Celebrating its centennial in 2014, the multidisciplinary ROM is Canada's biggest natural history museum and one of the largest museums in North America. You'll either love or loathe the synergy between the original heritage buildings at the main entrance on Bloor St and the 2007 addition of 'the Crystal,' which appears to pierce the original structure and juts out into the street like a massive shard.
Inside, the permanent collection features over 6 million specimens and artifacts, divided between two main galleries: the Natural History Galleries (all on the 2nd floor) and the World Culture Galleries (on floors 1, 3 and 4). The Chinese temple sculptures, Gallery of Korean Art, and costumes and textile collections are some of the best in the world. Kids rush to the dinosaur rooms, Egyptian mummies and Jamaican bat-cave replica. The cedar crest poles carved by First Nations tribes in British Columbia are wonderful.
Each year, the ROM hosts a variety of big temporary exhibits from around the world (special exhibit surcharges apply). The on-site Institute of Contemporary Culture explores current issues through art, architecture, lectures and moving images. There are free museum tours daily. Keep an eye out for the Friday Night Live programs in spring and fall when the museum opens its doors, stocks its bars and calls in the DJs for a makeshift disco. ROM Summer Fridays from July to September have discounted admission from 4:30pm.