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 and the Perkins Day Care Center, a Hopkins Children's affiliate.
Name a turtle and enter it in the race(s)! Entry forms and derby T-shirts are on sale Thursday, May 9-Wednesday, May 22, in the Child Life TV studio in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center building. Turtles may not be named and entered in a race on the day of the derby, Thursday, May 23.
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 neighborhood 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 (Thursday, May 9-Thursday, May 22) 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.
NEW LOCATION: The 2013 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.
Questions? Contact the Department of Child Life, 410-955-6276.