I’ve lived in Hawaii all my life, and every 4th of July there’s a mad rush to Waikiki and Ala Moana to watch the fireworks displays in town. Parking is terrible. Some people even camp out at the beach overnight and all day just to hold down that perfect spot.
This year, for the first time a shining alternative to the hustle and bustling crowds came into the picture — the Steel Beach Picnic #MOedition, as the flyer dubbed it. For $10 per adult, you got the opportunity to picnic on the pier of the Battleship Missouri Memorial and then watch the fireworks from the deck of the Mighty Mo!
All we had to do was pack up some picnic gear, show up and park at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where a complimentary shuttle picked us up, and took us on a short ride over to the memorial.
Now at first read it may not sound that exciting — but then we read a yelper’s comment on the event:
Ask yourself one question… How many times in your life are you going to be able to see a 4th of July fireworks display from the deck of a battleship?
And boy was he right. There’s nothing more patriotic than celebrating the birth of America from a battleship in Pearl Harbor. Think about it: The USS Missouri is where the Japanese surrendered, ending World War II. We saw the very spot where the formal surrender was signed!
You bring your own food to the event, plus chairs, blankets or mats so you can set up your own little camp along the pier. If you didn’t plan on lugging around your own food or cooler, there’s always the gift shop where they had snacks, popcorn (red, white, and blue!), and drinks.
After we set up on the pier, we headed up to the deck of the Mighty Mo to look around and take pictures before it got dark. The above picture is of my family on the gun deck. I can only imagine how loud it must have been when those fired.
While onboard you can explore both ends of the ship, see the Surrender Deck, and even take a look inside the Captain’s Cabin where one of the guides will give you some quick history on the room.
We didn’t BBQ this 4th of July, but we did pick up some Zippy’s plate lunches for dinner and Coco Puffs from Liliha Bakery for dessert. There was live music all night, so it created a really nice family-friendly atmosphere out on the pier while you ate. At one point all the kids were called up to the entertainment tent so they could burn off some of their extra energy while they waited for the fireworks (which started at 9pm) with some dancing.
I’ve never been so calm waiting for fireworks. Normally I’m impatient and get kind of bored while we sit and wait, having already finished eating. But here at this event, there was so much to do and see — I didn’t get a chance to feel suffocated by a crowd or wonder what time it was or how much longer until the fireworks.
And to top it all off, the sunset this year was breathtaking. We were disembarking from the battleship and heading back to our set up, when all of a sudden I turn around and I see the ship beautifully lit in front of a vibrant watercolored sky. That plus seeing the fireworks later in the evening from the deck of an iconic battleship — it was just such a perfect holiday, easily one of my favorite Fourth of July experiences.
If they continue to do this event I highly recommend it. It’s a great family experience, and a great way to celebrate our country. It could definitely give Ala Moana a run for its money.
Were you at the Mighty Mo this weekend? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments! Otherwise I’d love to hear how you and your own family spent your 4th of July!