What began in 1931 as a race between the pet turtles of a Johns Hopkins caretaker has become a well-known harbinger of spring in Maryland. Hosted by Johns Hopkins first-year medical students and radiography students (with help from Child Life and the Office of Student Activities) the Turtle Derby is free and open to the public. Proceeds benefit the Department of Child Life.
Name a turtle and enter it in the race(s)! Entry forms and derby T-shirts will go on sale in May in the Child Life TV studio in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center building. Check back for details. Please note that turtles may not be named and entered in a race on the day of the derby, Friday, May 16.
What happens at the Johns Hopkins Turtle Derby?
At this derby, turtles take off from the starting gate and "race" to victory. Imports from U.S. turtle farms, to which they are subsequently returned, turtles are cheered on by children, Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, students, patients and their families. The little creatures, and the audience, are egged on by Johns Hopkins medical school students in jockey silks. Prior to the race anyone can purchase a "chance" for $10, name a turtle and have it entered in a race. Namers of the top three turtles in each of several "races" receive cash prizes, including $100 for first place.
LOCATION: The 2014 Turtle Derby takes place in the outdoor courtyard - complete with grandstands - of the Bloomberg Children's Center building and the Sheikh Zayed Tower at Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1800 Orleans Street in Baltimore.
Questions? Contact the Department of Child Life, 410-955-6276.