Friday, March 31, 2017

Blue Whales, Dinosaurs - a visit to the ROM

I'm not a skier anymore, truthfully I was probably never a skier, but I did like the outfits and the hot chocolate.  So what to do on a dreary day in March in Canada.  Andrew told us about the blue whale exhibit at the ROM, so it sounded like a great idea for a Friday night.  Double bonus, prices go down at 5:30 and we got seniors rates :).  $17 each.  Not bad.  

 I had been hearing about the REDress display blowing on trees in Toronto, here was my 1st view of them.  They are very eerie and do make a strong statement about the 1200 indigenous women that are missing.
 This is the first time I have seen the new facade of the ROM, quite impressive, I love the reflections.

This gigantic dinosaur, the enormous titanosaur Futalognkosaurus is your official greeter as you enter the ROM.  The first time I saw the dinosaurs at the ROM, the only movie that brought them to live was Godzilla and King Kong.  Thank you to Jurassic Park for allowing me to look at these amazing creatures and feel goosebumps as I picture them roaming across Canada and the world.

The dinosaurs in the entry way brought back so many wonderful memories of school trips and trips with our children.  But it was time to head down to see the amazing blue whale and hear about its story.  

 This magnificent female blue whale will be on display until September.  In 2014, 9 whales became trapped in the ice off Newfoundland.  This is 3% of the already endangered blue whales of the Northwest Atlantic's population.  There was nothing anyone could do.  What made this so unusual was that 2 of them washed up on shore in Newfoundland and Labrador.  How do you make a disaster into a teaching experience, you send ROM scientists down there to study and save the bones so that hopefully it will help save the whales.  

It took the scientists and towns folk 10 days to clean the bones and then 3 years before she was ready to be displayed.  At the end of each day the scientists were hosed down, the stench was so bad they had to pay a fine to get their rental car cleaned.  This story has some great pictures of the process and work involved.
 This is its mouth, they eat 1.5 million calories of krill every day, sometimes just lying on their side and letting them swim in, they then get caught in the hairs and swallowed.
 They weigh around 200,000 lbs the equivalent of 15 elephants.  Their heart beats 10 to 30 bpm, ours beats around 60 to 100 times a minute.  Their tongue weighs the equivalent of 2 hippos, around 2 tons.  Their heart is around the size of my Mazda 3.  Honestly my mouth just kept dropping as I walked around the displays.

There are still around 200 blue whales in the North Atlantic.  Some of the blue whale populations are growing, thanks to education and funding.  It is amazing how much information they know about these mammals as they are very hard to see in the wild.  Definitely feeling a trip to Newfoundland in my future.

Can't go to the ROM without a trip to see the dinosaurs.  Crazy to think there are so many new dinosaurs since the last time I was there and they know so much more about them.  I guess being frozen in an ice age preserves an amazing amount of information.  Maybe there is something to cryogenics.

 OK I know I know, how many pictures of their mouths could I take.  Lots.  With these old knees I wouldn't be getting to far if one of these was chasing me.  I might beat Jim :).

 I have definitely seen this guy in a horror movie.

Next stop was the Bat Cave.  I remember going in here with the kids and being absolutely terrified.  At one point as we were walking through it (much smaller than I remember), lights would go on at the holes in the wall.  I thought maybe by touching the glass the light would come back on so I could see better.  Well my hand just kept going in deeper and deeper, LOL  I actually jumped back, forgetting I was at the museum not the zoo.  Bats are ultra creepy for me.

The ROM also have some amazing interactive activities for the kids.  In the blue whale area you can dress up like a krill.  Jim for some reason wasn't too keen on that.  He was more than willing to be attacked by a T-Rex.  This definitely wasn't there the last time I was.  Such fun.  It takes a picture and you can email it to yourself and then post it on the ROM twitter feed (@ROMtoronto).

Thank you to these amazing scientists and the many people who contribute to the ROM and museums around the world for helping to bring these amazing displays to us.  

Finished off with a burger and fries - yum at the Museum Tavern across from the ROM.  They have a lovely patio too, bring on the good weather.  

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