Take the Kids to the ROM’s Winter Wonderland This Holiday

Phew. The crazy running around part of the holiday is wrapping up. But the kids are still off school until (halp!) January 9th. Make something of the time and get your gang down to the Royal Ontario Museum this holiday. Plus, find out below how you can enter to win a family membership!

In the hectic weeks ahead of the holidays, we’re so focussed on getting through those long to-do lists and making it to all the events on the calendar that it’s easy to shelve until later the issue of what to do to in the stretch between Boxing Day and when the kids head back to school.

Actually, it’s kind of awesome at the start to have some unstructured time, especially if you’re lucky enough to be off of work while the kids are on school break. Even though I tried to do less this year, was selective about which holiday events I committed to, and did the bulk of my shopping early, I still found that the last week or two before the holidays felt like a marathon. That was in part because I was working so much, but it was also because I was doing things like shopping for vintage ugly Christmas sweaters for “Festive Sweater Day” at my kids’ school and embellishing the heck out of the one my youngest son wore so he could be crowned “Tacky King.”

Take the Kids to the ROM's Winter Wonderland this Holiday

It’s this kind of thing that puts things over the top, right? Between this, acquiring teacher gifts, getting the kids to fill out the cards and remembering to send a snack for the class party on the last day of school, the boys’ dad and I were run off our feet as busy career parents. Even if we didn’t have jobs we would have been busy!

But now we have this delightful time to spend with our families, free from all those obligations. That’s why it’s the perfect time to make a day (or two or three!) out of visiting our city’s greatest cultural resource, The Royal Ontario Museum.

I don’t know about you but I find it’s so easy to get caught up in our regular routines that we could easily put off making an outing to this sort of destination, saving it for a rainy day, so to speak. A regular family weekend easily fills up with sports, lessons, groceries and laundry, and if you live in a big city like ours, you can take for granted that the ROM is here.

But with the extra time we have during the school break, it’s the perfect occasion to make your family’s ROM visit happen. And you can count on the ROM to have all kinds of fabulous programming for our kids over the break.

The theme this year is inspired by the ROM’s spectacular CHIHULY exhibition, which showcases the work of American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. This exhibit has taken the city by storm and it happens that this is the last chance to see it before it closes January 8!

With these amazingly colourful works of art as their jumping off point, the ROM’s curators and programmers have created a winter wonderland for families this holiday, showcasing glowing lights, festive traditions and exclusive gallery activations for kids of all ages.

Your hands-on learners can explore how fire and ice shape our natural world with touchable objects from our collections—from volcanic glass to a polar bear skull.  Take in the creative and curious inflatable sculptures from Balloon Artist “Jungle Jack,” check out the incredible “glass” fossils of creatures that lived in the seas long before the dinosaurs, and sail into the icy heart of a historical mystery to ponder what happened to HMS Erebus in the cold Arctic waters.

Be the canvas for temporary body art by Travel.ART.Henna and take in a lively performance by Sonshine and Broccoli.

In the ROM Arcade, challenge family and friends to video games inspired by the museum’s collections, and courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency, Meet Rex, a prototype Mars rover.

While you’re at the ROM you can also take in this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, another family favourite. This well-loved exhibit features 100 striking wildlife and landscape images from all over the world.

If it all gets to be a little much for your littlest ones, you can decompress in the Early Learners Lounge—a quiet space for young families to rest, nurse and play.

If you’ve got family visiting from out of town, an outing to the ROM is a great way to spend time together while giving your guests the opportunity to feel like they took in some of the best of what our city has to offer.

Keep the Kids Enteratined with a Trip to Outer Space this HolidayAnd since we may be looking at a long, cold winter, this could be just the right time to get a family membership to the ROM. The great thing about this membership is that it allows any two adults to take any four children under 17 to the museum, making it possible to bring a friend or relative and their children along with you as your guests. Until December 31, you can save $20 on a Family/Dual Membership. Just visit rom.on.ca/membership and enter the promo code HOLIDAY.

Members get express entry, which is especially great when you’ve got kids in tow. Members also enjoy unlimited free access to exhibitions and galleries, exclusive previews, members-only discounts and more.

Also, we’re giving away a family membership to the ROM (value $149) to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter!

This is a sponsored post but opinions and experiences are my own.

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by

'Take the Kids to the ROM’s Winter Wonderland This Holiday' have 10 comments

  1. Sara lanthier

    December 28, 2016 @ 7:20 pm Sara lanthier

    We love the ROM and would looove to win this!


  2. December 28, 2016 @ 7:40 pm Kim

    We tend to go to the Science Centre more than the ROM, but I think 2017 could be the year for that to change, as my 3.5 year has become obsessed with dinosaurs!


  3. December 28, 2016 @ 7:44 pm Grace Sanchez MacCall

    Oh, we LOVE the ROM. It’s everything you said in this article and more. We love visiting the exhibits — permanent collection and special ones — as well as the lectures; My kid met his heroes Dr Scott from The Dinosaur Train AND Dr. Currie from the Drumheller Tyrell Museum in two separate lectures there. Also, my kid has been to lots of camps in the city that have kept him busy, but the ROM camps stand out in terms of actually teaching him something. Excellent, excellent kid’s programming! We also visit the National Geographic wildlife photography exhibit every time it comes around (we’ll go during the holidays). It’s the only membership that I’ve kept from the time my kid was a baby. He’s nine now and we keep finding new and interesting age-appropriate things to see and do with each visit. With the ROM right on the subway line, it is so easy to get there, too, and with our membership, we don’t hesitate popping in for even just an hour to see something. I know I sound like a commercial but we love that place a lot. Instead of buying more things, part of our family tradition is to renew our membership year after year. The lesson I hope my kid gets is that it’s more important to pay for experience rather than things.


  4. December 28, 2016 @ 8:29 pm Barbara Dundas

    We make it to the ROM at least once a year. The best thing about a membership would be seeing the parts that aren’t the headline grabbers (since we have to choose when we aren’t in several time a year).


  5. Kelly Bos

    December 28, 2016 @ 9:25 pm Kelly Bos

    I have been dying to see the Chihuly exhibit, a family pass sounds like a wonderful idea.


  6. December 28, 2016 @ 9:29 pm Karengreeners

    Love the Christmas sweater and love the ROM–we still go all the time, though we did let our membership lapse a few years ago. Me and the girls saw the exhibit last month – amazing!


  7. December 28, 2016 @ 10:38 pm Gen

    The ROM is a treasure! Always a great place for my family to have an adventure 🙂


  8. December 28, 2016 @ 11:02 pm Jeni

    Other family members and friends have taken the kids to the ROM, but sadly I never have … time to change that!


  9. December 29, 2016 @ 12:40 am P.Carello

    My twins may complain about putting away their electronics to go to the ROM and yet each and every time it’s an amazing journey of discovery, and they return home content as can be.


  10. December 31, 2016 @ 12:49 am Steph M

    My kids love the ROM. But my parents love it too so it’s a really great place to go with three generations with various interests, and discover something new each time. Especially now that my kids are a bit older (5 & 7) they are interested in things beyond the dinosaurs (though we always visit the dinosaurs and the bat cave) like the Greece and Egypt exhibits.


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