You Might Confuse This Giant Ohio Grocery Store For A Theme Park

It is believed that, within all of us, there exists a potential for untapped creativity, a vast wellspring of pure inspiration driving us to create incredible works of art or bring to fruition fantastic dream-like marvels. There is a place that represents this beauty of invention and whimsical wonder — and it's a grocery store in Fairfield, Ohio.

Jungle Jim's International Market is best described as part Sam's Club/part Epcot Center, all rolled into one enormous 500,000-square-foot complex. Stocking foods from 70 countries, Jungle Jim's was the brainchild of Ohioan James. O. Bonaminio, a man who represents the classic American success story and even the creative, inventive genius of Walt Disney. From washing cars and trucks in high school to selling potatoes at a roadside produce stand (via Jungle Jim's), Bonaminio sought to make a name for himself in the history of industry greats. 

In 1975, he managed to purchase a space of land to set up his produce stands and, from there — through business-savvy, moxie, or perhaps a bit of luck — Jungle Jim's evolved into the fantastic wonderland that makes it so legendary today. But just what makes Jungle Jim's so incredible and so unique that people from all over come to explore this slice of American-born grocery store nirvana? It's a one-of-a-kind experience.

It's a real jungle at this massive Ohio grocery store

It would be hard to describe Jungle Jim's in just a few short words. Outside, giraffes and elephants stand amidst rushing springs of crystal clear water, so realistic (some even roaring) that those who may fall under the spell of Jungle Jim's magic might believe these animals could actually live underneath the warm Ohio sun. Inside, animatronic displays continue the safari theme. There's also a monorail that shuttles you across the parking lot into the attached Oscar Event Center – a venue boasting everything from The Oscar Station with a state-of-the-art bourbon bar, plus a vast, open-floor plan to accommodate large events (per the official website).

The expansive interior of the grocery store is no less impressive as one wanders the winding aisles and nooks, discovering familiar sights and extraordinary new experiences. Guests can sample the exotic taste of rattlesnake and dry-aged beef at the Old Fashioned Meat Shop, or enjoy a taste of some 1,400 cheeses from all across the world at the Cheese Shop. Plus, there's the chance to delight in everything from African to European cuisines in the International department (decked out with mini storefronts that have authentic cultural details) — with many of these products not easily found at other stores in the region. And that's to say nothing of the produce — only the freshest fruits and vegetables, both local and international, will remind visitors of just what this grand venture started out as.

If exotic food isn't your taste, Jungle Jim's offers a massive selection of 17,000 wines and 4,000 beers in their liquor department alongside an enormous humidor at their Paradise Pavilion. Jim's also offers cooking classes and liquor tastings each week, according to their website, with truly a little something for everyone. In fact it's said (per Ancestral Findings) that 82,000 shoppers visit this grocery store turned theme park every week.