People, Places & Events


Trinity Valley offers freshmen orientation on three campuses
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–Trinity Valley Community College will conduct freshman orientation sessions on its Athens, Palestine and Terrell campuses this summer to help ease the transition to college life.
Freshman orientation offers incoming students an opportunity to get a first-hand look at college life, as well as to receive academic advising and career counseling.
Students may also complete the registration process while on campus.
The program helps familiarize students with TVCC opportunities, services and facilities and provides information about costs, academics and college policies.
TVCC in Athens has scheduled two sessions this summer. The first is scheduled for Monday, July 24 with a reservation deadline of Monday, July 17. The second session is set for Monday, Aug. 14 with a reservation deadline of Monday, Aug. 7.
TVCC in Palestine will conduct freshman orientation on Wednesday, July 26. The deadline to register for this session is Friday, July 21.
TVCC in Terrell offers freshman orientation on Tuesday, Aug. 8. The deadline to register for this session is Tuesday, Aug. 1.
The cost for each session is $20, which includes a luncheon, snacks and materials.
Students planning to follow an associate degree program need to have THEA results before they can attend the orientation program.
For more information or registration forms, contact the guidance office at the location nearest you or go online to


New waterpark opens with splashes and flashes
By Dan Eakin
Monitor Correspondent

CANTON–Splash Kingdom, the new waterpark on I-20 just west of Farm-to-Market 859 in Canton, opened Saturday June 24, with splashes and flashes.
Only a couple of hours after the park opened, a lightning storm blew in, causing the park to temporarily be evacuated.
“We got to practice our first evacuation drill on the first day,” Johnny Blevins said, who is operating the park with his wife Marci.
As the lightning flashed, the thrill seekers were told to get out of the water and head for shelter.
Several got under the awnings and inside the few buildings.
Others went to their cars.
Armbands issued when entering the park allow patrons to come and go throughout the day, as they wish.
After the brief storm passed on by, the way was cleared for the fun seekers to return to the water.
That is, to the slides, the lazy river, the sand castle, the wave or wherever they wanted to go to have fun.
“We had over 800 people on Saturday and over a 1,000 on Sunday, Blevins said. “We learned we could easily accommodate as many as 2,000 people at one time, without anyone having to wait in lines for very long,” he added.
People came from all over. One fellow said he was from Florida.
A lot of Van Zandt County people were on hand, including from Canton, Edgewood, Martins Mill, Grand Saline, Wills Point and Ben Wheeler.
But many from adjacent counties and beyond also came for the opening weekend.
The wave stopped working for a while, but it soon got fixed.
“There were a few kinks to get worked out, but we’ve got them fixed,” Blevins said. He is seen frequently walking amidst the crowd and visiting with the guests.
The outdoor area of the park has a wave pool, a slide tower with five slides, a lazy river, and a large children’s area with a castle and a pool for smaller children.  Licensed lifeguards are on duty at all times. 
The children’s castle is a beautiful storybook “sand castle” resting in a 7,000 square foot pool that is about 10 inches deep. 
The castle has seven slides for children and small tots.  Surrounding the castle are several fun water toys such as tipping buckets, raindrop mushrooms, a brightly colored whale slide and other spraying toys.
Filling the center of the park, and surrounding the children’s castle is the Lazy River. 
The river is just like it sounds – lazy.  This 900-foot long endless river is three-feet deep and 12-feet wide. 
People can swim, walk, or float on the tubes provided by Splash Kingdom.
Splash Kingdom has five major slides falling from a huge, two-platform tower.  The top platform is 60-feet high and has two raft slides beginning from there. 
Blue Thunder is an open flume slide and White Lightning is enclosed all the way down, so guests are not sure what turn is coming up next.  From the 50-foot high platform, they have three additional body slides. 
The Express is a speed slide for high thrills. The Royal Flush body bowl is different each ride, because after shooting out of the start tube and traveling about 200 feet in a tube, participants are launched into a large bowl to spin and twist their way to the bottom that will drop them four feet into a catch pool.
The  Pink Panic  also starts from the 50-foot tower, and is totally enclosed from top to bottom.  This quick drop speed twister keeps sliders guessing as they plummet to the bottom.
The huge wave pool can create several types of waves.  The “beach” entry is more than 150-feet wide and has plenty of room for wading, splashing, and walking. 
The deeper end is five feet deep by 75-feet wide and will have three-foot high waves.
Splash Kingdom also has an outstanding food and beverage facility, complete with fresh grilled items, salads, smoothies and more. 
A retail shop offers swimsuits, sports clothing and other items. An indoor complex has glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, an arcade room and rooms available for meetings, reunions, and other events. Birthday parties are one of the specialties, promising an “extraordinary” experience.
The glow-in-the-dark, 3-D miniature  golf course finds players putting through a shipwreck, or through pirate cannon fire. Fish seem to swim right up to them during shots through three-dimensional artwork technology.
Both the indoor and outdoor facilities can be rented for special events before and after regular park hours. 
Waterpark hours are: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The indoor facility hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
The water park will be open until early September.
The indoor area is open year round.
Families, who wish to bring their own picnic for a day of fun may do so in a designated area outside the park.
No food or drinks are allowed inside the park.