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This question already has an answer here:

I'm trying to identify a short story that I once read. Possibly in a collection by Bruce Coville.

A traveling intergalactic zoo stops at earth and everyone pays money to see the aliens on board. At the end you find out that the inhabitants of the zoo were paying customers as well, who were visiting the earth-life. (Safely behind bars of course, humans are uncivilized)

marked as duplicate by Lightness Races in Orbit, KutuluMike, Cearon O'Flynn, Wad Cheber, Rand al'Thor Feb 1 '16 at 12:31

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  • First result on Google for "story zoo aliens". Sorry, I'm hitting "downvote" as you did not do any research. (There's even a duplicate SFF question, at #3 in the same Google results.) – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 1 '16 at 12:03
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The story is "Zoo" by Edward D. Hoch. The first paragraph:

The children were always good during the month of August, especially when it began to get near the twenty-third. It was on this day that the great silver spaceship carrying Professor Hugo’s Interplanetary Zoo settled down for its annual six-hour visit to the Chicago area.

The final few paragraphs:

“But isn’t it dangerous?” asked the she-creature.

“No,” her mate answered. “There are bars to protect us from them. We remain right in the ship. Next time you must come with us. It is well worth the nineteen commocs it costs.”

And the little one nodded. “It was the very best Zoo ever. . . .”

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