Leatherback Turtle Day in Santa Cruz

The largest turtle gets its day of celebration at the Sanctuary Exploration Center.

LARGEST. LIVING. TURTLE: When you dig down into turtle-based facts, the kind of facts you toss around on a long road trip with a terrapin-obsessed buddy, you always have to eventually, if not from the get-go, talk about the leatherback sea turtle. This exquisite ocean dweller is, after all, the biggest of all turtles currently occupying the planet, and while leatherback hatchlings, the adorable babies that make their way from sand-to-surf mere moments after birth, are mighty small, an adult leatherback is decidedly not. Adults can easily surpass a thousand pounds, and spying one can make you feel as though you're looking back through the telescope of time, to some distant prehistoric age. So how lucky we modern humans are that these wonders of the waters live now, and how lovely it is that the Sanctuary Exploration Center will spend a day paying tribute to the leatherback through a host of engaging activities. The 2017 date for...

LEATHERBACK TURTLE DAY... is Saturday, Oct. 14, and if you had your flippers, er, fingers crossed that there'd be a contest involving dressing up as a leatherback turtle, your fingers are lucky, indeed. A flick about the magnificent swimmers will also screen that day, and other foamy-fun happenings will be afoot, too. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is behind the event, one that will surely draw those devotees who've dreamed of spying, from a respectful and unobtrusive distance, a leatherback doing his thing out in the wild. And if you love the other denizens of the deep, which you surely do if you like leatherback sea turtles? Good news: The center brims with other interesting exhibits covering everything from kelp forests to tide pools.

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