CHICAGO (AP) - The apes at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo finally have a chance to take their revenge on people who for years have been pounding their palms against the glass walls of the primates' old home.

At the zoo's new Regenstein Center for African Apes, chimpanzees can touch a panel hidden from public view that will shoot harmless bursts of air at unsuspecting visitors.

"You often hear about chimps spitting or throwing," said Steve Ross, a behaviourist at the zoo.

"They do that to get a rise out of the public. This gives them that opportunity but in a safe way."

The feature is one of many in the 5,110-square-metre habitat meant to help people connect with their primate cousins.

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