USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

The Pearl Harbor Avenger

Hours of Operation

Open Daily
7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location

11 Arizona Memorial Drive
Honolulu, HI 96818

Website

Bowfin.org

The USS Bowfin (SS-287) is a fleet attack submarine that fought in the Pacific during WWII and helped to make famous the term, “Silent Service.” It’s fitting that the USS Bowfin, which launched exactly one year after the Japanese attack on Oahu, now calls Pearl Harbor her permanent home.

Only fifteen U.S. WWII submarines were spared from being turned into scrap metal or used as target practice, the USS Bowfin among them. She will stand as a reminder of the story of the U.S. Submarine Force, past and present, and will live on thanks to the hard work and dedication of individuals from both the military and civilian communities.

Today, the USS Bowfin Submarine is moored proudly near the USS Arizona Memorial, ready to welcome visitors to the fabled era of WWII submarines and their crews. This is a place filled with tales of men who served under extreme conditions with strength, bravery and honor. Whether inspired by the sheer adventure of the journey or the amazing heroism of the crew, visitors come away from the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park enriched and inspired by the impressive role the US submariners played in winning the War in the Pacific.

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USS Bowfin (SS-287)

On December 15, 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Portsmouth Navy Yard was given the order to start construction on the new Balao-class fleet submarines. The third boat of the class was to bear the name USS Bowfin (SS-287). Of all the classes of submarines used during World War II, the Balao-class contributed the most submarines to the submerged fight. Approximately 265 were ordered and more than 119 were completed between 1942 and 1945. Major improvements over the previous Gato-class were the upgraded thicker, higher yield strength steel and the pressure hull skin and frame, which increased their test depth to 400 feet.

The USS Bowfin measures nearly 312 feet and has a submerged displacement weight of 2,415 tons. During WWII, USS Bowfin went out on nine war patrols in the Pacific between 1943 and 1945. The USS Bowfin boasts ten torpedo tubes and rack space for 14 reloads and could reach speeds of 20.25 knots on the surface and 8.75 knots submerged.

USS Bowfin’s World War II commanding officers believed that she sank 179,646 tons (34 large vessels, plus 10 more under 500 tons) and damaged 33,934 tons (five large vessels plus two smaller ones) for a total of 213,580 tons sunk or damaged. She remains a legend, for among the 188 World War II submarines with sinking records, Bowfin ranks 17th in tonnage and 15th in number of ships sunk.

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Admission and Tours

The USS Bowfin is not a replica of a WWII submarine – it is the real thing. Painstakingly restored by an avid crew of preservationists, USS Bowfin offers visitors one of the most authentic looks into the life of WWII subs and crews. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

Enter through the USS Arizona Memorial entrance and plan approximately one hour to tour both the Submarine and grounds. Children under 4 are not permitted on the USS Bowfin for safety reasons, however they may visit the outdoor exhibits at no charge.

There are two ways to explore the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park: The Submarine Tour and the VIP Captain’s Tour.

The Submarine Tour – General Admission ($15 adults, $7 children ages 4-12)

This tour is included in your General Admission ticket and is our most popular! These tours are self-guided and include free audio guides in multiple languages.

The USS Bowfin tour is set up so visitors can take a close look at this amazing example of compact design and engineering that made it possible to house a crew of 80 men in a fully enclosed metal tube measuring no more than 312 feet long by 27 feet wide. Armed with an array of guns and up to 24 torpedoes at one time, learn how the USS Bowfin took the war to the enemy. Stand at battle stations in the forward and aft torpedo rooms; learn how some of the crew slept on their bunks on top of the torpedoes, then experience the inside of her control room, officer quarters, galley, mess decks and engine rooms. This will truly be a tour you will never forget!

The audio features candid commentary by members of the USS Bowfin crew. Visitors hear descriptions of what it was like to live and work under the crowded conditions onboard, along with descriptions of their operations aboard the USS Bowfin, peppered with the experiences and observations of some of the men who lived and worked on her during the War.

General Admission includes:

  • Admission to the Submarine and outdoor exhibits
  • FREE audio guides, which are offered in seven languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Korean, Japanese and Mandarin.
  • Two audio-tour options, adult and family oriented. The family-oriented audio tour tells the history in a more child-friendly way.

Military and Kama‘aina Submarine Tour: $8 adults, $4 children ages 4-12

Military and Kama‘aina, please book in person at the ticket office. Military personnel in uniform are admitted free to the submarine and grounds.

VIP Captain’s Tour – Available by appointment only ($600 for up to 6 people)

For a personal, in-depth look at the submarine and grounds, book the VIP Captain’s Tour, available by appointment for up to six people. Call 808-423-1341 for availability or information.

VIP Captain’s Tour includes:

  • A two-hour tour of our submarine and grounds guided by a former Commanding Officer of a U. S. Navy Submarine.
  • The unique insights that only a former submarine Commanding Officer can provide make this a truly special and memorable tour!

In an effort to expand our reach and impact, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation project, which involves the temporary closure of certain exhibits and parts of the park. The USS Bowfin itself remains open during our improvement project. Please visit our social media channels for the latest updates on progress in our museum and park!

Accessibility

There are steep stairs leading into and exiting the USS Bowfin submarine, it may be a challenge. Also, please be informed that for safety reasons children under 4 years of age are unable to tour the USS Bowfin. Although the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is wheelchair accessible, the Submarine is not accessible by wheelchair.

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Exhibits & Collections

At USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, there are a variety of sub-focused exhibits the whole family can tour. In addition to the Submarine itself, the property is home to several outdoor exhibits in a park-like setting.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is the most visited submarine museum in the world and as the preeminent teller of submariner stories, we have a responsibility to educate the public and honor veterans in a way that does justice to the brave men and women of the Silent Service.

In an effort to expand our reach and impact, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is currently undergoing a major expansion and renovation project, which involves the temporary closure of certain exhibits and parts of the park. The USS Bowfin itself remains open during our improvement project. Please see our social media channels for the latest updates on progress in our museum and park!

Outdoor highlights include:

  • USS Bowfin (SS-287) – a decommissioned WWII submarine museum and living memorial
  • The Waterfront Memorial – honoring more 3,500 officers and crewmen lost during World War II
  • A Conning Tower – where visitors can explore the confined space of a WWII submarine
  • Japanese Kaiten – one of the only remaining Japanese manned torpedoes in existence
  • McCann Rescue Chamber – an actual rescue chamber used to bring survivors to the surface
  • Over a dozen missiles, torpedoes, anchors, and propellers
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USS Bowfin Gift Shop

Choose from a wide selection of nautical and naval souvenirs including T-shirts, hats, books and other great Pearl Harbor merchandise. Enhance the experience for children by choosing something from the gift shop’s special “keiki” section featuring educational items perfect for young minds.

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Bowfin's Lanai Food Court

The most convenient and affordable place for lunch at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is at the Bowfin Lanai Court. Here visitors can enjoy the Bowfin’s world-famous hotdogs with all the toppings. Alternatively, snack on the Bowfin’s nachos or enjoy their variety of delicious soups. Open daily from 7am to 4pm.


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Education

Bring your class today and submerge yourself in the history of submarines! The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park maintains an active role in educating the next generation on the history, science and interesting facts surrounding the life of our undersea warriors. We offer several educational programs tailored to different groups who want to learn more, including:

  • Junior Submariner Program
  • Student Visits (group visits)
  • School Outreach Program
  • Scholarships (for submariners and immediate family)
  • Research Library

Please see our website for details on these programs. To schedule a visit to your school or educational organization, please contact Charles R. Hinman, Education & Outreach, at (808) 423-1341 or email: education@bowfin.org.


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Evening Events

Once renovations are complete, meeting planners will be able to hold private events at the USS Bowfin between 5:30 pm and 9:30 pm. Tours of the USS Bowfin can remain open for your functions. The USS Bowfin can host cocktail parties of up to 600 guests and sit-down dinners of up to 250 guests.

Stage, special lighting, entertainment and catering are possible for both national and international groups. The USS Bowfin even has its own bus depot for motor coach arrivals and departures, along with lots of free parking.


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We Remember

USS Bowfin served in the Pacific and spent most of her patrols in the South China Sea, Celebes Sea, off the east coast of Japan, and into the Sea of Japan. She was re-commissioned for the Korean Conflict during 1951-1954. From 1960 to 1971, USS Bowfin was a Naval Reserve training boat in Seattle before being transformed into a museum in 1979. In April 1981, she opened to the public and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

USS Bowfin is considered the best preserved and most visited submarine that served in WWII. More than 9 million visitors have come to pay their respects to this Submarine and its memorial. Her naval service will not be forgotten.

Contact Us

Hours
DAILY 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM HST

LAST ADMISSION INTO THE SUBMARINE IS AT 4:30 PM
CLOSED ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, THANKSGIVING, AND CHRISTMAS

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

11 Arizona Memorial Drive

Honolulu, HI 96818

Phone: (808) 423-1341
E-mail: info@bowfin.org