Children's Zoo (The Twilight Zone)

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"Children's Zoo"
The Twilight Zone episode
Children's Zoo.jpg
Scene from "Children's Zoo"
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 3b
Directed by Robert Downey
Written by Chris Hubbell
Gerrit Graham
Original air date October 11, 1985
Guest appearance(s)

Lorna Luft: Sheila Cunningham
Steven Keats: Martin Cunningham
Jaclyn Bernstein: Debbie Cunningham
Sydney Walsh: Melody
Wes Craven: Caged Man

Episode chronology
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"Kentucky Rye"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Children's Zoo" is the second segment of the third episode of the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone. This is one of the few stories without narration.


Debbie is a little girl starved for attention because her parents are always fighting; her mother yells at her constantly, and her father is too lazy to give her any quality time. Debbie gives her parents an invitation she received that says:

As bearer of this special invitation, you are entitled to one child's admission to the CHILDREN'S ZOO.
You will be offered all the special privileges described by the other girl who passed this.

Though her parents are reluctant, they finally relent and take her. At the zoo, they are welcomed by Melody who asks Debbie if she understands the rules, and then directs her to the Children's Entrance. Melody assures the parents that Debbie will be fine and takes them to the waiting room. Debbie wanders through a hallway where a cheerful voice says, "To hear the parents talk, just press the red button on the side of the window."

Debbie is shown visiting five displays. The first couple wildly begs her to take them with her, the second make violent threats, the third is sleeping so Debbie passes them, the fourth try to bribe her, but the fifth reveals that their son was seven when he brought them into the zoo, and that they are very sorry. They promise Debbie that they have learned their lesson and will try to be the best parents they know how. Convinced, Debbie presses a green button, making her selection.

Melody tells Debbie that she has made a very good choice. As the three walk away happily, they pass by Debbie's old parents—now placed in a glass chamber themselves—watching with a mixture of anger, confusion, and horror as their (former) daughter goes off to a better life.


  • Wes Craven appears in a cameo, as the angry, threatening father. He directed several episodes of this series.