Thing to Do

Visit the USS Arizona Memorial

Visitors look through the open windows down to the ship below the surface.
USS Arizona Memorial and Visitors

Often times when thinking about Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the USS Arizona Memorial is the image that comes to mind. The white monolithic structure spanning the sunken battleship below is a place of reflection and remembrance, of solemn contemplation, a way to contextualize a pivotal moment in world history and you can tread on this hallowed ground. 

The USS Arizona Memorial program is facilitated by the National Park Service, tickets are free, but required. 

The first-come first-served ticket distribution program is no longer available.

Program Participation: Once you have made your reservation, plan to arrive at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center 1-hour before your ticket time, and check in at the Theater 10-minutes before your reserved program time.This will give you plenty of time to park, as well as see our two museums before your program. If you are not here by your program time, your seats may be given away to visitors waiting for standby availability.

For more information: Ranger Tips for Visiting Pearl Harbor National Memorial 


30-45 Minutes
Gather at the Pearl Harbor Theater to have your advance reservation validated. Conditions permitting view the 23-minute park film. Then board a US Navy provided vessel to transit to the USS Arizona Memorial where you will have the opportunity to spend time in the Shrine Room, or if viability permits viewing the underwater structure of the battleship. National Park Service staff and volunteers will be on site to answer questions you may have. 

There is no restroom access once you depart the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center for the Memorial. Please plan accordingly. 
Service Animals Only. 
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.

After the guns fell silent in 1945, the world took a deep breath and wondered with awe what had happened during World War II. Instead of focusing on memorializing the sacrifices of the past 4 years, people turned their efforts toward burying the dead and rebuilding. 

On December 7, 1955, the first efforts to remember Pearl Harbor took place. A ten-foot basalt stone was placed on the eastern edge of Ford Island by the Navy Club. It stood within 100 yards of the submerged wreckage of the USS Arizona. It honored all the American servicemen killed on December 7, 1941 and was the first permanent memorial at Pearl Harbor. But others, in particular the Navy, wanted more. A letter was submitted to the Secretary of the Navy pointing out a need for a memorial over the USS Arizona: “Whether or not the navy has done its best to preserve the dignity of the USS Arizona’s remains, it is still blamed because this burial place for 1,101 men is a rusted mass of junk…an appropriate memorial should be constructed to honor the valiant men who went down with her and now lie entombed within her hull”.

Over the next three years there were movements by private individuals and the military to create a memorial that would fulfill that purpose. A national campaign of was undertaken to raise $500,000 to build an appropriate memorial befitting the sacrifice at Pearl Harbor. Politicians and well-meaning citizens solicited great patriotic fervor, however, it was celebrities that launched the campaign and raised nearly one-third of the money. In 1958, Ralph Edwards’ program “This is Your Life”, featured the Arizona’s senior surviving officer Lt. Cdr. Samuel Fuqua, a December 7th Medal of Honor recipient. The program was showcased on national television. Mr. Edwards solicited the public at the end of the program to contribute nickels, dimes and dollars to build the USS Arizona Memorial and he subsequently raised $95,000.  

 By 1961, the campaign to raise money had waned. Stepping into the spotlight was an unconventional rock and roll icon who gave a benefit concert at Pearl Harbor on March 25, 1961. The star wore a gold lame and silver-sequined lapel sport coat and performed to the accompaniment of what one observer called “sub-navel quaking and shaking” that was responded with screams and cries of several thousand fans. Elvis Presley raised $65,000. A total of $500,000 was needed to build the memorial. Designs were submitted; money was donated, but not enough. Congress and the state of Hawaii moved to submit funding bills so that the Memorial could be completed. Started during the Eisenhower administration, it would be completed in 1961 during the Kennedy administration. 

The design and construction of the USS Arizona Memorial was well under way before the fundraising was completed. The necessary ingredient was to find an architect suitable for the task ahead. The architect selected was Alfred Preis. 

The Navy’s original specifications called for a bridge like structure that spanned the sunken battleship. Pries’s vision was a catenary span over the Arizona creating an open, soaring effect. A credit to the architects’ genius was that he used structural vocabulary to express his philosophical approach to the Memorial’s meaning. Interestingly, the architect viewed the United States as a pacifistic nation, one that would inevitably sustain the first blow in any war. His design was meant to be a reminder to Americans of the inevitability of sustaining the initial defeat, of the potential for victory, and the sacrifices necessary to make the painful journey from defeat to victory. The message was complex. It required a serene and non-coercive atmosphere for contemplation. So Preis designed an open-assembly deck for the Memorial. A separate room was set aside to enshrine the names of the Arizona’s dead. This element was essential, for it embodied the loss and sacrifice that the architect understood as an important aspect of the Memorial’s design. 

What is interesting to note is that the Memorial continues to evolve in its public interpretation of its architecture? Only one design element was purposefully planned by Alfred Preis and that was “The Tree of Life”, an irregular window pattern found on either side of the memorial wall. It was this contemporary design and meaning that Alfred drew upon for his universal icon of peace and harmony, a symbol that can be found among most of the world’s cultures and religions.

Several years after its completion he explained his design concept…

“The form, wherein the structure sags in the center but stands strong and vigorous at the ends expresses initial defeat and ultimate victory. Wide openings in the walls and roof permit a flooding of sunlight and a close view of the sunken battleship eight feet below, both fore and aft. At low tide, as the sun shines upon the hull, the barnacles which encrusted, shimmer like gold jewels…a beautiful sarcophagus. The overall effect is one of serenity. Overtones of sadness have been omitted to permit the individual to contemplate his own personal responses, his innermost feelings.”

Plans for the dedication wavered back and forth between the 20th anniversary of the attack, December 7, 1961 and Memorial Day 1962. The latter date was chosen for the reason that the construction could not be completed in time for a December 7th ceremony. 

In 1980 the Park Service took over the Navy the tour operations of the USS Arizona Memorial. A presidential proclamation by President George W. Bush in 2008 renamed the national park to…WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. A new visitor center was built in 2010 to provide a museum, theater facilities and visitor services. And in 2019 the park was rededicated, Pearl Harbor National Memorial. 

When visitors enter the shrine room they are confronted with a wall of Vermont marble bearing the names of 1,177 of the Arizona’s dead. It is a vivid reminder of the loss of life on that day in December of 1941. They linger and stare at the wreckage of the ship below and realize that it is a tomb for most of its crew. Over 1.8 million visitors go to the USS Arizona Memorial annually. To the many the visit to the Memorial is interpreted as a place that is considered as sacred ground and its waters as hallowed.

The USS Arizona Memorial program is free, but tickets are required. 

The walk-in first-come first-served ticket distribution program is no longer available. is the only official reservation website for Pearl Harbor National Memorial’s USS Arizona Memorial Program. If you used any other website to reserve a tour, please read the fine print. Please know that the USS Arizona Memorial Program is free, charges and keeps the $1 non-refundable program reservation fee.

Step-by-step guidance on booking through

Beginning on Monday, May 3,’s primary booking window for USS Arizona Memorial tickets will increase from 1-week in advance to 8-weeks in advance.

This means that on May 3 at 3pm HST, tickets will release for up to 8-weeks (56 days) in the future through June 28. Going forward, new tickets will release on this long-range rolling schedule, one day at a time. The secondary booking window,1-day in advance will remain the same.

Click Sign In or Sign Up to log in to your account or create a new one

Visit the page for USS Arizona Memorial Program reservations

Click the Calendar Icon button under the Date field. Update the number of tickets you are reserving under the Quantity field
The current limit is 5 tickets per reservation per day. Everyone needs a ticket, including infants and small children. You may have to make multiple reservations to reach the desired number of tickets.

Select your program time from the available Tour Times.

  • If specific dates and times are gray, those dates and program times have either been fully reserved or we are not within the window to preview availability.


  • If dates are gray & yellow, tickets for those dates have not been released yet, but are within the window to preview availability, an alert will pop up on the bottom of the website informing you when the next release will be.


  • Blue dates and program times are available.

Click Add to Cart and check out as directed.

There is a $1 per ticket non-refundable program management fee. This fee is not collected by the National Park Service, it is collected by

Check your e-mail and print your QR Code for check in at the Ticket Validation Desk at the Pearl Harbor Theater.

It is strongly recommended that you arrive on site at least 1-hour prior to your scheduled program time. Your program time is when your US Navy provided vessel is scheduled to depart the shore side dock. If you do not arrive and check in early for your program on time, your seats may be given to those waiting in line for standby availability.

Park Rangers cannot create, modify, rebook, refund, or cancel any reservations.

Need assistance? Pearl Harbor National Memorial Park Rangers do not have access to program inventory, nor can they create, modify, or cancel reservations made via or by third party booking sites and vendors. You can contact for additional help via any of the options listed on their website, or your third party sale site directly.

The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is the portal for all visitors to Pearl Harbor. It consistently ranks among the top three most heavily-visited tourist destinations in the State of Hawai'i. Visitors should expect heavy visitation throughout the year, but our busiest seasons are summertime, winter holidays, and spring break. During these times, we often run out of tickets by mid-morning, so reservations are recommended.
Accessibility Information
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial Theater, US Navy Vessels, and USS Arizona Memorial are fully accessible. 

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Last updated: May 3, 2021