Arizona Memorial monument at Pearl Harbor, looking toward the shrine room.

The battleship Arizona Memorial was constructed in 1962. Alfred Preis designed the monument. The funding for the Memorial was raised through a mixture of government grants, public donations, plastic model sales, and a special concert held by Elvis Presley. The Memorial straddles the Arizona battleship but does not touch the ship. When you arrive at the Arizona Memorial, walk up the ramp from the boat dock and enter the battleship Arizona Memorial. The view from the Memorial offers a great bow-on view of the USS Missouri battleship, which is docked in front of the battleship Arizona. Some portions of the ship are still visible above water. These are parts of the superstructure, the remains of the number 2 turret, and the number 3 turret Barbette. Attached to the remains of the mainmast is a flagpole. The American flag is raised and lowered each day. You may notice an orange buoy to either side of the Memorial; these denote the bow and stern of the ship. You will see the memorial wall in the shrine room at the back of the Arizona Memorial. The names of the 1,177 sailors and Marines who died aboard the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941. There are holes in the floor of the Memorial where you can look upon the deck of the ship. Many visitors choose to pay their respects by dropping flowers into the water. As you look into the water at the Arizona Memorial, you may notice an oil sheen on the water and smell the fuel oil. You may also see the black drops as they break upon the surface. This is fuel oil still slowly leaking from the USS Arizona’s fuel bunkers. They are known as the “black tears” of the USS Arizona battleship. While on the Arizona Memorial, there are some things to consider. The Arizona Memorial is a cemetery. Many of the Sailors and Marines who died aboard her are still interred within her hull, and the survivors are given the option of being interred in the ship along with their crewmates.

Arizona Memorial Theater

Inside the theater at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The theater plays a 23-minute documentary produced by the National Park Service, that includes film footage from the attack on Dec.7, 1941.

The first step in the Arizona Memorial Program is the National Park Service-operated 23-minute film. This film is played at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Theater. The theater is one of the original features of the Arizona Memorial. The theater has been playing the introductory film ever since the public program began. However, the actual film shown has been revised over the years. The theater is air-conditioned and features stadium-style seating with a seating capacity of 150. The theater auditorium has two screens; a new screening begins every 15 minutes. The film provides a summary of the causes leading up to the attack as well as a breakdown of the attack, including actual footage taken during the attack. The film also briefly covers the building of the Arizona Memorial.

Arizona Memorial Boat Ride

Pearl Harbor Navy boat on its way back from the Arizona Memorial Monument transferring Visitors to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

Once you leave the theater, passengers are directed down a ramp to get to the boat dock. The only way to get to the Arizona Memorial is by boat. Two shuttle boats rotate between the Visitor’s Center and Arizona Memorial every 15 minutes. While the National Park Service manages the Visitor’s Center and Arizona Memorial, the US Navy operates the shuttle boats. Every day, the Navy supplies the boats and sailors that shuttle the visitors to and from the USS Arizona Memorial. Their crews are immaculate in their dress whites and safely transport all passengers to the Memorial. Estimates are that the Navy spends at least a million dollars annually on fuel and maintenance of its Arizona shuttles. Each boat is able to accommodate 150 passengers. While only two shuttles are running at any one time, the Navy had a total of five shuttles in case there is a breakdown. The US Navy is responsible for the safe operation of the shuttles and reserves the right to suspend the operation of the boats should they deem conditions to be unsafe. They will decide upon a course of action as the situation arises.

Arizona Memorial Book Shop

Pearl Harbor Museum store offers hundreds of books written about the Pearl Harbor attack and WWII.

Don’t forget to check out the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center Bookstore. The bookstore is operated by the nonprofit Pacific Historic Parks. In addition to history books and reference materials, the bookstore offers a wide array of souvenirs and keepsakes. A portion of the proceeds goes toward funding the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. One unique gift option that the bookstore offers are the USS Arizona Memorial flags. These are flags flown over the Arizona Memorial. Each day the flag over the Arizona Memorial is raised and lowered. Each day a new flag is flown. A flag may be ordered that is to be flown on a specific date. Once the flag is lowered, it is folded in the traditional fashion, packed together with a certificate and personalized message, and shipped to the buyer. There are date restrictions such as flags flown on December 7, the Fourth of July, or Memorial Day and on days that Pearl Harbor National Memorial is closed.

Arizona Memorial Audio Set

USS Arizona Memorial Audio set stand staff in Pearl Harbor National Memorial talking to visitors

The Arizona Memorial is a truly memorable experience. The Arizona Memorial Audio Tour is a way to take your tour to the next level; The Arizona Memorial Audio Tour includes approximately 2 hours of narration that takes you through the exhibit galleries “Road to War” and “Attack,” providing information on the various artifacts and displays. There is also narration regarding the various outdoor exhibits, such as the battleship USS Arizona’s anchor. The narration even continues as you take the Navy shuttle out to the Arizona Memorial as well as on the Memorial itself. In fact, this is the only way to receive narration when you are on the Arizona Memorial. Your narrator through the audio tour is the famous actress Jamie Lee Curtiss. Her father, Tony Curtiss, is a WWII veteran. The Arizona Memorial audio tour is available in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Italian, and Russian.

Arizona Memorial VR Set

The Virtual Reality center at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. The VR Center offers a unique experience allowing you to walk the deck of the USS Arizona battleship in virtual reality.

The Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center takes your Pearl Harbor tour into the 21st century. Through a set of VR mobile Apps, you will be able to walk the decks of the USS Arizona Battleship or bear witness as the Japanese planes fly overhead on their attack on battleship row as they did on December 7, 1941. The VR tour will also enhance your tour through the exhibit galleries “Road to War” and “Attack.” This is a truly unique experience that one should not pass up. The apps and hardware are available at the Pearl Harbor Visitor’s Center.

Most Popular Oahu Tours

Best Pearl Harbor Tours – NOW ON SALE


The following tours are recognized as the most popular Pearl Harbor Tours on Oahu. While generally, our price is the lowest in the market now, for a limited time, they are on sale too.

  • tour1

    Tour # 1

    Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial monument, and visitor center of Pearl Harbor.


    about 4.5 - 5 hours





  • 346X346a-1

    Tour # 2

    Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial monument and a short Honolulu city tour


    about 4.5 - 5 hours





  • 346X346b

    Tour # 4

    Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri Battleship and a short Honolulu city tour


    about 7 - 8 hours