Giraffes, adult novelties, Jesus statue at most fascinating exit

I-75 Exit 29 puts the ‘f’ in flashy

Those traveling Interstate 75 between Cincinnati and Dayton pass one of the nation’s most interesting exits — and it is very, very, very hard not to notice.

I am looking at you I-75 Exit 29.

Over the decades, former farmland has been transformed into one of the showiest tracks of land in the region.

The fiery demise of the controversial King of Kings statue (AKA Big Butter Jesus and Touchdown Jesus) struck by lightning during a thunderstorm four years ago did not quench the exit’s appeal.

In fact, the gateway to Warren County’s Lebanon, Monroe and Turtlecreek Twp. has managed to become more and more exciting since June 2010.

Exit 29 reels you in with giraffes, a higher class porn superstore and the call of the recently opened racino. And there is an outlet mall.

It offers plenty of “sin” and a place to repent.

There is even a place to lock up those among us who get convicted of sinning.

I am looking at you Lebanon Correctional Institution.

Into thrills of a different kind?

Exit 29 will lead you to Kings Island Amusement Park and The Beach Waterpark in Mason.

Get hungry along the way? The exit has several fast food and casual dining restaurants: Waffle House, Gold Star Chili, Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits, Chipotle, etc.

I am sure there must be a book that ranks ramps and exits.

It is not worth its weight in milled paper if I-75 exit 29 is not at the top of the list.

Here are six reasons why the exit is amazing:

Traders World Flee Market (601 Union Road in Lebanon) is an "11-acre shopping extravaganza" and has been since it opened nearly 30 years ago.

You can find everything from drones (and a guy who installs their cameras) to a Pac-Man arcade game. Other finds include mysterious gels and lotions, a decorative battle-axe — and of course statues of giant giraffes and gorillas in the facility’s 16 buildings. There are also plenty of treasures to find outside of the mall, which is open 9.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays year around.

Speaking of treasures, there are plenty of interesting things to hunt across the interstate at Treasure Aisles (formerly Turtlecreek Flea Market and located at 320 N. Garver Road, Monroe). It is an adventure around nearly every corner. Chances are you can find something that floats your boat in the scores of booths that make up the market (Confederate Flag bed sheets to drills to food.) There are more than 500 outdoor spaces to search in the warmer months as well. The market is also open rain or shine from 9 a.m. to 5 p..m. Sundays and Saturdays.

Hustler Hollywood is there for the things naughty adults treasure. Everything from bachelorette party favors to things one can't print on a family newspaper site can be found in the store Jimmy Flynt, the brother of Hustler magazine founder Larry Flynt, opened in December 2000.

“Relax, it’s just sex,” is the store’s slogan.

Those looking to get lucky should swing over to Miami Valley Gaming Racino (6000 Ohio 63, Lebanon). Since opening Dec. 12, the racino has given away more than 40,000 Buckeyes. 

Open 24 hours a day, it has taken many more bets.

It has harness horse races and 1,600 gaming machines on a 68,000-square-foot gaming floor.

Want somewhere to spend all that loot you win?

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The shops of Cincinnati Premium Outlets (400 Premium Outlets Drive, Monroe) could surely hook you up. The mall opened in August 2009 and now has a list of 100 outlet stores, including Coach, Cole Haan, Converse, Guess, J.Crew, Joe's Jeans, Kenneth Cole, Michael Kors, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Samsonite and Tommy Hilfiger. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Or you can give your money to church.

Solid Rock Church has been going strong since it was founded in 1978 by Rev. Lawrence Bishop and his wife Darlene. The couple grew the church from 12 members to more than 3,000 today.

Rev. Bishop died of a massive heart attack on Sept. 30, 2011. His body was moved in 2013 from Woodside Cemetery to the Solid Rock Church Mausoleum, which now overlooks the statue called "Lux Mundi" (Latin for "Light of the World"). This statue replaced the King of Kings statue in 2013. The 52-foot statue depicts Jesus with arms wide open.

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