Despite shutdown, USS Arizona to reopen... kind of

By Justin Fujioka
Published On: Oct 03 2013 05:14:36 PM HST
Updated On: Oct 03 2013 07:13:41 PM HST

It's day three of a partial government shutdown -- and no end in sight. Now a local non-profit is trying to work around the closures. It's just one of many businesses finding ways for visitors to still experience Hawaii's top tourism sites as the federal budget battle threatens the state's top industry.

HONOLULU -

A local nonprofit has found a way for visitors to still experience the federally-run USS Arizona Memorial despite the government shutdown.

Starting Friday, the Battleship Missouri Memorial will offer free pier-side tours of the Arizona.

"It's sad. A lot of people are coming over and expressing their disappointment on not being able to view the memorial or walk on it," said Mike Carr, president and COO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association. "So, the next best thing is for us to do a tour and describe the events of December 7th as close to the memorial as people can possibly get."

The Battleship Missouri Memorial's pier is just a few hundred feet from the USS Arizona Memorial. Carr wants everyone to know they're still open and now offering free 20-minute presentations about its neighbor.

"We're going to cover what exactly happened here at Battleship Row," said USS Missouri Memorial Association's tours supervisor Phil Lingenfelter. "What happened to some of the battleships and then tie everything back into the bookends of World War II with USS Arizona out there and the war ending onboard the Battleship Missouri."

Free shuttle service to and from the Missouri will be available near Rainbow Bay, just past the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Many tour companies have already jumped on the opportunity.

"We thought that we couldn't get near this at all," said Nicole Sommers, a visitor from Michigan. "We were looking from the highway, trying to look down and see it and we finally were able to. We overheard a bus driver say that we could come here and we said, 'OK, we're doing it,' and just came."

"I don't know if it fulfills it completely," said Tim Sommers of Michigan. "That was one of the things we really looked forward to. But is it significant? Definitely, and it makes me want to come back and be able to go to it. But not being able to and being able to get closer than we thought we might be able to means a lot."

The Battleship Missouri Memorial says its Arizona tours will only last the duration of the government shutdown.

(img3)USS Arizona Memorial closed during shutdown other historic sites remain open

PHOTOS: Confusion at the USS Arizona Memorial

Click here to see photos of the first day of the shutdown at the USS Arizona Memorial.

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