Q. What do dinosaur fossils, medieval armour, Egyptian mummies and 1950s couture ballgowns have in common?
A. You can see them all, close up, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto!
The Royal Ontario Museum, known affectionately to Torontonians as the ROM, is one of the best museums in Toronto. ROM exhibits focus on antiquities from around the world, Indigenous artifacts, the animal kingdom, and early Canadian furniture.
The beautifully displayed ROM dinosaur exhibit is the most popular, but the entire museum is interesting, easy to visit and well laid-out.
The ROM is very child-friendly. We have maintained a family annual membership ever since Wandering Family Boy was born and our kids are never reluctant to go.
Read on to learn everything you need to know to plan an enjoyable visit to the ROM, including ticket prices and discounts, how to get there, visitor tips and nearby hotels.
ROM – Toronto
Royal Ontario Museum Basics
Best suited to: Everyone
ROM Hours: 10 am to 5:30 pm; closed December 25th
Time required to visit: As much time as you have
ROM Admission: Free up to 4/$14 child/$20
Where is the Royal Ontario Museum? The ROM is just about smack-dab in the centre of Toronto, near the intersection of Toronto’s two main streets, Yonge and Bloor.
How to get to the ROM: The ROM is accessible by subway (called the “TTC” in Toronto) and is equidistant between Museum and St. George stations. St. George station is accessible and has an elevator;
ROM Parking: The ROM does not have parking facilities. All parking lots nearby charge fees. The closest lot to the ROM is the municipal lot at 9 Bedford Road (accessible, cars only. $3 per half hour). Other nearby lots (which, as private lots, cost more than the municipal lot) are at 164 Cumberland Street and 465 Huron Street.
Royal Ontario Museum Discounts and Money-Saving Tips
- Check the website and Twitter for deals: The ROM doesn’t have an email newsletter and seldom offers discounts, but it’s worth searching the ROM website and Twitter feed for deals just before you buy tickets.
- Seeing a few Toronto attractions? CityPASS. Toronto has a CityPASS that provides a deal on admission for Ripley’s Aquarium, the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma and the Toronto Zoo or the Ontario Science Centre. If you plan to see at least three of these attractions within a period of 9 days, the CityPASS is almost definitely your cheapest ticket option. Click here to buy Toronto CityPASS.
- Bring your own food and drinks. There is a good cafe in the ROM, but to save money we almost always bring our own food and drinks and eat in the dedicated self-catering area in the basement, which has a washroom and water fountain nearby.
- Fun tip: On the main floor just before you go down the stairs to the cafe, have your kids touch the white plynth. You’ll see a little-known effect that Wandering Family Boy accidentally discovered one day (by tripping and falling into said plynth).
Visiting the Toronto ROM – Tips From a Local
- Don’t expect to see the whole thing. No need to book tickets ahead unless you want to see a popular special exhibit. Allow at least two hours and do not expect to see the entire museum in one day, especially if you have children with you. They won’t be much interested in the antiquities exhibits, anyway (except the mummies).
- Book ahead. Lineups to buy admission tickets can be long.
- The ROM is accessible. The ROM is stroller and mobility-device friendly and at the coat check (just to the left of the main entrance) you can rent a stroller for $2. You can also check your stroller if you prefer. Washrooms include a gender neutral option and family washrooms with change tables.
- Pick up a map from the admission desk. Definitely take one of the free paper maps when you arrive, as the stairs, elevators and washrooms can be tricky to find once you’re in the exhibit areas.
- Gift shop is
optional,but recommended. The ROM’s gift shop is my favorite Toronto attraction gift shop but you don’t have to exit through it – a blessing to people visiting with kids! It’s a great place to pick up gifts for people at home and the merchandise is higher quality than that offered at most Toronto souvenir shops.
- Bonus Kids’ ROM Experience: Day Camp. If you’re visiting on one of Toronto public school P.D. days, your child can attend a Day Camp at the ROM – this would allow you some time alone to tour the ROM or, if your life and energy level is like ours, time to crash at your hotel and sleep. Check the ROM website under What’s On – For Kids to see this and other kid-friendly special offerings.
Hotels near the ROM
The closest hotel to the ROM is the well-regarded InterContinental Yorkville Hotel. The InterContinental has a very good restaurant and is in one of Toronto’s high-end shopping and restaurant areas. The
Our favorite local hotel is slightly further west, a few subway stops (or a 15 minute walk) away. The Annex Hotel is brand new and features a modern, minimalist aesthetic. The Annex neighbourhood is a vibrant, walkable residential area of downtown, home to many U of T students, families, and Canadian celebrities such as Margaret Atwood, Rachel McAdams and formerly, Meghan Markle. There are many cafes and restaurants nearby.
Spadina 11 Guesthouse, one of Toronto’s very few hostel-style guesthouses, is a few minutes’ walk from the ROM. Rooms are clean, if a bit dated, and there is a communal kitchen if you’d like to make your own snacks or meals.
Resources to Get You There
- TTC accessible subway map shows all of the Toronto subway stations and shows which ones have elevators.
- This Toronto map includes a subway map, a close-up of the downtown area, and a full index.
- Our preferred Toronto guidebook, with good descriptions and maps and a chapter covering Niagara Falls (a day or overnight trip from Toronto).
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