Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor

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This top military museum first opened its doors to the public in December of 2006, and since then has only continued to grow. They’ve been consistently expanding their collections of aircraft, artifacts, and exhibits each year, so even repeat visitors will find much to fascinate them at this attraction. The Pacific Aviation Museum was also recently ranked among the top 10 aviation-related attractions in a TripAdvisor poll.

The museum is comprised of two main hangers filled with historic WWII-era aircraft and the iconic 158-foot control tower that you’ll see on your approach to Ford Island. The hangers and the control tower still bear the scars from that December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and are attractions in their own right.

What’s at the Pacific Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum provides a comprehensive history of the aircraft that served in WWII and the men who piloted them. It’s both moving and fascinating, as you wind through the exhibit spaces with the poignant history of the attack on Pearl Harbor foremost in your minds. You’ll get to explore two massive hangers of aircraft, plus plenty of interactive exhibits showcasing the history of various pilots and individuals involved with the aircraft. There are options to upgrade to additional tours as well.

Museum Exhibits & Free Audio Tour 

General admission includes access to all museum exhibits plus an informative audio tour. The tour is available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, and Mandarin. You’ll begin with a brief, award-winning documentary that details the tragedy of December 7, 1941. Then, visit Hangar 37 where you can explore authentic WWII-era planes like a Japanese Zero and a Stearman N2S-3. You’ll see more than 50 aircraft! Visitors also have the option to upgrade to the interactive combat flight simulator for a small fee. The self-guided tour takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

Aviator’s Tour: Guided Visit

This tour is best for those who really want to make the most of their visit to the Pacific Aviation Museum. Your guided tour will take you behind the scenes in the hangers hosting all the amazing aircraft, including the hanger where certain aircraft are in the process of being restored before going on display. See how the staff use authentic WWII-era tools to fix up the aircraft, and marvel at all the hard work and love they put into their labor. This tour takes about 90 minutes.

B-17E Swamp Ghost Tour

A fascinating tour that gives visitors an intimate look at the world’s only intact and unretired World War II B-17E bomber. See one of WWII’s most iconic bombers and see the actual state the aircraft was in when it was recovered from its crash site in a New Guinea swamp. It’s a great new tour option for real fans of aviation history. Allow about 30 minutes for this tour in addition to any time you spend elsewhere in the museum.

Dining & Shopping Options near the Aviation Museum

If you’re looking to eat at the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Laniākea Café is a great option. It’s both WWII and Hawaiian-themed, and is a fun atmosphere for kids and adults alike. Options include gourmet burgers, sandwiches, salads, and some tasty local fare as well. Daily specials rotate and include dishes such as Asian stir fry, mahi mahi, BBQ ribs, and more. They also serve beer and wine for the adult visitors.

The store at the Pacific Aviation Museum is particularly known for its extensive collection of military collectibles and souvenirs. You’ll find everything from model airplanes to books and art prints to games and toys. It’s a great place to shop for unique souvenirs and holiday presents. They also offer an online storefront with the same items, so you can always purchase something after returning home.

Tips for Visiting the Pacific Aviation Museum

  • Because Ford Island is an active military base, you can only reach it via shuttle from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes between 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • No bags of any size (including purses) are allowed within the Pacific Aviation Museum. You can easily store your bag for $3/bag at the shuttle stop.
  • If you’re planning to dine at the Pacific Aviation Museum, you might want to check out their menu in advance.
  • If you’re interested in the flight simulator, be sure to check the attraction website before your visit because they sometimes offer coupons for the simulator.
  • Photography is welcome and encouraged. Everything can be photographed except the bridge you’ll cross en route to Ford Island.
  • Kids under four years of age get free admission to the museum!

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to Pacific Aviation Museum.

1. Purchase a ticket from Pacific Aviation Museum when you get to Pearl Harbor.

2. Book discounted tickets online before you travel.

2. Purchase a Tourist pass. The Pacific Aviation Museum is available on the Go Oahu Card, Honolulu Flexi Attractions Pass, Pearl Harbor Pass and the Passport to Pearl Harbor .