History took place right here. The hangars housing this attraction were bombed during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. Take a moving and educational tour of vintage aircraft and displays. Plus, defend the skies in one of the combat flight simulators.
Located on historic Ford Island, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum displays Hangar 37, a 42,000-square-foot former seaplane hangar. After watching a brief documentary about the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, you'll walk down a corridor that takes you back to island life prior to 1941. An authentic Japanese Zero aircraft is displayed as it would have looked on the deck of the Japanese carrier Hiryu at dawn on December 7, 1941.
You'll also see a light civilian plane that was shot while airborne during the attack, as well as a P-40 fighter that is just like the ones that took off from Wheeler and Haleiwa Field on that fateful day.
Inside the vast hangar of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, you'll see an actual B-25B Mitchell, a SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber like those used during the Battle of Midway, and a F4F Wildcat like those used by the "Cactus Air Force" in Guadalcanal. Visitors learn about the nation’s historic mobilization for war, viewing the actual Stearman N2S-3 in which former President George H. W. Bush soloed at age 18.
Other aircraft you’ll see at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum include:
Interactive combat flight simulators are available for an extra fee, allowing visitors to experience just how difficult being a WWII pilot was. The relatively new museum features top-rate exhibits and state-of-the-art displays and interactive elements.
About.com's guide to Hawaii and the South Pacific calls the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum "a must stop for any visitor who truly wants to understand the role of aviation in the defense of freedom. … Had the museum chosen to just exhibit aircraft, it would be far less impressive. It is the stories of the men who actually flew in these aircraft depicted in life-like settings or dioramas with the planes that makes for a memorable visitor experience."
The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum can be accessed via shuttle buses that leave every 10-12 minutes from the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center. As with all of the military museums on Ford Island, no bags, purses, or backpacks are allowed, so plan to leave them in the trunk of your car or pay a $3 fee to use the storage lockers at the visitor center before boarding the shuttle.
Allow up to two hours for your visit, and leave yourself time to visit the aviation-themed gift shop or eat at Lanaikea Café, an island-themed restaurant that recreates a pilot's club on a remote Pacific Island.
Present your pass at the Pearl Harbor Visitor's Center (located at 7 Arizona Memorial Way) to board the Ford Island Shuttle. Upon arrival, present your pass to the Museum Admissions desk for entry.
For security reasons, bags of any kind are not permitted on site. You are welcome to check them at the Visitor's Center for $3 per bag.
Guided Tour and Flight Simulator available as upgrades. Call to inquire about pricing.