ROM Guide for Visitors with Autism

A Handy Guide for Visitors with Autism, prepared in collaboration with Autism Ontario

Tips on Visiting the Royal Ontario Museum 

A Handy Guide for Visitors with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), their families or caregivers, prepared in collaboration with Autism Ontario.

Getting to the Museum 

A picture of the main entrance to the Museum and the Museum subway stop

The Main Entrance is located at the base of the crystal on Bloor Street. You may take transit to St. George (wheelchair accessible) or Museum Subway Stations. If you are arriving by car, the closest parking lot is on 9 Bedford RdFor more information on arriving at the museum, see Location & Parking Guide

Arriving at the Museum

Be prepared for a crowd of people and a long line up when you enter the building. 

The museum is typically busier on weekends, weekday mornings, and during special events such as March Break, ROM for the Holidays, Friday Night Live and BIG Weekends. If you want to visit the museum when it is quiet, we suggest that you visit after 2 pm on a weekday during the school year.  The full museum schedule can be viewed here.         
Do you have vertigo? Note that the museum lobby has a 2% slope, and that the crystal creates sloped walls inside the lobby and in several galleries.
If you have a coat or backpack, be prepared to check it.  The coat check is located immediately to your left upon entering, before the ticket counter.  If you need a wheelchair, ask the attendant.  

The Museum Environment: Sensory Notes

The museum lobby has a slight slope.  Some of the angles of the floor and the walls in the museum are sloped.  This might mean you need to take some time to adjust in the space.   

In the museum, sometimes sound can echo or be louder when there are large crowds.  Be prepared for some additional noise.  

There are always crowds in the museum.  Sometimes some spaces are busier than others and sometimes spaces that were quiet can get very noisy.  For example, Currelly Gallery (on the first floor) is a space that is often used for special events.  This means it can get loud.

 Keep in mind that lighting, temperature and scents can change between galleries, depending on the collection.  Keep this in mind when you are planning your visit.  For example, the Bat Cave is a lot of fun, but it’s also dark and contains sounds that can be surprising. You don’t need to enter if you don’t want to.

Need A Quiet Space?

 
Left: Canada First People Gallery amphitheatre (first floor) Right: Textile Gallery (fourth floor) 

First Floor (two locations)

  • Follow the futalognkosaurus dinosaur tail to the corner beside the stairwell.
  • Another choice is to go to the amphitheatre at the back of the Canada First Peoples Gallery.

Second Floor (one location)

  • If you are visiting the Dinosaur Gallery, you will find a room just past the doorway leading to the washrooms.

Third Floor (one location)

  • On the third floor, upon entering the Africa, Americas and Asia-Pacific Gallery from the Main Elevators, turn right and follow the wall to the window. You will find some seats and a table where you may sit.

Fourth Floor

  • The fourth floor has low lighting and ample seating in the corner. Please note that fourth floor galleries may sometimes be closed while we change exhibitions.

Need additional privacy? Approach a Security Guard and request to be taken to the First Aid and Special Needs Room on the first floor

Guidelines for Enjoying the Museum

Remember to take a Map when buying your ticket or print it off from the website before your visit.

Note where the Washrooms are on each floor.

  • The first floor washrooms are located at the back of Currelly Court.
  • The second floor washrooms are located in the Dinosaur Gallery and at the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity.
  • The third floor washrooms are located beside the Byzantium Gallery. 
  • There are also washrooms at Druxy's ROM Cafe and Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall.

Be aware! There are no washrooms on the Fourth Floor. 

Do not touch objects. Only touch objects that are clearly marked as safe to touch.

  • In the museum, you may not touch the objects because your skin contains oils that can damage the objects over time.  
  • There are two special spaces where you can touch objects safely in the museum. These spaces are called the Hands-on Galleries (Hands-on Biodiversity and Discovery Gallery).  You can find these on the second floor.  

Food and drinks are not allowed in the galleries.

  • You may consume food and drinks in the brown bag lunchroom or in Druxy’s ROM Café.
  • Druxy’s ROM Café serves gluten free options! Just ask the staff at the Café counter.

The Hands-on Galleries (Hands-on Biodiversity and Discovery Gallery) are a must for all visitors! Here are some tips:

Man and two boys looking into the bat cave 
Left: Explore cave formation and how bats use echolocation to navigate at night. Image © Ray Steinke, 2012 Right: Hands-On Galleries

There is a rule list at the entrance of the Discovery Gallery by the ROM Kids Boutique.  Be sure to read these rules, as they are meant for your safety. For example, at the Dinosaur Dig, you will have to wear goggles.  Each display in the Hands-on Biodiversity gallery has rules too.  If you have any questions, ask a volunteer or staff member.

Some fun activities include: dinosaur digs, dress up in historical clothing, live animals, a working bee hive, and much more!  The Bat Cave can be fun, but please also note that it is a multi-sensory experience that includes strobe lighting and noises. Ask a volunteer or staff member for more details on any of our activities.