Bowfin Park is a Historic National Landmark, that contains the 1942 USS Bowfin submarine, a museum, and a waterfront memorial to the 52 submarines that were lost during World War II. The USS Bowfin is one of only 15 World War II submarines that remain intact, and offers a unique opportunity to board a sub and get a first-hand look at the inner workings of the stealthy vessels that make up the U.S. military’s “Silent Service.” Visitors can take a narrated tour of the ship’s interior, explore one-of-a-kind artifacts and exhibits, and experience what life was like for sailors aboard a World War II-era submarine. December 7, 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack and is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Visit the official website for a full schedule of events taking place during the month. Check out our helpful guide for visiting the the USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor, with tips for visiting, other nearby attractions, and much more.
Looking for USS Bowfin Submarine Discount Tickets?
If you are planning on visiting Oahu, especially during December, we highly recommend spending time at each of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites. We’ve got you covered for tickets - USS Bowfin Submarine admission is available with the below money saving options, so you can choose the attraction pass that's right for you: 1. All-Inclusive Pass - All you can do. Includes admission to dozens of attractions. 2. Build Your Own Pass - Select the attractions you want to visit prior to visiting. See all available Oahu passes, attractions & prices. Oh and just so you know, the Go Oahu Card includes admission to each of the below Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, so you can see them all with just one pass...
- USS Arizona Memorial Narrated Tour
- Battleship Missouri
- USS Bowfin Submarine Museum
- Pacific Aviation Museum
Tips for Visiting the USS Bowfin
- Get your ticket just inside the main entrance, and pick up your digital audio player near the entrance to the Bowfin.
- Children under age 4 are not allowed for safety reasons.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing to navigate the sub’s close quarters.
- The Bowfin’s interior is not handicap-accessible and is not suitable for service animals.
- The stairwells are very steep and the interior is quite cramped-stooping and crouching is required to navigate the interior.
- Bags of any kind are not allowed on the ship or at any of the memorials. Lockers are available to rent for $3 at the Visitor Center, or you can lock them out of sight in the trunk of your car.
- Make sure to bring your camera to capture the unique displays and artifacts inside the sub.
When to Visit the USS Bowfin Submarine
The USS Bowfin Museum and Park is open daily from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last visitors are admitted to the submarine tour at 4:30 pm each day. The Bowfin is located at the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center, which hosts nearly 2 million visitors every year. Because Pearl Harbor’s popularity and size, it’s best to arrive early in the morning to make sure you get to explore all the memorials. We suggest that you visit the Bowfin before or after the USS Arizona, then take the shuttle to the USS Missouri. The center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
USS Bowfin Highlights
Named after the primitive, predatory fish known for ambushing unsuspecting prey, the USS Bowfin launched on December 7, 1942-one year to the day after the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Nicknamed the "Pearl Harbor Avenger,” the Bowfin sank 44 enemy ships during World War II, and completed nine patrols before retiring at Pearl Harbor in 1980. The USS Bowfin was opened to the public in 1981. Today, visitors can get a close-up look at the unique aspects of life aboard a submarine, imagine the hardships faced by the crew, and share in their victories.
Don a headset and learn all about the USS Bowfin and life aboard a submarine with an audio tour that takes you across the 312-foot-long deck, down into the belly of the Bowfin, and out the other side of this sleek “stealth” weapon. Numbered stickers throughout the ship prompt you to play the proper audio file, and an interesting narrative features commentary from Navy service members. There is a separate narrated tour tailored specifically for kids. The numbers that guide the kid’s tour are colored differently than the adult tour, and the content is aimed at making the Bowfin’s tour more interesting and understandable for children. The tours last about 30 minutes, but plan to spend an extra hour exploring the museums and memorials.
The 10,000 square-foot indoor museum displays artifacts from the Bowfin, documents detailing its travels, recruiting posters, battle flags, submarine weapons systems-including the only Poseidon C-3 Missile to be put on public display- and more. Two of the Bowfin’s artifacts on display had an interesting path to the museum and may not have even made it to the display. The Bowfin’s bell was missing for 24 years before being discovered at an estate sale, and the sub’s second battle flag had been stored, forgotten, in a crew member’s attic for 50 years! The museum’s 40-seat theater shows episodes from the 1960’s television show “The Silent Service” throughout the day, and a gift shop gives you the chance to take a piece of history home with you.
Outdoor Missile Museum
The exhibits at the outdoor missile museum feature a large number of impressive missiles, torpedoes, and other submarine weaponry. Learn about the history of a modified, 54-foot, 3,000 pound Japanese Kaiten, human-guided torpedo. A U.S. Regulus missile on display represents one of the first U.S. attempts at creating a deterrent missile and is modeled on German World War II V-Bomb technology. Walk through the cramped interior of the USS Parche’s conning tower, where the submarines submerged attacks were conducted from, and look through the periscopes mounted on the tower’s exterior. The McCann rescue chamber was key in the only successful rescue of American men from the sunken submarine, USS Squalus, in 1939.
52 marble memorials line the waterfront next to the Bowfin and pay tribute to the 52 American submarines and 3,800 servicemen lost during World War II. Each memorial supports a plaque detailing the vessel’s name, commanding officer, exploits at sea, and date it was lost at sea. The memorial also lists the names of all the crewmen who served aboard the submarine, now on “Eternal Patrol.” Visiting the memorial after touring the Bowfin really brings home the sacrifices made by our military members and their families during World War II, and in any war.
There are plenty of other great things to see located nearby. Here are a few we suggest adding to your itinerary… The USS Bowfin is located in Pearl Harbor’s World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and you can easily spend a full day exploring all of the memorials. The USS Arizona Memorial is the most well-known monument in Pearl Harbor, and it is not to be missed. Visitors watch a moving film featuring actual footage from the Pearl Harbor attack before boarding a Navy shuttle boat to the memorial. It’s a very emotional experience that inspires somber reflection and instills a deeper understanding of the tragedy and complexities of war. Check out these tips for visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. The USS Missouri is docked across the harbor at Ford Island. Tour the towering battleship, a sister to the USS Arizona, to experience the full grandeur of an intact, fully restored, World War II battleship. Visitors can’t help but to be awe-inspired by the sheer size and power of this gigantic vessel. Check out these tips for visiting the USS Missouri Battleship Memorial. The Pacific Aviation Museum is also located near the USS Missouri on Ford Island. Self-guided tours take you through the pock-marked airfield, control tower, and two aircraft hangars that house 70 years of Pacific aviation history including over 50 aircraft, historical videos-including an award-winning documentary, a museum store, and flight simulators.
Places to Eat Nearby
There is a snack stand next to the USS Bowfin that serves nachos, corn dogs, popcorn, shave ice, and water. There is also a small convenience store near the USS Arizona Memorial Theater stocked with sandwiches, chips, candy, and soft drinks. The LaniÄkea Café is located at the nearby Pacific Aviation Museum. The World War II-themed restaurant is the best place to eat in Pearl Harbor, featuring burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides, and desserts, with a classic kids menu and non-alcoholic beverages. Schooners restaurant is situated at Pearl Harbor’s waterfront across the bridge from Ford Island. Guests get a great view of the harbor and ships from a large outdoor deck or can catch a sports game on a large screen TV at the indoor bar. Schooners has a daily buffet spread as well as a varied lunch and dinner menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, seafood, steak, and local dishes. Open daily from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, open until 10:00 pm Friday and Saturday.
Save on Admission with a Go Oahu Card
Remember, the Go Oahu Card is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility, which includes USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor tickets, plus admission to dozens more top attractions. Save up to 55% on top museums, tours, and activities vs. paying at the gate. Visit multiple attractions for one low price.