For history buffs, Oahu offers plenty to see. Not only can you learn about, and experience American history, but also that of the Native Hawaiians. Here are five historical sights that you’ll want to take in during your visit to Oahu.
Pearl Harbor / USS Missouri Memorial / USS Arizona Memorial
December 7, 1941. A day forever marked in infamy by the sneak attack by the Japanese on the United States that killed 2,008 Americans. Aside from the murder of thousands of Americans, the attack inevitably lead to the United States entering World War II, as well as Japanese Americans being incarcerated by the US government.
Today, people can learn more about the horrific atrocity by visiting the place where it happened, Pearl Harbor. One of many vessels that were sunk by the Japanese, the USS Arizona lost 1,777 crew members. While at Pearl Harbor, visitors can experience the USS Arizona Memorial, where the ship still lies underwater. The experience at Pearl Harbor comes full circle when you visit the USS Missouri, the ship where the Japan formally signed their surrender in World War II.
Tickets to Pearl Harbor Visitor Center and USS Arizona are free, but the amount of tickets available are. However, only 1,300 tickets are given out daily, so the National Park Service recommends that you arrive by 7:00 AM. They also allow online reservations for a small sum. If you seek a guided tour, there are plenty available.
Admission to the USS Memorial can be purchased online. If you’re traveling with a group of kids, a truly unique experience is spending the night aboard the USS Missouri. What better way to get a feel for the Pearl Harbor attack than by spending the night on a ship built in the same era, in the same location, at the same time of day?
Visit the Bishop Museum to learn about Hawaii’s history and see artifacts. Established in 1889, in honor of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the Bishop Museum’s primary purpose is to represent the interests of Native Hawaiians.
In the permanent exhibits, the Pacific Hall teaches about the history of Pacific peoples – through artifacts, as well as their documented history. Some of the artifacts you’ll see are: model canoes, woven mats, contemporary artwork. The Hawaiian Hall is specific to Native Hawaiians documenting details on their beliefs, religion and how they lived on daily basis. You’ll also find important events in Hawaiian history shown here. The Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame is also a permanent exhibit in the Bishop Museum.
Built by King David Kalakaua in 1882, Iolani Palace, the official residence to monarchy was established to entertain visitors and demonstrate that Hawaii was a modern, respectable country. Lavish and modern for its time, Iolani Palace still looks regal today. Visit Iolani Palace on your trip to Oahu and enjoy the decor, as well as grand antiques worthy of royalty.
US Army Museum of Hawaii
While not big, the US Army Museum of Hawaii is rich with history on the US Army, especially in regards to its presence on the Hawaiian Islands. Within walking distance of Waikiki, the museum features rich information and stories, as well as retired vehicles and equipment.
USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
It’s not everyday that you have a chance to walk through a military submarine, let alone one that was instrumental during World War II. Visitors to the USS Bowfin can board the “Pearl Harbor Avenger” which is located in Pearl Harbor. Aside from the USS Bowfin, there exhibits to see including submarine-related artifacts and detailed submarine models, all illustrating the history of the US Submarine Service. One thing to note: children under 4 are not permitted on the submarine for safety reasons.