The USS Arizona Memorial is the most recognized icon of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service. Access is gained through the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Upon entering the visitor center, you head to the NPS Tickets & Information desk to obtain a free ticket for the timed USS Arizona Memorial program. Walk-in tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's smart to get your tickets in advance online to ensure you get tickets for the day and time you prefer. While waiting for their tours to begin, visitors may rent an audio tour headset to begin a fully-narrated tour, explore the bookstore, exhibit galleries, wayside exhibits, or simply relax and enjoy the setting of Pearl Harbor.

The 75-minute program for the USS Arizona Memorial begins at the two theaters. Each program has a capacity of 150 visitors, with a new program starting every 15 minutes. It includes a brief introduction to set the tone for the visit and a 23-minute documentary film which includes actual footage of the attack. After the film, visitors take a Navy-operated shuttle boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial, and have time to experience the Memorial itself. Note: There are no public restroom facilities on the Memorial.

The Memorial spans the USS Arizona, a sunken WWII battleship which is the final resting place for most of her 1,177 Sailors and Marines killed in the December 7th attack.. In the shrine room, you will find a marble wall with the names of all of these men. In addition, you'll see a smaller marble wall, which lists the names of USS Arizona Survivors who, since passing away, have returned to their shipmates by having their ashes interred inside the fourth gun turret by Navy and NPS divers.

It is important to realize that it is not a tourist attraction, but a memorial and grave that deserves to be treated with respect and reverence. If you are looking for a fun adventure go someplace else. If you can't shut off your phone and show respect then you shouldn't go at all. This is a place of learning, reflection, and quiet contemplation.

The USS Arizona Memorial tickets are free (although online reservations include a $1.50 convenience fee - totally worth it!), and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Days. Do your homework by visiting the official website. Arrive early but expect to spend time in the museum or at one of the other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites while you wait.

After undergoing extensive reconstruction, the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center officially opened on December 7, 2010. There is plenty of room to walk around prior to boarding your launch to the USS Arizona Memorial itself. Snack bars and plentiful restrooms are available while you wait for your program to begin.  If you are a photographer using SLR lenses, you may want to bring a polarized filter to get the best pictures of the ship below water.  Also, there are a few Pearl Harbor Survivors who volunteer their time to meet with visitors on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. They are a pleasure to talk to and they enjoy chatting with people, taking photos, and signing autographs.  Be prepared to lock your belongings away before you enter the complex itself.  You will only be able to keep what you can put in your pockets or hold in your hands for enhanced security purposes.