Frequently Asked Questions
Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial
What is the USS Arizona Memorial?
Designed by Honolulu architect Alfred Preis, the USS Arizona Memorial was built in 1962 on top of (but not touching) the sunken Battleship USS Arizona. The USS Arizona was bombed on December 7, 1941, about 15 minutes into the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 sailors and Marines on board. Today she rests where she fell, just off the coast of Ford Island. The memorial honors the memory of the crew of the USS Arizona, as well as all the other service members and civilians who died during the attack. A total of 2,335 sailors, soldiers, and marines died as a result of the attack, as well as 68 civilians.
How do I get to the USS Arizona Memorial?
Programs to the USS Arizona Memorial start at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. If you are doing a search on your GPS, look for the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818. For more detailed directions, please see our direction page.
What does a visit to the memorial include?
The USS Arizona Memorial program includes the following:
All together, the USS Arizona Memorial ticketed program lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
How much does it cost?
The USS Arizona Memorial Program is always free. However, you will need a timed ticket.
How can I visit the USS Arizona Memorial?
The only way to access the memorial is by boat. The US Navy operates boats out to the memorial, and the National Park Service issues the free tickets. Visitors can plan to visit the memorial in one of two ways:
How do I get a walk-in ticket?
You can get tickets at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center ticket desk during our open hours.
Please remember that your entire party must be present to get tickets.
We average about 4,000 visitors per day. The 1,300 tickets we hand out daily are often enough for walk-in visitors. The rest of the tickets have been reserved by individuals, schools, tour companies, military units, or other groups.
During our busiest seasons (Christmas break, spring break, and summertime), we usually run out of tickets at some point in the day, and long lines are common. However, if you are here early or make reservations ahead of time, it's still possible to get tickets.
Please note: You can only pick up same-day walk-in tickets. For example, you cannot pick up walk-in tickets for January 20th on January 19th.
How do I make a reservation to visit the memorial?
Reservations are made through www.recreation.gov. There are two windows to make a reservation.
Please keep in mind that you will pay a non-refundable $1.50 convenience fee per reserved ticket. You are not paying for your free USS Arizona Memorial program ticket; you are paying a convenience fee to make your reservation.
There is a reservation limit of 12 tickets per person per day.
How do I make reservations for a school field trip or military unit?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to make a reservation for military units. For more information on planning a school field trip, please see our Field Trip FAQ page.
What if I have a question about my reservation?
Here at the visitor center, we do not manage any reservations made through www.recreation.gov. If you have any questions about your reservation, please contact the www.recreation.gov support team. You can reach them online or by phone at 1-888-448-1474.
How early do I need to pick up reserved tickets?
We suggest that visitors arrive an hour before their ticket time in order to pick up their tickets, see the harbor area, and tour our two museums before their program. At a minimum, please be here five to ten minutes before your program to make sure you can enter the theater. If you are not here by your program time and we are out of walk-in tickets, your seats may be given away to visitors on standby.
What if I arrive without reservations and all the tickets are gone for the day?
During our busy seasons (Christmas break, spring break, and summertime), this happens often to guests who arrive later in the day.
What else do I need to know about my free ticket?
Please keep in mind that your free ticket does not include the USS Arizona audio tour or access to any other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. You can purchase all of these at the visitor center.
What is the USS Arizona audio tour?
The USS Arizona audio tour is supplementary to the memorial program and includes more in-depth information about the attack, as well as oral histories from survivors. The audio tour can be purchased for $7.50 per headset. If you are taking the boat out to the memorial, plan on the audio tour adding about one hour to that program, for a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes.
The audio tour covers points along the harbor, in our museums, and at the memorial. It is available in the following languages:
The boats to the memorial have been cancelled. What can I do? Can I get a refund?
Here at the monument, the National Park Service works with the US Navy to conduct programs to the memorial. If the winds reach 25 mph, the navy may decide to suspend or cancel boat trips to the memorial for safety reasons. This is a decision made by the navy, not the park service.
If your program is cancelled due to weather and you want to come back to visit the memorial, you will need to secure another ticket for another day. The monument can only issue same-day tickets. We cannot issue tickets for subsequent days. Our recommendation is to either go online to reserve a ticket through www.recreation.gov, or to get a walk-in ticket by coming to the monument on another day.
Even if the boats are suspended, the visitor center will remain open as usual. You will still be able to access our museums and get a ticket to view the 23-minute documentary in the theater.
The National Park Service does not issue refunds for USS Arizona Memorial tickets, because tickets to the memorial are free. If you reserved tickets through recreation.gov, you paid a non-refundable convenience fee of $1.50 per ticket to make the reservation. If you purchased an audio tour, you will have the option of being reimbursed for the cost of each headset. Please call recreation.gov support, let them know the day and time of your reserved audio tour ticket, and request a refund.
If you purchased a Passport to Pearl Harbor through recreation.gov, you will not be refunded, because the Passport paid for access to all our partner sites, which will still be open even if the boats are shut down. The USS Arizona Memorial tickets you got with your Passport were free.
Are small children allowed to go to the USS Arizona Memorial?
Yes. There is no age limit for the memorial. However, keep in mind that strollers must be left by the theater entrance and cannot be brought to the memorial. Please note that children of all ages going to the memorial must have a ticket.
Are there restrooms at the memorial?
There are no public restrooms on the USS Arizona Memorial. There are, however, restrooms available throughout the visitor center, so be sure to use them before your trip out to the memorial!
Are there wheelchairs available at the monument?
Unfortunately, we do not have wheelchairs available at the monument, except for emergencies. However, the visitor center, theaters, and boats are all wheelchair accessible.
Walking the distance between facilities can be challenging for visitors with mobility issues, although there are several benches located throughout the visitor center to facilitate rest opportunities.
How about food and drink?
There is no food or drink allowed in the theater or at the memorial, with the exception of clear water.
Food and drink is allowed in the rest of the visitor center. We have a small snack shop on site where you can buy sandwiches, snacks, drinks, etc. The USS Bowfin Submarine and Museum has a small concession area where you can buy hotdogs and soup. The Battleship Missouri has a lunch wagon, and the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island has a cafe. There are also many restaurants just a short drive from the visitor center.
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
What can I do at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center?
There are four main sites at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.
The ticket booth for our partner sites is located right next to the USS Arizona Memorial ticket booth. You will need to pay for admission to all of these partner sites.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park is located at the visitor center. The Battleship Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum are both located on Ford Island, which is a short shuttle ride from the visitor center. The cost of the shuttle ride is included with your ticket purchase.
What is WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument?
WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument oversees operations at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and maintains and operates the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma Memorials on nearby Ford Island.
How can I see the USS Oklahoma and USS Utah Memorials?You can visit the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island by purchasing a $3 shuttle ticket at the Battleship Missouri ticket desk. If you purchase a ticket to the Battleship Missouri, you can also see the USS Oklahoma Memorial that way, as it is located nearby.
At this time, the USS Utah Memorial on Ford Island is only open to visitors with a government ID card.
Where is the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center located?
If you are doing a search on your GPS, look for the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, located at 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818. For more detailed directions, please see our direction page.
Is visitor parking available?
Yes, free parking is available for visitors. Please do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
Can I bring bags onsite?No. While you are welcome to bring cameras, water bottles, and other items, bags are not allowed on site for security reasons. You will have to leave bags in your vehicle, or check them at the Baggage Storage building located to the right of the visitor center entrance. There is a fee of $3 per bag.
Can I get one ticket that will get me into everything at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center?Yes! You can go to recreation.gov and purchase a Passport to Pearl Harbor. This ticket covers the cost of admission to the Battleship Missouri, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, as well as the cost of the USS Arizona audio tour.
The Passport through recreation.gov also includes a free ticket to the USS Arizona Memorial program for the day and time of your choosing.
IMPORTANT: If you purchase the Passport, please plan to be here for the whole day. It takes 8-10 hours to make the most of your ticket and see all of the sites. If you don't finish the tour in one day, the Passport can be used for a second day within a consecutive seven-day period. To extend your Passport, simply check in to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites ticket counter, located in the courtyard of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. There is a $10 fee per adult ticket ($5 per child ticket) for this service.
What if I make reservations through another website?
Please be aware that the only place you can make a reservation to get on a boat and see the USS Arizona Memorial is on recreation.gov. All other offers (for example, the Passport available on the www.ussmissouri.org website) do NOT include a ticket to the USS Arizona Memorial, even though they do include the audio tour.
Can I use the Go Oahu card at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center?The Go Oahu card covers the cost of the USS Arizona Memorial audio tour. It also gives you admission to all our partner sites. The Go Oahu card cannot be used for the USS Arizona Memorial program, since tickets are already free and available on a first-come, first served basis.
I am in the military and want to do my reenlistment ceremony at the visitor center. How can I do this?Please email email@example.com to schedule your reenlistment ceremony at the visitor center.
Where can I find out more about the 75th commemoration ceremony?
I have another question that wasn't covered here. Help!
If you have any other questions, please give us a call at 808-422-3399 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Pearl Harbor Attack
Is it true that oil still leaks from the USS Arizona?
Yes. Currently, the ship leaks 2-9 quarts each day.
Since 1998, the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center (SRC) and the USS Arizona Memorial have been conducting research directed at understanding the nature and rate of natural processes affecting the deterioration of the USS Arizona, as well as monitoring hull conditions and oil release rates. Oil release observed during the 1980's Arizona documentation project originated from a hatch on the starboard (right) side of barbette number three, and later from a hatch on the starboard side of barbette number four. Consequently, when oil release monitoring began in 1998, those hatches were a primary focus.
During fieldwork from 1998 to the present, gradually increasing amounts of oil have been observed releasing from forward of the memorial; however, comprehensive measurement of oil release forward of the memorial in the upper deck galley was not completed until June 2006. Measured release rates have gradually increased each year in direct proportion to the number of locations monitored: in 1998, 1.0 quart (0.95 liters) was measured from one location; in 2003, 2.1 quarts (2.0 liters) were measured from two locations; in 2004, 2.3 quarts (2.2 liters) were measured from two locations; in 2006, 9.5 quarts (9.0 liters) were measured from eight locations. The 2006 oil release measurements are the most comprehensive completed to date – increase in oil release over previous years is in part explained by more release locations being successfully measured then previously.
Although observed rates of oil coming to the surface has gradually increased over the past several years, there is no indication of an increase in the amount of oil released from the primary oil containment spaces in the ship’s lower decks. The increase in oil release rates vary considerably with differing wind, tide, and harbor conditions. Although the exact amount cannot be determined, the USS Arizona contains an estimated 500,000 gallons (liters) of Bunker-C fuel within its hull.
What happened to the man who said, "Don't worry about it..." when informed by radar technicians about a large number of planes heading toward Oahu?Lieutenant Kermit Tyler was an Army Air Forces pilot who was temporarily detailed to the Fort Shafter Information Office as Pursuit Officer. December 7 was his second day on the job, and he had no idea what his duties were supposed to be. After voicing his concerns over his lack of experience (and no understanding of radar or how to interpret it), he was told to report to duty at 4 a.m.
Driving to work at 3:00 a.m., Lt. Tyler remembered a friend telling him a Honolulu radio station would broadcast all night when Army Air Force B-17 heavy bombers were flying in from the mainland to Hickam Field. This practice allowed pilots to return home to O'ahu and remain on course (unfortunately, the attacking Japanese planes did the same thing!) He turned on his car radio and found music playing so he knew a flight of American planes was still en route.
Arriving for duty, Lieutenant Tyler discovered air plotters and administrative switchboard operators were already on duty. However, because it was Sunday, there were no other officers on duty, leaving only a small staff to complete the necessary shift work. At 7:00 a.m., the air plotters completed their respective shifts and made a hasty departure, leaving only Lt. Tyler and the switchboard operator.
Ironically, only 15 minutes later, the brand new radar station at ‘Opana Point picked up a large flight of incoming planes from a north-to-northeast direction. Passing the information to Tyler, the young radar operators were told “don’t worry about it,” because Tyler was expecting the incoming flight of B-17's. He could not tell them this over the phone due to security concerns (the Japanese had a large spy network in the islands).
This scenario proved to be a fatal mistake as 40 minutes later, bombs were raining down on Pearl Harbor and six other military installations on O'ahu. Following an investigation by a Navy Court of Inquiry in August 1942, it was determined that Tyler had been assigned to the Information Center with little or no training, no supervision, and no staff with which to work. Tyler was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing by the board and no disciplinary actions were taken against him. Hollywood and a few authors have attempted to make Tyler out as a buffoon, but the military knew him to be an exceptional officer, and he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1961.
Why were the crewmembers' bodies never removed from the USS Arizona?
Approximately 15 minutes into the attack, a Japanese high-level bomber dropped a 1,760-pound (800 kg) naval projectile, that had been specially converted, onto the USS Arizona. The bomb penetrated the forward deck of the ship about 40 feet in from the bow. The resulting explosion ignited aviation fuel stores and the powder magazines for the 14-inch guns, instantly separating most of the bow from the ship and lifting the 33,000-ton vessel out of the water. To dispel a popular myth, there is no physical evidence remotely suggesting the USS Arizona was hit by torpedoes.
The explosion and subsequent fires killed 1,177 sailors and marines instantly. In addition, the entire front portion of the ship was left destroyed and the fires burned everything in its path. The fires continued for 2½ days, virtually cremating every man on board. Out of a crew of 1,511, only 334 survived.
Due to the immense fire, only 107 crewmen were positively identified. The remaining 1,070 casualties were placed into three categories:
(1) Bodies that were never found;
(2) Bodies removed from the ship during salvage operations. These remains were severely dismembered or partially cremated, making identification impossible (DNA testing was unheard of in 1941). These bodies were placed in temporary mass graves, and later moved and reburied and marked as unknowns, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in 1949;
(3) Bodies located in the aft (rear) portion of the ship. These remains could have been recovered, but were left in the ship due to their unidentifiable condition, indicating most crew members died from the concussion from the massive explosion.
What happened to the surviving crewmembers immediately after the explosion? How did they feel about surviving when so many were lost?
Most of the sailors and Marines who survived the sinking were already on duty when the bomb hit at 8:06 a.m. Men assigned to areas in the aft (rear) of the ship were immediately hurled from the upper decks of the battleship into the burning, oil-coated waters of the harbor. Some staggered through blankets of thick smoke and fire to the main deck and then jumped overboard.
Also, just over 40 men assigned to the ship were not aboard the ship when it was attacked. In total, 319 sailors and 15 Marines (on or off the ship) were officially USS Arizona survivors. An anxiety haunted many of these survivors for years. “Why did I survive when so many others did not?" is a question that plagued many. Family members of these men say that the biggest problem most of these men endured the rest of their lives was the tremendous guilt for surviving the destruction of their ship.
How are the bodies of the USS Arizona survivors buried on the ship?
Crewmembers who were assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7, 1941, have the right to have their cremated remains interred inside the barbette of gun turret four by National Park Service divers. If you were a crewmember before that infamous day, you have the right to have your ashes scattered over the ship. In both cases, the common thread is that these men were at one time in their navy careers assigned to the USS Arizona. This policy is strictly enforced by the USS Arizona Reunion and Survivor Association. In addition, any Pearl Harbor survivor can have their ashes scattered over the place in the harbor where their ship was located during the attack.
On April 12, 1982, the ashes of retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Stanley M. Teslow were interred, making him the first USS Arizona survivor to return to his ship. As of February 1, 2016, there have been 39 crew members interred into the hull of the the USS Arizona. That list consists of 37 Navy sailors and 2 Marines who have chosen to rejoin their fallen shipmates through a solemn ceremony of interment, complete with a two-bell ceremony from the Fleet Reserve Association; a rifle salute from the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps; and a benediction with the echo of Taps being played across the harbor. The services are conducted inside the memorial and consist of an invocation, funeral ceremony, and a flag presentation to the family. Each interment ceremony is hosted by both the National Park Service and the United States Navy.
Following the ceremony, the urn is carried from the memorial to the dock area and presented to divers, who swim the urn into the open barbette of gun turret number four and proceed to a large open “slot” that measures approximately 6" x 5'. The urn is placed into this slot and slides into the ship.
Why was the USS Arizona not raised and put back into service as the other battleships were?
The USS Arizona was inspected in early 1942 and the US Navy determined it to be a total loss. Severe structural damage throughout the ship prevented it from being completely salvaged, although the USS Arizona continued to live in other ships as she became a prime source for spare parts.
The inspection discovered that access to the front portion of the ship was completely blocked by debris and the great sheets of metal grotesquely twisted presented a very unsafe environment from which to work. The second deck had collapsed and virtually melted into the lower decks. It was also discovered that the number one and two gun turrets had collapsed more than 20 feet, leaving little doubt as to the severity of the USS Arizona’s wounds.
Now at war, the U.S. Navy could spare little time with ships which could not be salvaged and turned their attention to the other battleships which could be put back into service. The USS Pennsylvania, USS Nevada, USS West Virginia, USS Tennessee, USS Maryland, and the USS California were raised and re-fitted in time to take revenge against the Japanese. The USS Arizona, The USS Oklahoma, and the old battleship USS Utah were never put back into service.
Dismantling of the USS Arizona began in 1942 and continued throughout 1943. In June of 1942, the navy decided the lost ship’s hulk was not a hazard to navigation in the harbor and the ship would remain where she fell. Later in the war, the decision was made to leave the crewmembers with their ship, considering the men to be buried at sea. By the end of 1943, most of the ship visible from above the waterline had been removed. Among the useable items taken from the ship were guns, ammunition, machinery, the stern aircraft crane, conning tower and numerous other entities. The U.S. Army removed gun turrets three and four for use as coastal defense batteries (although by the time this project was finished in 1944, the war had moved into the western Pacific and Hawai'i was no longer at threat from invasion). The number two gun turret was scrapped, but the one gun turret remains intact and on the ship. In 1961, the (overhead) ceiling from the forward mess deck was removed, making way for the construction of the USS Arizona Memorial.
What happened to the battleships Oklahoma and Utah?
There were over 180 ships and vessels in Pearl Harbor when the attack began. Twelve of these ships were sunk or severely damaged, with another nine also needing extensive repairs. However, all but three returned to service.
Similar to the USS Arizona, the USS Utah lays where she fell on the north side of Ford Island. This decision was made in 1944 after several attempts at raising the ship had failed. The quiet decision was made to leave the bodies of 58 crewmen onboard, considering them buried at sea. The land-based USS Utah Memorial was dedicated on May 27, 1972. Visitors with military identification in their possession may visit the memorial.
The USS Oklahoma was moored outboard the battleship USS Maryland and rapidly received seven to nine torpedo hits on the port (left) side. Capsizing roughly in 20 minutes after the attack began, over 400 men were trapped inside, of which only 32 were rescued by frantic civilian shipyard crews trying to cut through the keel (bottom) of the ship with pneumatic hammers and torches. Resting in the main channel of the harbor, a major salvage operation began in March of 1943. This massive undertaking involved the use of winches installed on Ford Island, which slowly rolled the ship back into place in an upright position. The ship was then pumped out and the remains of over 400 sailors and Marines were removed.
The USS Oklahoma entered drydock on December 28, 1943, and the guns and superstructure were removed following the battleship’s formal decommissioning in September of 1944. Two years later, a California salvage company bought the ship for scrap and began towing the USS Oklahoma to Oakland in the spring of 1947. On May 17, the ship began listing to port and the tow lines had to be cut. The USS Oklahoma sank approximately 540 miles northeast of the Hawaiian Islands. The spirits of 429 lost souls may have silently cheered when this tribute to the loss of the Oklahoma was written:
“Good for you Oklahoma!
— a Battleship Sailor
"USS" stands for United States Ship. "BB" is not an abbreviation, it is how the Navy classified a battleship.
The USS Arizona rests in about 40 feet (12.2 meters) of water.
There were 37 confirmed sets of brothers assigned to the USS Arizona on December 7. Sullivan was the last name of five brothers who died when their ship, the USS Juneau, sank off Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942.
The USS Arizona was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in December of 1942. On March 7, 1950, the Arizona was symbolically "re-commissioned" when a flagpole was erected on the ship. The USS Arizona is treated as one of the current fleet, and the flag flying on the ship's mast only flies at half-staff when the other ships fly their flags at half-staff.
On March 25, 1961, Elvis Presley performed a concert at Bloch Arena in Pearl Harbor. All ticket proceeds benefited the construction of the USS Arizona Memorial. The concert generated $54,678.73 – more than ten percent of the $515,728.37 needed to construct the monument. A commemorative plaque that honors the concert is located at the Bloch Arena complex on base.
The USS Arizona Memorial became a National Park Service unit in 1980. Since then, NPS divers have conducted approximately 50 research and cultural preservation dives per year.
Contrary to popular belief, the Japanese planes did not fly through Kolekole Pass. The Japanese pilots flew along the inside of the mountain range, making it appear as though they came through the pass.
Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.
The brown, weasel-like animal that you see is a mongoose. The friendly little bird that everyone feeds (but should not) is a zebra dove.
The Hawaiian name for Pearl Harbor was Pu’uloa. Early Poynesian settlers to O’ahu discovered a bay teeming with food. Included was a bivalve called i’a hamau leo. Besides providing food, the oyster’s iridescent shell was used to decorate bowls and carvings; to make fish hooks; and used as a ropemaking scraper. The oyster also produced a white pearl, which the Hawaiians called momi. Since these pearls were never found in archeological digs or referenced in traditional chants, it is assumed that they held little value to the Hawaiians. That all changed following the arrival of the Europeans and the Americans. Once King Kamehameha I learned that the outsiders found value in the pearls, an intensive shift from oyster food and shell gathering to pearl gathering began, and by 1812, the Hawaiian pearl trade was thriving. By the 1840s deforestation and overgrazing of livestock around the harbor caused severe environmental damage, with rains washing tons of silt and debris into the streams that flowed into Pearl Harbor (a name given to the bay by the foreigners). Soon the harbor was choked with dirt. By 1901, Pearl Harbor’s oysters were nearly extinct, smothered by mud.
As of April 21, 2016, there are six surviving crew members left from the battleship USS Arizona, lost at 8:06 a.m. on December 7, 1941.