Now in its 81st year, the derby, hosted by Johns Hopkins first-year medical students and Radiology students, 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 to win a cash prize! Entry forms, derby
T-shirts, buttons and hats go on sale this spring and will be available for purchase in Johns Hopkins Hospital. CHECK BACK FOR DETAILS
What is the Johns Hopkins Turtle Derby?
spring since 1931 (and now every May), turtles have ambled out from a
starting gate and crawled to victory in the Annual Johns Hopkins Turtle
Derby. Imports from U.S. turtle farms, to which they are subsequently
returned, turtles "race" to the cheering of neighborhood children, Hopkins
faculty, staff, patients and their families. The little creatures, and the audience, are egged on by
Johns Hopkins Medical School students in jockey silks.
Look for the derby in
fair weather on the grassy knoll of the courtyard behind the Preclinical
Teaching Building on the Johns Hopkins medical campus in East
Johns Hopkins Gets Its Turtle On! 2011 Derby
traditional prelude to the Preakness in Baltimore, the turtle derby's
origins are traced back to Benjamin Frisby, a hospital caretaker and
doorman who kept a small turtle pen outside the original hospital
administration building. Soon, a racetrack was built and wagers were
made, all in the name of building community among the medical residents.
Q: What type of turtles are these?
A: They vary. Some years they are red-eared sliders. In recent years, they've arrived for the races from a North Carolina turtle farm. After the derby, the turtles go home again.
Q: Why do turtles move so slowly?
Physically, turtles are slow because they have a very slow metabolism,
which means their bodies process energy little by little. But animals
with slow metabolisms often live longer – some turtles live for more
than one hundred years!
Q: What is the biggest turtle?
A: The Marine Leatherback Turtle is the largest reptile. (A sea turtle weighing up to 500 pounds!)
Questions? Contact Child Life, 410-955-6277.