See Why Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor is a Must-Do in Hawaii

By David Dondoneau

Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

To get a feel for Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, visitors need only look up to the bullet-riddled windows preserved in the hangars that tell a tale of World War II valor.

By design, the broken windows remain as a constant reminder of the Dec. 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The vast airplane collection inside the historic hangars makes Pacific Aviation Museum a must-see when you visit Pearl Harbor. The collection of planes and helicopters spans 70 years of aviation history and includes an A6M2 Zero, the same plane the Japanese used in the Pearl Harbor bombing attack.

Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

There are combat flight simulators that kids and adults can try as well as other interactive activities.

“We had the best day,” said 11-year-old Isaac H. after a recent visit. “I can’t wait to go back again. We got to ‘dog fight’ in the simulators and see cool stuff, like the bullet holes in the windows.”

Lt. Ted Shealy’s Restoration Shop, 1940’s. Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

Riveting tales of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) as well as other war heroes, key moments, decisions and battles that shifted the course of history are spread across the Museum along with historical artifacts from WWII, the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Volunteers can be found in Hangar 79 restoring old warplanes.

Tips for Visiting Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

As with the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum is not free to visit.

The Museum is on Ford Island near the USS Arizona Memorial and next door to the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Ford Island is part of an active military base; so all public visitors must take a short shuttle to the USS Missouri and Pacific Aviation Museum’s hangars from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

The shuttles leave every 15 minutes and no bags or backpacks are allowed, so pack light or bring $3 for storage. Allow about 30 minutes for travel to and from the Museum.  A cell phone, a water bottle and a small clutch are allowed; no bags.

There is a gripping 12-minute video of the attack narrated by survivors that visitors can watch when they first arrive off shuttles from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.

Planning Your Tour of Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum Store. Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The Museum is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Self-guided tours can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes while Aviator’s Tours last 90 minutes and the B-17 Tour is 30 minutes. Free Audio Tours are available in six languages.

Laniakea Cafe. Photo: Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor.

The air-conditioned, WWII-themed Laniākea Café offers a full lunch menu from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm daily, and Pacific Aviation Museum store carries a great selection of Pearl Harbor, aviation, WWII and patriotic merchandise.

Photos are allowed everywhere except on the shuttle across the Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island.

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