Moroccans love children, which can be both a godsend and an irritant, as every shopkeeper in the souks will wave you into his store to both acquire your business and interact with your young one. There is plenty to keep your children's attention while you wander around the souks -- music shops with lots of drums; Berber pharmacies (called herboristes) with brightly colored concoctions; butcheries with the odd sheep or camel's head prominently displayed. The souks are very busy areas with lots of pedestrian traffic, so be sure to keep an eye on your kids. After you're done shopping, check out the entertainment on Jemaa el Fna, where you'll also find a number of cafes and patisseries. If the enclosed spaces are making the kids antsy, the city's various public gardens are a good place to let little legs run free for a while. A ride around the medina's walls on a calèche or aboard the open-top double-decker City Sightseeing bus can be a quick fix for tired kids, and those who miss their familiar Western fast food can stop at the McDonald's or KFC on place de la Liberté.
Atlas Karting, on the road to Safi (tel. 0524/331734 or 0661/237687; firstname.lastname@example.org), has a minikart racing circuit along with 45km (28 miles) of quad biking trails. Camel and horse rides are also offered. For a day at the "beach," take the kids to Oasiria, 5km (3 miles) from the city on the Asni road (tel. 0524/380438; www.oasiria.com). They'll love the wave pool, water slides, pools, and lagoons, plus there are grassy areas and a couple of restaurants. It's open 10am to 6pm daily from April to August, and Friday to Sunday during the rest of the year. A free shuttle bus runs from mid-June through August, picking up from both the parking lot opposite the Koutoubia Mosque and place du Harti in Guéliz at 9:30, 10:15, 11, and 11:45am, and 1:30, 2:25, and 3pm. The bus drops you right at the entrance to Oasiria. At the end of the day, the shuttle bus departs for the return journey into town at 5, 5:45, 6:30, and 7:15pm. Admission is free for all children under .8m (2 2/3 ft.), 80dh (half-day) or 100dh (full day) for those under 1.5m (5 ft.) tall, and 140dh (half-day) or 180dh (full day) for all persons over 1.5m (5 ft.) tall. For the ultimate in securing major brownie points, take the kids up in a hot-air balloon ride with Ciel d'Afrique (tel. 0524/432843; www.cieldafrique.info). Hour-long flights over the plains surrounding Marrakech start from 2,050dh per person, with half price for children 9 and under.
In the evening the entertainment continues on Jemaa el Fna or at Chez Ali (tel. 0524/307730), on the outskirts of the city in Jaafary palmeraie, where Disneyland meets Morocco in a nightly dinner extravaganza complete with Berber musicians, belly-dancing, fireworks, a mock wedding, and a show from charging, gun-wielding horsemen. Diners are seated in Berber-style tents that are heated in winter, but the show is held outdoors so make sure to take warm clothing during the colder months. The kids (and maybe the grown-ups, too) will love it, and be sure to bring plenty of change for tipping the steady stream of performers who visit your table during the course of the night.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.