Why Buy Pearl Harbor Tickets in Advance?

a large view of the uss arizona memorial
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Pearl Harbor is the number one visitor destination in Hawaii for a reason: what happened here has incredible historical significance.

When Japan bombed the battleships stationed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, 1941, America’s response would change the world forever. So, it’s not surprising that about 1.8 million visitors come here every year from around the world.

With all that competition, it can be quite a challenge to make sure you have Pearl Harbor tickets in hand, especially since the average wait-time for walk-up tickets is two hours. That’s why you’ll want to get them well in advance. And, it may be in your best interest to consider booking your tickets through a tour company like Hawaii Aloha Travel, which also provides specialty tours at Pearl Harbor.

If you wait to buy tickets the day of your visit, you must get to the site early, or you risk not getting a ticket.

You have three options for buying tickets for Pearl Harbor, but if you’re still confused about Pearl Harbor, you’re not alone!! Listen to this Podcast for more information.

1. Buy Tickets the Day of Your Visit: This is, by far, the riskiest of the three options. Why? Because there are only about 1,000 free tickets available daily, first-come, first-served, to the USS Arizona Memorial. Some visitors get to the venue before the sun even comes up, to ensure they’ll have a ticket. In fact, you may have to wait up to two hours or more on a busy day for your ticketed tour.

2. Reserve a Ticket Online: You have the option to reserve tickets online at www.recreation.gov You can reserve tickets up to two months in advance. Because walk-in tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis (and some days they go quickly!), reserving your tickets is a way to ensure you will be able to go to the memorial during your visit to Hawaii.

3. Book a Tour Through Hawaii Aloha Travel: Because the National Park Service reserves a certain amount of tickets for reputable tour companies, like Hawaii Aloha Travel, booking a tour may be your best bet. By booking a tour through the company, you can make the most of your day and not worry about buying tickets at all. Hawaii Aloha Travel offers two different tours at Pearl Harbor, the Pearl Harbor Basic Tour and the Home of the Brave Tour. The Pearl Harbor Basic Tour is a 5-6 hour tour that begins with the narrated expedition of the USS Arizona Memorial. You’ll also visit Punchbowl National Cemetery and a tour of downtown Honolulu. The Home of the Brave Tour allows guests to board the USS Arizona Memorial at the exact same time as the USS Arizona was attacked. Next, you’ll visit Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, and Ft. Shafter. You’ll then visit Punchbowl Cemetery and downtown Honolulu. Tickets are guaranteed, but you’ll need to purchase your tour at least 48 hours before you plan to visit.

The visitor center at Pearl Harbor is most crowded during peak season, especially over the summer and the winter holiday.

For those who choose to buy tickets online or at the box-office, be aware that tickets are for timed programs to the memorial, which run seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every 15 minutes (except for 12:15 and 12:30). The program starts in our theater with a 23-minute documentary about the Pearl Harbor attack. After the film, visitors board a U.S. Navy boat for a 15-minute ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. You’ll have about 20 minutes to spend at the memorial before your boat ride back. Altogether, each program takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

And, although they don’t receive as much fanfare as the USS Arizona Memorial, you may want to reserve time to visit the USS Missouri and the USS Bowfin submarine, both of which also holds historical significance for their roles in World War II. Pacific Aviation Museum. And, don’t forget to check out the Pacific Aviation Museum, which features aviation exhibits significant to the Pacific realm.

No matter which path you take to secure your Pearl Harbor tickets, visiting here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Still, by purchasing tickets in advance, you can avoid the risk of not getting a ticket at all.

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