There are only 15 American submarines that remain from World War II, and the most-heralded of them—the USS Bowfin—now sits in Pearl Harbor, where the war American’s war first started. Known as the “Avenger of Pearl Harbor,” the USS Bowfin was built in Maine and sailed the South Pacific. It set off on its mission exactly one year after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and 44 different enemy ships would eventually succumb to her guns.
Today, visitors to Pearl Harbor can walk inside the submarine to see the cramped metal quarters, and get an authentic feel for the daily hardships of the boys in the “Silent Service.” In nine tours of duty only one crewmember died from injuries in battle, and when visiting today, you can stand in the chambers where these brave sailors celebrated a successful strike. Once finished with the tour of the ship, learn the fascinating history of submarines in the accompanying Bowfin museum, where exhibits range from a ballistic missile that was once housed on the ship, to a 54-foot, human-guided torpedo known as a Japanese Kaiten.
The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park is open from 7am-5pm daily, with the exception of Christmas, New Year’s Day and Thanksgiving. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for children—and only $5 and $4, respectively, to visit the museum.