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Dst In Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Trolley tours offer new view of Sarasota sites and history

October 17, 2018

Discover Sarasota Tours provide themed trips around town

For Sarafina, a ghostly hostess for the new Discover Sarasota Tours, the best moments are the unscripted ones.

Even the goriest story can’t compete with a sudden shock.

Last year, when Sarafina led walking tours downtown, she and a tour got caught off guard.

“We were going around the Opera House and then there was this loud bang, like something crashed — and every single person in the group screamed,” she says, laughing. “And there was this one guy who jumped behind all his friends. Obviously, he was going to sacrifice them to whatever it was.”

With a black wig, pale skin and a dress cut down to there, Sarafina Murphy-Gibson looks like a ghost tour leader. She’s playing a part. Sometimes she drops the Elvira look for witch, ghost or unicorn costumes.

She is part of the cast of the new Discover Sarasota Tours offering air-conditioned trolley tours with different themes, including a city overview and a circus heritage tour.

Tammy Hauser, who just started the trolley operations, used to work for nonprofit groups, and arranged tours at the Center for Architecture.

When people asked if she had anything else, Hauser thought about all the sightseeing tours she’d taken in cities such as St. Augustine and Key West.

“So it hit me,” she says. “I think I could do this.”