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Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) on Victoria Day weekend, May 2017. Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.

Visiting the Royal Ontario Museum (May 2017, Victoria Day Weekend)

It’s been an extremely long time since I was last at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). I last visited for a special exhibit several years ago—2011’s Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World. I found it slightly underwhelming and haven’t been back again until this weekend.

It’s Victoria Day weekend, so we thought it was a good time to bring our peanut (now three years old) to see the museum. He’s fairly fond of dinosaurs, so he has been asking to go for a month or two, now.

Note: I should have checked before we left, because then I’d have learned about the promo code SAVE5 (use it online or mention it at the museum), and we’d have saved $5 a ticket for Victoria Day Weekend. This applies for general admission or new The Blue Whale special exhibit.

The ROM has a number of regular galleries covering world cultures and the arts, but we stuck to some of the Natural History exhibits because we had a dinosaur-loving tot in tow, and I personally have a preference for science-related exhibits.

We only arrived at the museum with two hours left until closing time, so we spent most of it looking at the Blue Whale exhibit and the Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story

From the Google Arts & Culture slideshow on the Canadian Blue Whale Project:

In April 2014, nine adult Blue Whales had been discovered dead, entombed in ice off the western coast of Newfoundland. These whales represent as much as four percent of the known western North Atlantic population of this iconic, endangered species, which consists of between 200 to 450 individuals. The Blue Whale is the largest species of animal that has ever lived on earth, outweighing the biggest known sauropod dinosaur twofold. In May 2014, a small ROM team traveled to Newfoundland to salvage a Blue Whale that had washed ashore in the hopes of turning this tragedy into a positive research and education story.

The Blue Whale Story runs through September 4, 2017.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.Blue whale skeleton. I always love seeing the finger bones in the flippers.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Blue whale jawbones with baleen.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Krill costumes, for photo ops with the blue whale jawbones.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Dolphin (toothed whale) jawbone/skull, for comparison with the blue whale’s jawbone.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

The world’s only preserved blue whale heart.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story. Pakicetus, the first whale.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Ambulocetus, an ancient whale.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Dorudon, an ancient whale. Notice how tiny the hind “legs” are—they were probably flippers.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Whaling harpoon gun and harpoons.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Closeup of whaling harpoons with hinged toggles.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Products made from whales: corset ribs, lamp oil.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Canadian vintage advertisement for “Liquid Whale Plant Food“, made from blue whales.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Vintage advertisments for products made from whales (margarine, soap, meat).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Out of the Depths, The Blue Whale Story.

Vintage “Lifebuoy Health Soap”, made from whales.

We fully enjoyed this exhibit—it’s not every day you get to see a full blue whale skeleton and heart!—and our three year-old was kept interested, too. It’s definitely worth checking it out before it ends in September. Sadly, we didn’t even have time to look at all the interactive displays!


James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs

Quite unfortunately, we somehow missed seeing the T. rex and the new Wendiceratops; we’ll just have to return another time. Peanut was thrilled with the dinosaurs. The reaction on his face was priceless when he first saw the Futalognkosaurus in the ROM’s entry hall.

Specimens represent life during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, grouped within the themes: Life on Land, Life on Sea, and Life in the Air. You’ll see all of your favourites, including Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Futalognkosaurus (late Cretaceous, 87 million years ago) in the ROM’s main entry.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Barosaurus (late Jurassic, 155–150 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Pterodactylus (late Jurassic, 155–150 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

The armored tail of an Ankylosaurus (late Cretaceous, 68–66 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Lambeosaurus (late Cretaceous, 75 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Herrerasaurus (late Triassic, 231 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Archelon ischyodus (late Cretaceous, 80 million years ago).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. The Age of Dinosaurs Gallery.

Prehistoric insects (over 100 million years ago). Eww.

I read all about dinosaurs as a kid, and hope that my kids will do the same. There’s just something about them that really sparks imaginations. (It was distressing to find out that Brontosaurus never existed—the first specimen was named in 1879, but in 1903 it turned out it was really an Apatosaurus. No one told us kids, so we grew up talking about Brontosaurus. Now, however, recent extensive research published in 2015 suggests the Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus could be separate genera. This kind of makes up for Pluto.)


Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity

This gallery opened in 2009, and I didn’t take many photos since I was hurrying through it with my son. He loved it, particularly the coral reef aquarium—I’m sure he’s not the first to call the fish “Dory” and “Nemo”! We’ll definitely have to come back to this gallery again next time we’re at the ROM.

The exhibit consists of real, model, and living specimens of endangered life. Since I didn’t take many photos (and the ones I did take do not accurately represent this impressive gallery), you can see a little more here.

Interactive multimedia and thousands of spectacular specimens create a special experience for visitors of all ages. The gallery explores our world’s biodiversity through three core themes: Life is Diverse, Life is Interconnected, and Life is at Risk.

The ecosystems of our living planet are presented, from Africa and the Amazon to our own Great Lakes and the Arctic, and places in between.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Biodiversity Gallery.

Endangered butterflies.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Biodiversity Gallery.

Coral reef aquarium.


Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures

The minerals gallery has been one of my favorites at the ROM, since I first visited back in the ’90s. I’ve never been much of a geology nut, but the collections here are amazing and I always end up reading more online about the rocks, minerals, and gems that catch my eye.

Close to 3,000 exceptional specimens of minerals, gems, meteorites and rocks represent a collection among the finest in North America.

Specimens hail from all over the Earth, the Moon, and beyond.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Quartz (Amethyst).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Quartz (Amethyst).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Quartz.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Okenite in a geode. Aren’t they cute?

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Jadeite.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Copper.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Mineral transformation.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Mineral transformation.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Mineral species.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Chromatic effects of microstructures: opal, anorthite, albite.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Metals: gold, copper, silver, pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, nickeline, breithauptite.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Asteroidal meteorites.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Martian and lunar meteorites.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Colour in minerals and gems.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

The Star of Lanka, a cabochon-cut blue sapphire with a six-rayed star.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Asterism (“star effect”) & chatoyancy (“cats-eye”) in gems.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Tourmaline.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Corundum (rubies, sapphires).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Pearl and diamond jewelry.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Garnet.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Opal.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Opal.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Gold.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Jade.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Diamond.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Spodumene.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Topaz.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Gemstone jewelry. Is this the ROM or Birks?

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Beryl (emerald, aquamarine, morganite).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Beryl (emerald, aquamarine, morganite).

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), May 2017. Earth's Treasures Gallery.

Feldspars (moonstone, sunstone) and Zircon.


Next time, we’ll have to see some more galleries like the Reed Gallery of the Age of Mammals, the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity, the Gallery of Birds (one of my old favorites), and the Bat Cave.

Hope you enjoyed the photos, and happy Victoria Day!

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1 Comment

  1. I love the minerals and gemstones gallery too!
    So glad Peanut loved the dinosaur display – it’s really impressive even as an adult. 😛

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