Who is Wolli? Well, Wolli is a black-nosed sheep; young, mischievous, adventurous and larger than life, he is Zermatt’s mascot. Created by singer, writer and restaurant owner, Dan Daniell, he of Chez Heini fame, the idea and the character came from the culture of the many shepherds of Zermatt, and the children’s stories about him reflect this. Wolli even has his own cook book.
Sheep farming is still very much a way of life here, and these particularly stubborn and hardy sheep can be seen during the summer on the hills and mountain paths. They are left to wander as they please and as the days become hotter, amble up high to munch on the grass and wild flowers accessible only to the most agile. For us, it is beautiful to see animals grazing peacefully on the hill, but their presence is also useful: in keeping down the vegetation in inaccessible places during the summer, they help to reduce the avalanche risks in Autumn and early Winter.
Wolli involves himself in Zermatt life, welcoming visitors and organising many events for children. Over the summer, children can meet up together with Wolli and others of their own age to play in the Forest Fun Park: Cable slides, suspension bridges, ropes and harnesses great for beginners as well as the more fool hardy adventurous of you who like to make your mother gulp with worry. He organises too sporting fun days where you can try volley ball, basket ball, mini golf, football and field hockey. There are visits to the Glacier Palace 3,883m above sea level and educational excursion to the top of the Gornergrat to learn about glaciers, mountain growth, the climate and how it all effect our mountains.
Another animal that could have been Zermatt’s mascot is the marmot. But Wolli bears no grudges and includes a trip to the marmot observation area, where you can see hundreds of these cute little animals in their natural habitat. This is followed by a barbecue by the lake in the sun at Leisee.
Professional child care is included, so whilst you adults are climbing your first 4000m peak, you need not feel guilty about leaving the children at home, bored – they are definitely having more fun with Wolli than you are!