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The USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor’s Center at Pearl Harbor

The USS Missouri watches over the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Navy was unable to raise it and unable to recover many of the sailors that were on board when the ship went down. The consecrated it and left it as a place of remembrance where those who served aboard the ship could be commemorated. It is still leaking fuel, which can be smelled at the water’s surface. The visitors’ center, movie and tour of the Arizona are free. Read more about Pearl Harbor. For more on Oahu, click here.

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Is the 3-Day Go Oahu Card Worth It?

Polynesian Cultural Center Luau

Yes, and it depends. As with any discount card, you have to take into account what type of vacation you want to have and how much time you have. If you choose to just sit at the beach and relax in the sun. Don’t get the Go Oahu Card. It’s not for that type of vacation. Relaxing in the sun on the beach is free, still. That’s about the best discount you can get.

However, if you know that you want to experience some of the culture of Hawaii, a Go Oahu Card can help you do that. For example, we knew that we wanted to do a luau. They run north of $100 per person, and the best-rated Luau is at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is about $120. We also knew that we wanted to visit Pearl Harbor. Its place in history makes it an important spot to visit for anyone who wants to think about warfare and understand human nature better. The activities there run about $40, but the Arizona Memorial and its related movie is free. The two combined activities add up to $160, which meant we would need to find an activity or two that would add up to about $40.

Not knowing that Pearl Harbor was a full day tour, I was still concerned that we wouldn’t be able to do enough activities to make the Go Oahu Card worthwhile. A lot of the activities take place in the morning because it gets too hot in the afternoon to do anything. We decided to do the 8 am Diamond Head Hike ($18) and the afternoon tour with Makani Catamaran (about $100). We didn’t have a car, so I wasn’t sure that we could make the catamaran, but we signed up for it anyway. There was plenty of time, so we got our money’s worth.

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Go Oahu Card: Pearl Harbor

Arizona Memorial and the Mighty Missouri at Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is an all-day tour. The greatest tragedy in American naval history, Pearl Harbor exhibits commemorate the soldiers that fell during the Japanese sneak attack on docked battleships. Starting with the Arizona Memorial, the film before you go out on the boat shows what led to the Japanese attack and why it was so successful. The Arizona Memorial dock is currently under repair, so visitors get a tour by the memorial with a guide who explains the story and answers questions. Get your tickets online, or you may not be able to go aboard the boat for this FREE tour.

The Bowfin Submarine and its museum are included on the Go Oahu Card as are the below mentioned attractions. The audio guide explains the life of a submariner. I listened to the family version of the guide and found it much more entertaining than the adult version, but you can choose just by punching in the right number.

The Bowfin Submarine
The Bowfin Submarine

A shuttle takes guests from the arrival center over a bridge to Ford Island. There, you’ll get to stand on the decks of the Missouri that stands watch over the Arizona. The Mighty Mo was where the Japanese formally surrendered to the Allied Forces. It also saw service during the Korean War and Desert Storm.

Under the guns of the Mighty Mo
Under the guns of the Mighty Mo

If you love planes, the Pacific Aviation Museum is for you! A lot of restored aircraft occupy the two hangars. For me, the most interesting was a B-17 Bomber found in the swamps of New Guinea. Dubbed the “Swamp Ghost,” its insignia was drawn by Disney artists and features Donald Duck in the role of the Swamp Ghost.

The Swamp Ghost
The Swamp Ghost

If you get hungry while at Pearl Harbor, your best choices for food are at Ford Island. In the shadow of the Mighty Mo is a food truck,and the Pacific Aviation Museum features a counter service restaurant. Both offer better food to eat than the $7 hot dog and the snack shop at the visitors’center.

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ABC Stores: Go Local, Go Less Expensive

If you’re on a budget in Oahu, then the ABC Stores should be your best friend. Some say that “ABC” stands for “All Blocks Covered,” and like Starbuck’s in Seattle, ABC Stores are everywhere. Not only are they conveniently located, they are reasonably priced for Hawaiian tourists. Stores carry many of the same items though selection depends on the store’s size. From ready-to-eat hot meals to fresh cut fruit and from flip flops to ukuleles, ABC Stores are ready to help you with almost every need. “ABC” may stand for the store delivering everything in the alphabet.

The staff is friendly and happy to see you. They greet with “Aloha!” and end the interaction with “Mahalo.” The fruit in the refrigerator section is sweet and local (and better than what we got at Safeway on the island). You can eat relatively well for between $3 and $6 depending on your needs. Breakfast burritos, musubi, wraps, sushi… If you see the Mac-Nut Pesto Pasta, I recommend that as one of the best offerings. You don’t have to compromise on culture or taste because of your budget.

ABC Stores are locally owned. They promote from within and attempt to keep their employees through retirement with exceptional benefits according to an article in “This Week Oahu” (Nov. – Dec. 3, p. 28). Before choosing a national chain, shop local. Save your receipts and, if they total to $100 or more, you get a gift! Maybe “ABC” stands for “Aloha Brings Customers…”