A zoetrope is a drum shaped optical toy that makes a series of drawings appear to move. The drum sits on a stand upon which it can be spun. Its sides are pierced with a regular pattern of slits. The drawings, the number of which corresponds to the number of slits, are printed onto a strip of paper which is placed inside the drum. These drawings differ only slightly from one another and follow a logical sequence.

The drum is spun and the viewer watches the images through the slits where they appear to move. The zoetrope is an optical toy that can be enjoyed by several people at the same time.

It was invented by W. G. Horner in 1834, and later developed by Milton Bradley who patented it in the USA in 1867. The Praxinoscope, invented by Emile Reynaund in 1877, is similar to the zoetrope but the pictures are seen reflected in a mirror. This makes the movement appear smoother.