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Plan Your Visit: The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)

At the Royal Ontario Museum, the rich cultures of the world are celebrated and displayed alongside fascinating artifacts from civilizations past. See the fossilized skeletons of colossal dinosaurs, evidence of the earliest Canadian societies, beautiful Chinese temple art, and so much more.

The Royal Ontario Museum has an extensive collection of over six million items from around the globe, and the museum attracts over one million visitors every year. With such fascinating galleries and exhibitions to explore, the Royal Ontario Museum is most certainly worth checking out...probably more than once.

A Gallery Guide, Tips and Tricks for a Better Visit

With so much to see, knowing what exhibits are on each floor of the ROM will help streamline your adventure so you can spend more time exploring and less time backtracking. Before you begin your adventure, make sure to snag a floor plan at the front reception area.

The museum is a combination of two distinct designs; the original building which opened to the public in 1914, and the beautiful Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension, which opened in 2007. The original stone building is graceful and powerful in design and speaks to the long history of the Royal Ontario Museum while the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal extension represents an edgy leap into the 21st century.

The museum exhibits stretch across five main floors. Level B2 is for temporary exhibits, Level 1 is home to a collection of native Canadian artifacts, as well as several East Asian galleries, Level 2 is dedicated to natural history and geology (this is where you'll see the dinosaurs!), Level 3 explores world cultures even further, and includes a spectacular ancient Egyptian collection, and Level 4 features the textiles and costumes from civilizations the world over.

The Permanent Collections

The Royal Ontario Museum's permanent collection is split into three sections: World Cultures, Natural History, and the Hands-On area.

World Cultures At the Royal Ontario Museum

Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples

Before venturing out to see the cultures of societies across the ocean, check out the intriguing world of Canada's very own First Peoples at the Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples. Over 1,000 artifacts provide context into the lives of Canada's First Peoples both before and after European colonization.

Bishop White Gallery of Chinese Temple Art

The massive mural, The Paradise of Maitreya, is the magnificent heart of the Chinese Temple Art gallery. Over seven centuries ago, this ornate mural covered the wall of a Buddhist monastery, a monastery that does not exist today. This gallery is a visitor favorite, perpetuating in its space three of the world's best preserved murals and beautiful Buddhist and Daoist sculptures dating from the 13th to 15th century AD.

Galleries of Africa: Egypt

The Royal Ontario Museum holds a truly special collection of important objects from Ancient Egypt. In this gallery, you'll see the ornately decorated sarcophagus of Djedmaatesankh, a court musician who died close to 850 BC, a variety of mummified animals, and the fascinating Punt Wall, which depicts the military expedition to Punt that occured in 1482 BC. In addition to the spiritual artifacts and mummies that held great importance in the death rituals of ancient Egyptians, you'll also examine the objects of everyday, including the technology and tools used by the ancient Egyptians.

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume

Fashion is as much a representation of culture as art, literature, and religion, and the Patricia Harris Gallery explores the importance textiles and costume in cultures from all of the world. This collection rotates, offering guests a chance to see something new with each visit.

Natural History

The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs welcomes visitors to the Jurassic and Cretaceous age to examine the hundreds of specimens ranging from the gigantic Barosaurus skeleton to the fossilized plants and marine life that flourished right alongside dinosaurs.

The Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth's Treasures is a sparkling gem of an exhibit featuring an amazing collection of, well, sparkling gems. Examine meteorites, minerals, and gems that represent over 4.5 billion years of geological history. The Vale Gallery of Minerals, the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Gallery, and the Gallery of Gems and Gold give visitors a first-hand look at Earth's natural formations and the process of mining, its impact on society, and the technology that has contributed to the advancement of mining. You can even touch a wall made of pure gold!

Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

The Schad Gallery of Biodiversity iterates the importance of biodiversity on the planet and how humankind impacts other life on this planet. This gallery will explore sustainability, conservation, and biodiversity as vital in preserving this planet for generations to come. Multimedia and an array of specimens make this gallery insightful and fascinating for guests of all ages.

Hands-On Galleries

The Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity provides children and youth with an opportunity to explore the relationship between plants, animals, and humans first hand with live and fossilized specimens and interactive displays.

The CIBC Discovery Gallery brings fun and learning together with a variety of activities. There are three themed areas: In the Earth, Around the World, and Close to Home. Each activity is based on the research and collections belonging to the Royal Ontario Museum. These fun activities encourage kids to explore history, science, and the world around us. Try on costumes from around the world, dig for dinosaur bones, and get a close look at fossils and meteorites.

Royal Ontario Museum Temporary Exhibitions

What makes the Royal Ontario Museum an eternally fascinating attraction is its continual effort to bring in new and exciting exhibits. Past exhibits have included the world of vikings, wildlife photography and the creations of Christain Dior. A list of current exhibitions can be found on the ROM website.

Royal Ontario Museum Hours

The Royal Ontario Museum is open daily from 10:00am to 5:30pm, except on Christmas. Daily tours are available and most are free with admission. For those hungry learners, Druxy's ROM Cafe offers a variety of food including burgers, pizza, and healthy alternatives as well. The museum is least crowded on weekdays in the afternoon, but you'll want to dedicate at least two- three hours at the museum, depending on your thirst for knowledge.

Royal Ontario Museum Tickets

Buying online gets you express entrance into the museum. Adult tickets cost $20, tickets for children aged four to fourteen are $14, senior citizens pay $17 for general admission, and students with an ID as well as youth aged 15 -19 get in for $15.50. Students get in free on Tuesdays with an ID. Special exhibitions such as the Vikings or Christian Dior exhibitions are not included in general admission. CityPASS booklets provide 36% savings on five of Toronto's best attractions, including the Royal Ontario Museum, for those visitors looking to see the best of the city.

Royal Ontario Museum Parking

Making your way through the museum and seeing all you want to see is a challenge all on its own. Finding affordable parking and transportation is an entirely different beast. The Royal Ontario Museum website lists several options for those arriving by public transportation. If you're driving to the museum and are in need of parking, there are several parking lots nearby. Most of the lots charge $15 as the daily max, which is likely what you'll pay given the amount of time you'll need to spend at the museum to make the most of your visit. The open-air lot at 9 Madison Ave. has the most affordable rate with a day maximum of $10. Many visitors in the past recommend using public transportation. The Toronto Transit Commission subway lines and bus routes will get you close to the museum entrances. For more information, check out the Toronto Transportation Commission website.

Header image © AJ Messier Photography. Royal Ontario Museum—Gallery of Byzantium.