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USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park

Step aboard and experience just what it was like to be part of the crew of a World War II submarine in this fascinating Pearl Harbor museum.

The daily existence and sacrifice of the crew of the U.S. Navy’s "Silent Service" is brought vividly to life in the absorbing USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park. Cross the narrow footbridge onto the deck, take a few final breaths of fresh air, then follow the narrow staircase down into the bowels of the World War II submarine. As you squeeze through the constricted corridors, cramped bunks and miniscule mess, the 30-minute, self-guided audio tour paints a vivid picture of the daily lives of the crewmen as they patrolled the oceans for months at a time. The USS Bowfin, dubbed the Pearl Harbor Avenger, was launched exactly a year after the infamous Japanese attacks on the U.S. fleet and the sub was hugely successful in disrupting enemy shipping, with 44 confirmed sinkings.

The ship, museum and park were opened to the public in 1981 and have become a must-see for most tourist visits to the Aloha State. There are over 4,000 World War II artefacts in the museum and on-board as well as several exhibits and displays that provide illuminating insight into the war in the Pacific. Military flags, weapons and recruitment posters are all on show in the onshore museum. A Poseidon ballistic missile with its intricate electrical circuitry on display is perhaps the most striking piece. Anyone feeling slightly claustrophobic after the tour of the ship can take a stroll through the park, which houses more exhibits and information on submarine history. Learn of the amazing rescue of the USS Squalus crewmen and trace the history of underwater missiles, from the early Regulus model to the terrifying Japanese Kaiten “human missiles”. Down at the waterfront memorial, visitors can pay their respects to over 4,000 lost U.S. submarine crewmen, around one in four of those who served during the war.

The complex, situated on Pearl Harbor, is closed on major public holidays. There is an admission fee but concessions are available for children, seniors and military personnel. Bags aren’t allowed on board but there are plenty of lockers for rent.


Guide to Exploring USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park


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