Find ancient dinosaurs, enter a bat cave, admire African art and let children participate in activities in the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Canada’s largest museum. Over one million visitors a year come to discover more than six million historical artifacts. The entrance hall with mosaics depicting worldwide cultures is a worthwhile sight on its own.
ROM originally opened in 1912 in multiple sites with a focus on world culture and natural history. Now ROM’s permanent collection encompasses three sections under one roof: Natural History, World Cultures and the Hands-On area. Join a free tour of the general museum or special exhibits with a volunteer docent to get more value from your visit.
Natural History exhibits occupy the second floor of the building. Investigate the 90-foot (27.5-meter) Barosaurus, one of several dinosaur skeletons, and the biggest in Canada. In the Bat Cave you’ll find more than 800 preserved bat species. Ice-age mammals are on display nearby.
World Cultures is the biggest gallery, with exhibits on three floors. Discover artifacts from Africa, Asia, Rome and other places with remarkable ancient cultures. The stone coffin of an Egyptian woman, Djedmaatesankh, dates back to 800 B.C. Look for displays portraying nearly 7,000 years of Chinese history.
Children will enjoy interactive exhibits in the Hands-On gallery, where they can try on traditional international costumes and handle ancient fossils and meteorites.
See what’s new in the temporary exhibits. Past subjects have ranged from photojournalism and art displays to typewriter collections and religious themes. The museum is located on the north side of Queen’s Park, on the campus of the University of Toronto, and a five-minute drive from downtown. Public buses stop at the park and there is a parking lot on nearby Bedford Road. The closest subway stops are St. George and Museum Stations.
Royal Ontario Museum is open daily, except December 25. Adults can visit the museum on Friday nights in May and June for live music performances. Seniors, students and young children receive a discount and infants enter for free. Check the official website for the events calendar and pricing.