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All Aboard at White Flint

Train gives children a ride through mall.

Welcome to The Mall Hunter, Patch's look at D.C. area malls.

You're walking around the White Flint Mall, looking for a T-shirt for your son, and all of a sudden, you swear you hear a train whistle. No, it can't be. So, you continue walking down the promenade, but there it is again. And this time, you hear a cheery man's voice shouting "All aboard!" as well.

Let your eyes wander down to the bottom level of the White Flint Mall, and you'll discover the delightful "White Flint Express," an actual mini train that takes passengers on a 5- to 10-minute ride past shops and eateries, as well as some surprised shoppers.

For $1.50 apiece, children and parents are welcome to ride in either of the green or blue passenger cars or the red caboose on the Express, while the conductor – sporting a pinstriped railroad hat, of course – drives the train along a designated, arrow-marked path.

The train began its run through the mall in 2010, and has been packing in delighted children ever since.

To ride the train, you must follow a few rules:

  • Use cash only to pay for your ride.
  • Children younger than 7 must ride with an adult.
  • Adults may only ride if accompanied by a child.
  • No food or drink is allowed.

Buy tickets for the Express at the Train Depot, which is well marked on Level 1 of the mall, in the Lord & Taylor wing. It runs 11 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., on weekdays; 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Saturdays; and noon to 5:45 p.m. on Sundays, with a break from 2:30 to 3:05 p.m. each day.

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Many stores at the White Flint Mall are readying for spring and the Easter holiday, with plenty of pastel-colored displays greeting shoppers.

At Williams-Sonoma on Level 1, bunnies and butterflies mingled with flowers in many displays. Coordinating mom and daughter aprons in sage and yellow stood next to cheery displays of sprinkles, sugar cookies, and Easter cookie "stamp and style" kits. Perhaps the most eye-catching sight was a basket full of giant papier-mâché eggs, painted with classic-looking images of rabbits riding bicycles, and filled with chocolates and other Easter goodies.

Just down the hall, at Expressions Hallmark, stuffed bunnies, chicks and ducks filled shelves next to assorted egg-shaped candies.

And, as if those visions weren't enough to put a taste of Spring in the air, a few doors down at Bath & Body Works, the scent of Spring – particularly appropriate in the Washington region – was recently unveiled. Japanese Cherry Blossom scent is available as the shop's signature Spring 2011 fragrance in shower gel, lotions and other products.

Yes, spring is in the air, for sure, at White Flint Mall.

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