Gotta Love the Mall Trains

The mall has become one of our favorite cold weather places to take the kids for fun.  Oliver could spend hours pushing every button on the soda machines alone – until he hears the train whistle that is…

In the past few years, I’ve noticed a rising trend of electric trains in malls.  Whoever sells, buys and operates these things are brilliant!!! 

A train ride costs anywhere from $3 – $5 per person and travels either a part of the mall or the entire mall length depending on mall rules.  The train at our local mall travels a short path and costs $4 per person.  I’ve seen it make 4 trips in 1/2 an hour carrying anywhere from 2 – 12 people.  If you averaged 4 people per trip, that’s $64 in 1/2 an hour!

Most trains are stationed near play areas in the malls.  For my train obsessed children, that means we rarely escape without a ride when we go to the mall. 

When you talk bang for your buck, mall trains are not the most frugal forms of entertainment for the family.  However, once you see your child light up and thrill in riding a “for real big boy choo choo train” it’s hard to say no.  (Again, brilliant moneymaker train people.) 

To lessen the cost for frequent riders, many trains offer package ticket deals.  For our train, if we pay $40 for a train card we get 4 free rides for a total of 14.  That averages out to $2.85 per ticket.  Other trains have frequent rider cards where you can earn a free ride after so many purchased ones have been counted.  Depending on who the conductor is, we can sometimes schmooze free rides.  One conductor likes the kids so much that he lets the 3 of us ride for one ticket total when it’s slow.

I am grateful for all the discounts we can get for as much as my kids LOVE these trains!


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