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“Memorial to disturbing episode of US History”

Manzanar National Historic Site
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Manzanar NHS tells the stories of 120,000 Japanese Americans excluded from the West Coast and confined during WWII. Manzanar was the first of ten camps and held 11,070 people, 2/3 of them American citizens. Today, visitors explore the site by walking or driving to see foundations, trees, rock gardens, and stone alignments. Extensive exhibits feature historic photos, film footage and audio programs, a scale model, a children’s exhibit, and special programs. Open daily. Free admission.
Reviewed June 3, 2011

As a young adult, I first heard of Manzanar whispered from the lips of a Sansei (third-gen Japanese-American) pal in Santa Clara, CA. His parents would not discuss "the camps" - the forced incarceration of loyal American citizens of Japanese descent in desolate locations across the West like in Manzanar. My pal's sister B. Watkasuki exposed the episode soon after with her award-winning "Farewell to Manzanar" history book. On my first visit in 1974, I found only stone guard towers, a warehouse and a dismal, wind-blown cemetery at this site. Over the years since, volunteers, camp descendants and historians have steered government grants into finally erecting an appropriate interpretive center and self-guiding tours of the partially-restored vast camp's dusty acreage. President Reagan, on behalf of all decent Americans, officially apologized to the Japanese American community for the indignities imposed during World War II toward these good citizens. Take the time to read all the panels and hear the audios in the center. Drive (carefully) around the grounds to see how industrious the internees were in trying to make a home out of what many characterized as a "concentration camp" -- after all, there were armed guards. Particularly poignant are the memorials to loyal Japanese Americans who died fighting The Axis and fascism in the European Theatre of World War II. There are no services close by this Site, so carry snacks and bottled water. It can be windy, cold and hot all on the same day. Views of the Eastern Sierra, however, are spectacular.

2  Thank MonkeyOnTheWing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"driving tour"
in 41 reviews
"during wwii"
in 39 reviews
"japanese americans"
in 60 reviews
"american history"
in 32 reviews
"mess hall"
in 24 reviews
"pearl harbor"
in 20 reviews
"visitor center"
in 32 reviews
"internment camp"
in 15 reviews
"the national park service"
in 19 reviews
"guard towers"
in 11 reviews
"minute film"
in 12 reviews
"living conditions"
in 12 reviews
"barbed wire"
in 7 reviews
"owens valley"
in 10 reviews
"other camps"
in 5 reviews
"sobering experience"
in 5 reviews
"political climate"
in 4 reviews
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355 - 359 of 385 reviews

Reviewed November 16, 2010

If you get to the East side of the Sierra's, stop at Manzanar. For me it ended up being a profound time of reflection and contemplation. The main Parks building which looks like a large if not original gymnasium appears to house the museum itself...it was closed the day I was there. There is a self guided auto tour that I drove in my Toyota....it met my needs and allowed driving on dirt roads throughout the very large site. No building are left standing, however all are designated with markers - hospital, nursery, auto repair, barracks, etc. It looks like Parks is re interpreting a barracks building under construction. If you happen to be driving on 395, it is worth the stop. My rating is above average because the site is a unique, both beautiful and profoundly sad.

Thank FastEddieBikeTours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manzanar_Rangers, Manager at Manzanar National Historic Site, responded to this reviewResponded November 22, 2010

Thanks for taking time to review your experience at Manzanar. Just FYI, the Interpretive Center in the restored auditorium is open every day, except Dec. 25. From November 1 to March 31 we are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. From April 1 to October 31, we are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The rest of the site, including the designated auto tour road, is accessible from dawn to dusk every day. We hope that you'll have another chance to visit.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2010

This free historical site is a 'must' for Americans. It educated us on a sad part of American history. We spent about 2-2.5 hours here. At the minimum, watch the 22 minute documentary on the place.

Thank SnoopySF88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2010

There is not much left at first glance, but there's more than enough to make this worth a stop. The first thing that hit me is the isolation: dust on one side and a wall of mountains on the other. That feeling alone would make it worth the stop, but there's so much here. There are three original buildings still there. One of them, the auditorium, is a huge museum packed with exhibits, information, and a movie. There's also an auto tour that identifies the foundations that are left, a baseball field, and a cemetery with the memorial stone. The rangers are so friendly and knowledgeable. It also looks like there are some barracks being built to add to the exhibits, so, if you've already been here, you may consider stopping again when those are done.

2  Thank DaisyB7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 18, 2010

The internment of the Japanese during WWII . This place is very historical.
Took my grandkid there at 6 yo. I think if he was 10 it would have been better .

1  Thank Carsoncityfats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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