New Pearl Harbor Visitor Center
Visitors to Pearl Harbor are in for a treat in 2011. Not only will they still be able to visit the USS Arizona Memorial (along with the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum), but they will also be the first to experience the new $56 million visitor center that just recently opened on December 7th, 2010. The new visitor center is the result of the recently created Valor in the Pacific National Monument, one of former President George W. Bush’s final executive orders before leaving office. This act finally gave control of the Pearl Harbor visitor center to the National Park Service and has transformed this incredible piece of history into a more interactive and hands-on exhibit. Gone are the antiquated buildings that were breaking apart and sinking into the ground. They have now been replaced with structures comprised mostly of recycled materials, creating Hawaii’s first green museum. Drawing upon personal accounts from local witnesses, the exhibit has shifted its focus from strict military engagement to a more inclusive view of society and pop culture. Entering the first building of the museum, one is transported back to life in the United States before the infamous attack. Titled “Road to War” the exhibit documents the events leading up to the attack. Coming to the second building, “Attack” thrusts the visitor into the center of the battle as they walk underneath a Japanese fighter plane. Immediately visitor’s hear the torpedo bombers making their approach, breaking the tranquility of the early morning hours. While the museum is not yet completely finished, the parking lot is still under construction and the automated ticketing kiosks are not yet operational, the center is still a huge improvement from its predecessor. The meticulous displays feature giant pictures from the attack, a bloodied Naval uniform and other historical artifacts documenting the devastation. Of particular interest is the recovered Japanese torpedo and a scorched piece of metal from the USS Arizona. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the new design is the landscape renovation, incorporating uninterrupted views of the harbor. The grounds of the visitor center now distributes the flow of visitors in a seamless manner, completely transforming the formerly crowded experience into an enjoyable day exploring our national heritage. If you desire convenience in your future visit to Pearl Harbor, taking a guided tour is the best way to manage your time and sanity. Forget about parking and let our tour guide deliver an unforgettable experience! Visit tripadvisor.com and read what your fellow travelers thought of our services. Discover Hawaii Tours operates daily tours to Pearl Harbor, with round trip transportation from Waikiki Hotels. Inter-island tours from our neighbor islands are available from Big Island, Maui, and Kauai, and included airfare and pick-up from Honolulu International Airport. Be sure to join us for an exploration of Pearl Harbor and its many museums, memorials during your vacation to the beautiful islands of Hawaii.